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Update: Wisconsin Breeder Bills Advance

(Thursday, October 29, 2009)

The Wisconsin State Assembly unanimously passed Assembly Bill 250 on Tuesday, October 27. Senate Bill 208 has been referred to the Joint Committee on Finance. Scroll down for more information on these bills.

The American Kennel Club will continue to monitor this legislation and provide updates as they become available.


The Wisconsin Legislature is scheduled to consider Assembly Bill 250 and Senate Bill 208 on Tuesday, October 27. These bills have been significantly amended to require reasonable standards of care for all who sell over 25 dogs per year, as well as animal rescues and shelters. AB 250 excludes from the definition anyone who sells 25 or more dogs in a year if those dogs result from three litters or less. The AKC appreciates the significant effort made to protect the health of dogs, as well as ensuring both hobby and commercial breeders are included in the regulatory process.

Though the bills differ slightly, they will require:

  • Animal shelters, animal control facilities, dog breeders, dog breeding facilities, dog dealers, and out-of-state dog dealers to be licensed. "Dog breeder" is defined as anyone who breeds, raises, and sells 25 or more dogs in a year.
  • Inspection of facilities prior to licensure, and once every two years thereafter. Inspections may occur any time during normal business hours.
  • Licensees to adhere to prescribed standards of care, including sufficient food and water, providing veterinary care, and providing proper enclosures for dogs.
  • Licensees to keep detailed records regarding each dog kept on licensed premises.
  • The Department of Agriculture to establish an advisory committee to assist in writing rules made pursuant to the bills. This advisory committee will be comprised of a variety of members, including small and large-volume breeders and a representative of a dog sporting association.

We remain concerned, however, about several provisions. As currently written, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is permitted to increase breeder licensing fees if necessary to cover administrative costs. With no limit on fees that range from $250-$1,000, this provision could make dog breeding cost-prohibitive and potentially put many responsible dog breeders out of business.

We also recommend that a grandfather or warning provision be included, so that breeders will be given an opportunity to obtain a license and come into compliance with the new law prior to being fined or imprisoned.

How You Can Get Involved:

  • Contact your state legislators. Let them know that you appreciate the numerous reasonable changes that have been made to Assembly Bill 250 and Senate Bill 208 and politely express any other concerns you have with the bills.

To find the names and contact information for your Representative and Senator, visit the Wisconsin State Legislature’s web site.

For more information, contact the AKC Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org.

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