Representatives Balow, J. Wood and Lothian are working very hard to gain support of the Pet Facilities Act. Following are important points to consider regarding the bill. In addition, there are links below to a related news story from WTMJ in Milwaukee. Please take a few minutes to read or watch it.
Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection
DATCP already oversees the humane treatment of animals and shares responsibility with local authorities. Unfortunately, when enforcing Ch. 951 Crimes Against Animals, an animal is almost dead before it is considered a crime. This bill would correct problems and animals will receive proper care before it reaches a criminal level.
DATCP receives hundreds of calls each year complaining of puppy mills and other breeders of exotic animals and the heartbreaking conditions pets come from and the health of these pets. The public wants something done about the problem. This bill provides the manpower to investigate, inspect and fine those who do not stay in compliance.
People spend a lot of money on pets and they should be able to purchase an animal that has been properly cared for. The bill provides rule making authority to set standards for pet facilities including proper shelter, ventilation, proper flooring, areas large enough for breeding and nutrition. No one wants to purchase a puppy or other pet and have it end up sick, aggressive or die at an unexpectedly young age.
LRB-2878 is Self Funding
The Pet Facilities Act will be self-funded through increased dog license fees and from the income taxes derived from the sale of pets. In a three-year poll conducted by the Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project, 89% of classified pet sellers did not charge sales tax.
Many of these puppy mills operate under the radar screen of state taxes, both personal income and state sales tax. Pets are a taxable item in Wisconsin. People who sell pets directly to the public through classified ads, the Internet, at roadside stands and flea markets are neither reporting their income or collecting and submitting sales tax to the State Department of Revenue
What is a Puppy Mill?
A "puppy mill" is a facility that continuously breeds female dogs and then houses the females and their puppies in deplorable conditions. Inadequate food, water, sanitation, year-round exposure to the elements and dilapidated housing are commonplace.
Many puppies sold from these mills suffer from chronic physical ailments and may be fearful of people and other animals. The animals are sold on farms or are transported in bulk caging [trucked] to pet stores across the country.
The breeders are raising "livestock" but selling their product as pets. The dogs are kept in cages with wire floors. They never get any exercise. Medical attention is non-existent. Water is minimal, probably frozen in wintertime. Food is scarce and usually moldy.
Once the dogs no longer reproduce for the miller, their lives are terminated. Some are rescued where they undergo extensive rehabilitation for aggressive and frightened behavior. Rescued dogs usually have only one or two rotten teeth left due to poor nutrition and lack of anything to chew on to keep their mouths healthy.
These inhumane and abusive conditions have been the subjects of television reports and newspaper articles nationwide. For instance, Dateline NBC did an extensive report in April of 2000 that shows breeders who are put out of business in states that enforce pet facility laws quickly move to other states where laws are inadequate or non-existent.
An informational website, NoWisconsinPuppymills.com, features a report on one of Wisconsin's puppy mills located in Sheboygan County. WTMJ in Milwaukee was kind enough to share it with us. If you take the time to read the transcript and/or watch the video, you will no longer have doubts that puppy mills are bad for animals and consumers.
DATCP receives hundreds of calls each year
complaining of puppy mills and other breeders of exotic animals and the
heartbreaking conditions pets come from and the health of these pets. The
public wants something done about the problem.
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Pet March on the Capitol * Puppy Mill Links