Paws behind bars logo of the Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project, Inc.


In The Legislature:
A Brief History of WI Act 90

Page updated 1 May 2011

This dog is being transported from one mill to another. He will never have a normal life.
(Click on any photo for a larger view)

What Is A Puppy Mill?   *   What Can I Do About It?   *   Laws/Legislation   *   ACTION ALERTS!


     Despite some intense last-minute opposition, dogs in Wisconsin have won another huge victory: ATCP 16, the Administrative Rules for The "Puppy Mill Bill" / Act 90 officially became LAW at midnight Monday, 21 March 2011. Licensing under Act 90 begins on 1 June 2011.

 pawprint bullet point   ATCP 16 Full Formal Language (pdf)   pawprint bullet point

 pawprint bullet point   ATCP 16 Plain Language Factsheet (pdf)   pawprint bullet point

 pawprint bullet point   2009 WISCONSIN ACT 90 (pdf)   pawprint bullet point

 pawprint bullet point   2009 WI 90 Administrative Rules Process   pawprint bullet point


 pawprint bullet point   Entire AB-250/SB-208 (pdf)   pawprint bullet point   Summary of AB-250/SB-208   pawprint bullet point

 pawprint bullet point   History of Assembly Bill 250   pawprint bullet point   History of Senate Bill 208   pawprint bullet point


Tiny blue paw print bullet point   AB-250 / SB-208 (formerly LRB-2448/2), THE COMMERCIAL DOG BREEDERS LICENSURE BILL

This adorable puppy was born in a puppy mill and abused in a petstore.        On 8 April 2009, Representative Jeff Smith and Senator Pat Kreitlow announced their long-awaited joint House / Senate bill to provide for licensing and inspection of breeders and sellers and help to protect dogs by setting standards for their care.

        AB-250 / SB-208 (formerly LRB 2448/2), the Commercial Dog Breeders Licensure Bill, is the culmination of a year's effort by the legislators and a working group comprised of all stake-holders: humane organizations and rescues, hobby breeders, commercial breeders and sellers, DATCP, and veterinarians. This is the bill we have been working so hard to get introduced -- but our work is just beginning.

       The request for co-sponsorship for AB-250, The Commercial Dog Breeders Licensure Bill, closed on April 24, 2009 at 5:00 pm. Many have mentioned the number of calls and emails from constituents urging them to do so! If your representatives are on this list, please email them and thank them. (You can find contact information for your area's representatives by going to: and clicking on the "Who Represents Me?" link in the middle of the page.)

     Many of you are asking how this support compares with past bills. In 2003-2004, the AB536 gained 40 authors and co-sponsors. The CURRENT Smith - Krietlow bill has a total of 71 authors and co-sponsors! Congratulations to everyone who worked to get this great support to AB-250 / SB-208!

     For the complete list of the authors and co-sponsors, please see our Cosponsors list

One of the 300+ dogs seized from Thyme and Sage Ranch on 19 May 2009.       Does having so many co-sponsors mean we are half way to passing the bill?

       No, it only means that 70 out of 132 members of the legislature (99 Representatives in the Assembly and 33 Senators in the Senate) have "pre-approved" the bill by signing onto it as a co-sponsor or author. We still have a long way to go, and will still need your help to get this bill passed!

        As it moves through the process, it is possible that some who signed on will step away (amendments and other pressures can influence that). Of course, there are those who will support it who have not signed on. Some legislators just don't sign on as co-sponsors to anything as their own personal policy. The bottom line is having a positive acknowledgement of the value of the bill from more than half of all the people who will vote on it is a very good sign. It is rare for a bill to have this many co-sponsors.

       The bill was officially introduced in both the Assembly and the Senate, and assigned bill numbers AB-250 and SB-208. It was then assigned to the Assembly Committee on Consumer Protection and the Senate Committee on Small Business, Emergency Preparedness, Technical Colleges, and Consumer Protection.

       All Committees must hold public hearings. A joint public hearing for AB-250/SB-208 was held on Wednesday, 23 September 2009 at 10:00 AM . Supporters outnumbered opponents about 20 to 1, and so many of you made statements that the hearing ran for over 4-1/2 hours! If you'd like to watch or listen to the proceedings, please see:

 pawprint bullet point   09.23.09 | Joint Committees on Consumer Protection   pawprint bullet point

You ou can skip ahead or back by using the little slider bar right under the image box in Windows Explorer.

     The Wisconsin Legislature website features an official record of the 13 October 2009 joint committee public hearing. This includes lists of those who spoke or registered for or against the bill. (Note: please see link bar at left; scroll down to "AB250" and click.)

 pawprint bullet point   AB-250 Public Hearing Record   pawprint bullet point

     You can also see TV news video coverage:

 pawprint bullet point   WKOW-TV, 9/23/09: Public Hearing   pawprint bullet point   NBC-15, 9/23/09: Push for Puppy Mill Legislation    pawprint bullet point

These puppies were living in a wire mesh cage outside in the dead of winter.       On 16 September, in preparation for the Public Hearing, Rep. Smith introduced Assembly Substitute Amendment 1 to clarify some of the language of the bill and to address some valid concerns of his constituents. On 23 September, Sen. Kreitlow offered the same amendment in the State Senate.

 pawprint bullet point   Summary of AB-250 Substitute Amendment 1   pawprint bullet point

       On 14 October, the Senate committee on Small Business, Emergency Preparedness, Technical Colleges, and Consumer Protection passed SB-208 out of committee to the legislative floor and, by unanimous vote, recommended passage as amended! ON 21 October, the Assembly committee on Consumer Protection did the same.

       If you would like to join us in THANKING all Senate Committee members, please see our AB-250/SB-208 In Committee page for contact information.

 pawprint bullet point   AB-250/SB-208 In Committee   pawprint bullet point

       27 October 2009: AB-250 PASSES IN ASSEMBLY BY UNANIMOUS VOTE!

       On 27 October 2009, The Wisconsin Assembly passed AB-250, the Commercial Dog Breeders Licensure Bill, by unanimous vote, 96 to 0!!!! What a great day for dogs and the people who love them in Wisconsin.

       Rep. Jeff Smith asked that his vote be dedicated to Wilbert Ribbens, who passed away the day before the public hearing on this bill. Mr. Ribbens was a great animal lover whose letter to his daughter about a sick, sad pet store puppy over 10 years ago laid the groundwork for the Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project and, incidentally, today's vote.

       Please join us in THANKING Rep. Smith and each and every one of our WI Representatives!

     The Wisconsin Legislature website features an official record of the 27 October 2009 session. Visit the Assembly Floor Session Archives for 27 October 09, then click on Watch under floor Session (Part 2). AB-250 comes to the floor at the 7:55 mark, which can be scrolled to using the sliding cursor.

 pawprint bullet point   Assembly Floor Session Archives   pawprint bullet point

 pawprint bullet point   Watch the Vote wmv (direct link to video)   pawprint bullet point


This is a breeder dog from a USDA licensed and inspected commercial breeder in WI.       The Joint Finance Committee met on 28 October 2009. 15 out of 16 members were present, and ALL 15 voted AYE to pass SB-208 on to the full Senate for a vote on 5 November!

       Several Committee members spoke to give ringing endorsements to the bill!

5 NOVEMBER 2009: UNANIMOUS AYE VOTE FROM STATE SENATE! 32 out of 33 members were present and all 32 voted AYE.


       Please join us in THANKING Governor Doyle and each and every one of our WI Representatives!

        From the bottom of our hearts, we Thank you for all of your phone calls, letters, emails, petitions, protests, and endless, undying support. Without your help, our decade-long dream for dogs in Wisconsin would never have become a reality.

 pawprint bullet point   2009 WISCONSIN ACT 90 (pdf)   pawprint bullet point

       Sadly, one of our staunchest supporters, Joyce Kitsemble, passed away on Tuesday. Being able to come to Madison from her home in Wisconsin Rapids to witness Governor Doyle's signing of AB-250 was one of Joyce's proudest moments.

 pawprint bullet point   IIn Memoriam: Joyce Kitsemble   pawprint bullet point


       Even with this excellent law on the books, our work has just begun. Next comes the arduous task of writing the Administrative Rules, which detail the specifics for enforcement of the law -- things like basic definitions of food, shelter, exercise, and other requirements. These specifics will be hammered out by a committee of ALL stakeholders, including commercial breeders and pet stores, so gaining a consensus will not always be easy.

       Commercial breeders will still exist, and pet stores will continue to bring puppies in from other states to sell if they cannot acquire them cheaply in WI -- so we cannot relax our vigilance.

       And what will happen to the hundreds of dogs in the puppy mills around Wisconsin that do not measure up to the new requirements, or whose owners do not wish to upgrade their facilities?

       These challenges, and more, still face us. Puppy mills and pet stores that sell puppies will not disappear overnight -- let's take a moment to celebrate, then roll up our sleeves and stride forward together to do what is necessary to make these abuses a footnote in Wisconsin history!


 pawprint bullet point   AB-250/SB-208, THE COMMERCIAL DOG BREEDERS LICENSURE BILL   pawprint bullet point

 pawprint bullet point   Entire AB-250/SB-208 (pdf)   pawprint bullet point   Summary of AB-250/SB-208   pawprint bullet point   FAQ   pawprint bullet point

 pawprint bullet point   Cosponsors   pawprint bullet point   Supporters   pawprint bullet point   Media   pawprint bullet point   Contacting Your WI Legislators   pawprint bullet point

What Is A Puppy Mill?
What Can I Do?
Laws/ Legislation


Home   *   Contact Us   *   Site Map 

What is a Puppy Mill?   *   What YOU Can Do   *   Laws/Legislation   *   Action Alerts

Thorp Dog Auctions   *   Puppy Mill Survivors   *   Photo Album

Guide to Finding a Pet   *    Breeders With Pride   *   Drive To Save Lives!


© Copyright, 2009. The Wisconsin Puppy MIll Project
P.O. Box 926    *    Sheboygan, WI 53082-0926   *

Website design by Hook & Web Designs