Regulations for Wisconsin dog breeders would be eased under a bill being circulated by a Republican lawmaker.
The measure, sponsored by Rep. Don Pridemore, R-Hartford, would significantly raise the number of dogs that may be sold by breeders who don’t have licenses from the state.
It says a dog breeder must sell, or offer to sell, 100 or more dogs in a year in order to be required to get a license from the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
The current limit for those who need licenses is 25 dogs, a policy signed into law in 2009 by former Gov. Jim Doyle in an effort to eliminate “puppy mills” where dogs live in abusive and neglectful conditions.
Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, called it “unfortunate” that Pridemore would try to change the regulations when “the ink is barely dry on the law.” He accused the GOP lawmaker of trying to “gut the bill completely” by changing the rules and getting rid of several inspectors.
The bill would eliminate the need for three full-time positions, according to a co-sponsorship memo.
Pridemore said his goal is not to encourage large, factory-like puppy mills that abuse animals but to make it easier for smaller local breeders, or “hobby breeders,” to operate.
“I tried to change it last session,” he said. “They wouldn’t listen.”
But Scot Ross of the liberal group One Wisconsin Now pounced on the proposal.
“This is another extremist bill from the Republican legislature that won’t create jobs and serves special interests,” Ross said. “Not content with hurting working families and our children with their draconian cuts, the Republicans are now going after puppies.”