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


WI’s New Dog Seller Law:
Facts for Consumers

Information courtesy of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP)

This pup at Silver Lining Kennel seems to be saying, Get Me Out of Here!

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There were rows and rows of small cages...       For a long time, Wisconsin was the “wild west” when it came to regulating the dog industry. We had no licensing requirement, few laws to protect the dogs, and nothing to protect you, the buyer. Although we had many very good breeders and rescuers, we were attracting a lot of bad actors. We received frequent calls and emails, complaining about dogs kept in filthy, crowded conditions, or about $300 puppies with thousands of dollars worth of health problems. But there was nothing we could do about it.

       Now we can. We have WISCONSIN ACT 90, a new law intended to protect dogs and the people who buy or adopt them. The law, and ATCP 16, the administrative rules to enforce the law, went into effect on 1 June 2011.

       Protecting consumers is part of the reason for Wisconsin’s law requiring licensing and inspection for many dog breeders and others who sell dogs or offer them for adoption for a fee.


 pawprint bullet point   Your Protections as a Consumer    pawprint bullet point   Your Responsibilities as a Consumer    pawprint bullet point

 pawprint bullet point   Resources for Choosing a Pet   pawprint bullet point   More Information on the law   pawprint bullet point


Tiny blue paw print bullet point   Your Protections as a Consumer

Outside runs at Silver Lining Kennels.       Licensing and inspecting the facilities where puppies, rescue dogs, and other dogs offered to consumers helps ensure that pet dogs will arrive in their new homes healthy and well-socialized to people and other animals.

  • Puppies may not be sold without their mothers until they are at least 7 weeks old. Again, this helps ensure that the puppy will be healthy and well-adjusted.

  • Dogs must be examined by a veterinarian before they are sold or adopted for a fee, and must come with a health certificate, also called a certificate of veterinary inspection. This document is a declaration that the dog is apparently healthy and free of communicable diseases, and is properly vaccinated (dogs 5 months and older must be vaccinated for rabies).

  • Please note that the certificate of veterinary inspection is not a warranty. It only tells you about the dog’s health status when you adopt it. If the dog becomes ill or develops health problems after you bring it home, or if its behavior is unacceptable, we cannot help you under this law. You need to ask the seller for a written health guarantee that specifies your options for return or exchance in such a case. (This is not likely to be a reasonable expectation when you adopt a dog from a shelter or a rescue operation.)




Tiny blue paw print bullet point   Your Responsibilities as a Consumer

  • What did I do to deserve this? this mama dachshund seemed to be asking.Do your homework before bringing a dog into your home. Know whether you are a good candidate for dog ownership, and what kind of dog will fit best into your and your family’s life.

  • Look for the seller’s license from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, (not the U.S. Department of Agriculture). It should be posted at the place of business, and current. Note that if you’re buying from a breeder who sells fewer than 25 dogs a year, he/she does not need to be licensed under this program.

  • Get it in writing – what happens if you’re not satisfied with the dog? There is no protection in Wisconsin law for you once you take the dog home, so you need to get a written health guarantee that spells out your options for return or exchange is the dog becomes ill or is otherwise unsatisfactory.

  • Don’t reward bad behavior. If you see dogs in miserable conditions, you may feel compelled to get them out of those conditions. But you are only giving money to someone to continue to abuse and neglect more animals. Instead, report those conditions to us (608-224-4888, and to the local law enforcement agency.




Tiny blue paw print bullet point   More Resources for Choosing a Pet




Act 90/ATCP 16 Information:

 pawprint bullet point   Clearing Up the Confusion About WI's New Dog Seller/ Dealer/ Shelter Law   pawprint bullet point

 pawprint bullet point   ATCP 16: Who Needs a License, Inspections, and Record-Keeping   pawprint bullet point

 pawprint bullet point   Questions and Answers for Rescues/ Shelters   pawprint bullet point   Dog Seller and Shelter Form Links   pawprint bullet point

 pawprint bullet point   Certificates of Vet. Inspection/Age of Transfer   pawprint bullet point   Certificates of Vet. Inspection FAQ   pawprint bullet point

 pawprint bullet point   ATCP 16 Standards of Care (General)   pawprint bullet point   ATCP 16 Standards of Care, Indoor Facilities   pawprint bullet point

 pawprint bullet point   ATCP 16 Standards of Care, Outdoor Facilities   pawprint bullet point   Transporting Dogs   pawprint bullet point

pawprint bullet point    Act 90/ATCP 16: Facts for Consumers   pawprint bullet point

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

 pawprint bullet point   2009 WISCONSIN ACT 90 (pdf)   pawprint bullet point   DATCP Dog Breeders & Sellers Law web pages

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