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Politics and Puppy Mills

from the Wisconsin Humane Society

Along with daily work to keep area animals safe and healthy and help them find loving new homes, the Wisconsin Humane Society (WHS) is actively engaged in public policy advocacy for the benefit of all animals. WHS is lobbying legislators at the State Capitol in support of animal welfare policies. This year we worked hard to pass a law requiring basic care and comfort (plus inspections) for animals at puppy mills and pet stores and worked to defeat a misguided proposal to use live (and captive) foxes, coyotes, and bobcats for hunting dog training. The puppy mill legislation, if passed and implemented, would prevent problems faced by dogs like Cookie, a charming three-and-a-half-year-old Beagle. Cookie was purchased from a puppy mill in Dodge County. The people who picked Cookie were told she was 6 months old, but later evaluations by veterinarians indicated she was around three and a half years old. Cookie was timid and afraid to go outdoors, which resulted in potty training problems that led her owners to surrender Cookie to WHS. Thankfully, with gentle and consistent guidance, Cookie is already doing better and showing progress, but she will need a lot more attention and several weeks with a foster parent before she’s ready for adoption. Unfortunately, our lobbying efforts were not enough this year. Too many policy makers, especially state legislators, take animal welfare issues for granted — or worse, they actively oppose humane public policies. Even though tens of thousands of compassionate people in southeastern Wisconsin, and probably hundreds of thousands statewide, care deeply about the humane care of animals, most legislators don’t hear about these issues often enough from their constituents. This was an extremely disappointing year in the state legislature. The general attitude among policy makers against animals will take years to turn around, but we will keep working until we transform Wisconsin into a state with laws that value animals and ensure kind and respectful treatment. Politics, and governmental advocacy, requires action and effort. Please call your state legislators from time to time and ask them to support humane animal welfare legislation. The easiest way to do this is by calling the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-362-9472, and ask the operator to deliver a message to both your state Senator and state Representative. Ask them what they are doing to protect animals and prevent suffering. You can also visit the Wisconsin legislature’s web site, at www.legis.state.wi.us, for a wide variety of information about state government. To learn more about issues WHS is promoting, visit our web site, www.wihumane.org, and sign up for Newsbytes, our bi-weekly email newsletter.
from the Wisconsin Humane Society