Lawmakers introduce new bipartisan bill aimed at closing puppy mills in Wisconsin

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DE PERE (WLUK) -- Since the 1980's David Duquaine has owned one of the top breeding facilities in Northeast Wisconsin.

"We have been raising and breeding dogs for over 30 years and we primarily focus on health and temperament," said Duquaine.

Duquaine said the standard of treatment he uses for his dogs isn't the same for all breeders,especially those who are known for operating inhumane puppy mills.

"Puppy mills aren't like this. where you walk in and see where they're born and their parents. I've seen places where there are cages stacked to the ceiling in the basement and they never see the light of day," he explained.

There are more than 50 puppy mills currently operating around the state. Lawmakers have introduced a number of bills to close them down over the years, including a recent one that would ban the sale of cats, dogs and rabbits through any pet store in Wisconsin.

"Sadly the large volume sales through pet stores is a primary way of bringing dogs to market. So by closing that avenue it gives us a chance to close down puppy mills for good," explained Republican Representative David Steffen.

Under the law stores would then be required to work with animal rescues and humane societies and adoption centers, anyone who breaks the law would be fined up to $10,000.

"There are a lot of reasons that we are doing this. A lot of other states might be worse, but Wisconsin should be leading. So this is about doing the right thing and I'm glad it's bipartisan and hopefully we can move it forward," said Democratic Senator Dave Hansen

If this bill is signed into law, it would go into effect as early as January of 2020.