top of page


Puppy mills and dog auctions have quite a history in Clark County and all of Wisconsin.  Hard work has resulted in improvements for the conditions these dogs live in.  CCHS is very proud to have played a part in bringing their plight to the public and working for legislation to be passed.  Sadly, there are still puppy mills, bad breeders and disreputable rescues in Wisconsin.  We feel it is important to share the story of how far we've come and all of the effort so many people put forth.  We've accomplished so much, but we still have farther to go and more work to do!  

Governor Doyle signs AB-250 into law!


On Tuesday, December 1, 2009, Governor Doyle signed AB-250, the Commercial Dog Breeders Licensure Bill into Law.  What a wonderful day for dogs in Wisconsin!!  We are so proud to have been part of the incredible effort that went into making this happen!  We thank everyone who worked so hard and for so long.  This history-making law is going to make a huge difference in the lives of dogs in Wisconsin puppy mills.  There will be an 18-month period before the law actually takes effect, during which time the Administrative Rules will be written.  These rules will provide the specifices for the enforcement of the new law.   We know that there are many, many dogs in puppy mills now who will be needing our help in the future.  We will continue to do everything we can to make a difference!

Governor Doyle signs AB-250 into law!

AB-250 will make a difference in the lives of puppy mill dogs.

CCHS staff with FVHA Director Deb Lewis, Senator Kreitlow, Rep Smith, & WPMP Director Eilene Ribbens

Cheri & Chuck Wegner from CCHS with

Governor Jim Doyle



There is a lot to be proud of in Clark County. We are a rural county with many beautiful parks, hiking trails, and natural scenic beauty. There are large forested areas, beaches, rivers, waterfalls and mounds to climb. This is a county with a lot to offer the nature-enthusiast. The outdoor recreational opportunities are boundless.


Unfortunately there is an ugly blemish on all of this beauty and that is the fact that Clark County is rapidly becoming known as the puppy mill capital of the state. Right here in the midst of this pastoral setting is one of the most cruel, inhumane industries imaginable. We now have dozens of puppy mills where the object is to crank out as many litters in as short a time as possible. Dogs are often kept in undersized cages or boxes, sometimes for years, and many times the sanitation is deplorable.


CCHS has been involved in a puppy mill investigative report conducted by NBC Affiliate Todays TMJ 4 from Milwaukee.  NBC Affiliate WGBA-TV 26 from Green Bay has been providing extensive coverage of the puppy mills in Wisconsin.  However, in spite of all the publicity, we have come to realize that many people do not really know what a puppy mill is all about. 


In addition to the expansion of puppy mills in our area, we also have the distinction of Dog Auctions being held in Clark County.  Most people have never even heard of a dog auction, and do not have any idea what it is.


We wish to take some time and explain exactly what is happening in Wisconsin.  We certainly want to explain the puppy mill and dog auction issues, but we also wish to update our members and supporters on how CCHS is involved.  Most importantly, we want to let you know what you can do right now to help make a difference. We need the support of many, many people to stop what is happening right here in Central Wisconsin.  We still want to be proud of the beautiful rural area where we live.  We do not want to be known as the "Puppy Mill Capital" of Wisconsin.  Please take a few moments to read about what is happening, look at the pictures and watch the videos.  Help us to change the lives of thousands of dogs!


Update Posted 8/30/07:  Wisconsin's First 'Breeders Educational Trade Show and Seminar' for the Wisconsin Professional Pet Breeders Association was held on Saturday, August 18, 2007, in Thorp.  Please click here for a complete, first-hand account of this event.  Whether you're a breeder or concerned citizen and pet-lover, you need to be aware of what this group is saying.  Please be sure to read about their activities.  Hint:  It's probably not what you're expecting! 


Puppy Mills


Puppy Mills are a business where large numbers of puppies are being raised exclusively for profit.  This is very different from quality breeders who also may be raising puppies for sale but are more likely doing so for the love of a particular breed. They also provide the necessities of socialization, good food, good medical care and love. In a puppy mill the more puppies that can be raised and sold quickly, the higher the profit that is being pocketed.  Adult dogs live in terrible conditions with little care, exercise, or social interaction.  Puppies are sold at very young ages to unsuspecting consumers.  Most of what is happening is very secretive and is taking place behind closed doors.  However, CCHS Director of Administrative Services, Cheri Wegner, recently assisted WTMJ-4 with their investigative report.  Senior investigative reporter John Mercure visited several puppy mills right here in Clark County.  The sights and stories of what we saw are extremely disturbing, and only emphasize the need for changes to take place.  We learned a lot about puppy mills that day, and we want to share that with the public.

Please click here to read a first-hand report of what it's like to purchase a puppy at a puppy mill. 

Please also visit the link to the Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project, Inc.  It's very important to learn everything you can about puppy mills.  We find that the more people learn and understand what is happening, the more disgusted they are and the more they want to help. 

The Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project, Inc.

We'd also like to share another article titled "Puppymills: A National Disgrace".  It provides some details of what the life of a puppy mill dog is like.  Please click here to read this article. 

Dog Auctions

As puppy mills continue to increase in central Wisconsin, a new development has been the advent of 'dog auctions'.  A dog auction is an event very similar to a cattle or horse auction.  A dog is put on display for bids and is sold to the highest bidder.  These are dogs that are expected to be family pets.  Dogs that are expected to play with your children and sleep in their bed at night.  Things are a lot different when it's a family pet being auctioned. 


Horst Stables in Thorp, Wisconsin, is the proud proprietor of Wisconsin's first dog auctions.  200 dogs were sold at the first auction last fall.  In March of 2007, 250 dogs were sold.  The next auction is scheduled for June 2, 2007.  Another 200 dogs will be available for sale.  Unfortunately, there are many factors involved with these auctions that the public is not aware of. 


Most of these dogs are puppy mill cast-offs.  They are either too old to be productive breeding stock, or they are not successful at producing puppies.  A puppy miller may have too many dogs of a specific breed so will sell off some and purchase others to diversify their stock.  Bottom line:  these are puppy mill dogs.  Puppy mill dogs come with a host of medical problems and concerns that an average consumer cannot begin to imagine. 


At the last dog auction, two dogs were sold that were 'Brucellosis positive'.  This is a very nasty disease that can be spread between dogs and humans.  The puppy miller selling the infected dogs claimed no responsibility for the condition of the dogs. 


At the very least, puppy mill dogs are dogs with very special needs.  They have not had human contact and socialization as a normal dog would have experienced.  They don't know how to play.  Most times they will not bark, simply because they have barked until they were hoarse in the past and no one cared.  They have never experienced living in a home, so they are scared by all of the things we take for granted, such as a TV playing, a phone ringing, a doorbell chiming.  They do not know how to walk on a leash.  They just don't know how to be a dog.  Someone that is purchasing a dog at a dog auction may be getting themselves into a lot more than they bargained for. 


Our Executive Director, Chuck Wegner, has attended the Dog Auctions in Thorp.  He has provided an eyewitness account to the 2nd Dog Auction.  Please click here to read his insight and perspective into what happens at a dog auction. 


CCHS did receive several dogs that had been sold at the dog auction.  We have several pictures of the conditions these dogs were in when they came to our Shelter.  Please click here to view first-hand some of the things puppy mill survivors may be dealing with. 


UPDATE:  Click here for a report of the most recent dog auction held on June 2, 2007.   Be sure to check out the photos of the auction, too.


Recently there has been a lot of discussion and negative opinions expressed with USDA inspectors often being the focal point.  Please click here to read an interesting perspective on the issue, as written by our Executive Director, Chuck Wegner. 


Please also visit the link to the Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project.  There you will find additional information, pictures, and details about the dog auctions. 


The Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project, Inc.


Wisconsin Professional Pet Breeders Association

The Wisconsin Professional Pet Breeders Association (WPPBA) held it's first trade show and seminar recently.  Claiming to represent the breeders of Wisconsin, the group appears to be an organization of puppy mills.  Please click here to read a report of what took place at this seminar.  Alarming information was presented at the seminar which could impact our efforts to enact a Pet Facilities Law.  If you're a breeder, you may wish to be aware of how this group is representing the work that you do.  All citizens should be concerned about how they are trying to influence Wisconsin legislation.  Please be sure to read this report. 



How CCHS is Involved

While it is easy to express our disgust at what is happening at puppy mills and dog auctions, we know that nothing will change unless concerned members of the community step forward.  We at CCHS have chosen to do just that.  We are working very closely with the Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project, Inc., in efforts to introduce legislation that would allow for inspection of these facilities.  Efforts have been made to pass a Pet Facilities Law (PFL) previously, but failed due to the political process.  We believe that NOW is the right time for things to change! 


Chuck and Cheri Wegner from CCHS travelled to the State Capital in Madison on Tuesday, May 22nd, to meet with congressional staff about the PFL.  Also in attendance were Eilene Ribbens, Executive Director, Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project; Deb Lewis, Executive Director, Fox Valley Humane Society; Marnie Brown, Executive Director, Washington County Humane Society; Chris Cowles, Director, Washington County Humane Society; Penny Romasko, President, Alliance of Wisconsin Animals Rehoming Efforts, and Dr. Yvonne Bellay, State Humane Officer, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).  We were disappointed that the Senators and Representatives who had agreed to the meeting chose to send their staff aides rather than attending themselves.  However, we do understand that the political process has to start somewhere.  We appreciated the opportunity to express our position on the need for legislation and to discuss what can be done to improve conditions in Wisconsin.



What You Can Do To Help

While meeting with legislative staff is a good place to start, it has also become very evident to us that it will take a LOT of support for a Pet Facilities Law to be passed.  While it seems to be only common sense that no one would ever want to hurt an animal, there is opposition to any animal legislation being passed.  We welcome other ideas and suggestions, but we do believe that there needs to be a compromise reached that will end the suffering taking place in puppy mills and dog auctions every day. 


The media coverage that has been taking place over the past two months is absolutely outstanding!  It has brought the plight of puppy mill dogs to the forefront as never before.  Thousands of people have expressed their outrage and demanded that laws change to protect our animals.  That is why we need to continue to press forward now.  We need everyone's help!


What can you do?  Speak up!!  Contact your Representatives and Senators today!  The more pressure that they receive from their consituents, the more they will realize that they have to do something.  If you don't know who to contact, you can go to the website: and by entering your address, it will tell you who your legislators are.  You can also call 608-266-9960 or toll free 800-362-9472 to find our who your state legislators are.  You can call the Governor's Office at 608-266-1212.  It is critical that they hear from you!  Please call or email and let them know you support a Pet Facilities Law and that puppies have to stop suffering in Wisconsin! 


Roundtable meetings are also being scheduled around the State for citizens to meet with legislators.  These meetings are an opportunity to show support for a PFL.  At the first meeting held at Slinger, WI, over 300 people attended!  The next roundtable is scheduled for Monday, September 10th, in West Allis.  It will take place at the Nathan Hale High School Auditorium at 7:00 p.m.  Local legislators have been invited to attend and learn what the PFL is all about.  We need to have a great turnout so that they will listen to us.  Please plan on attending!!


Thank you for your support and for wanting to help make a difference!  Together, we will stop the misery in Wisconsin puppy mills!


bottom of page