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Lawmakers told lack of regulations for dog breeders allows neglect

State lawmakers were told Wednesday that a lack of regulations for dog-breeders has caused numerous pets to be killed, hurt and neglected.

A public hearing was held on a bill to require state licenses and inspections for commercial dog-breeders with more than 25 animals.

Wisconsin is one of only a few states without such regulations. And Yvonne Bellay of the state agriculture department says breeders have moved to Wisconsin to take advantage of the lack of laws.

Pam McCloud-Smith of the Dane County Humane Society said this summer's rescues of 322 dogs from a breeder in Cazenovia would not have been necessary had laws been in place.

Smith's group has spent $100,000 caring for pets rescued from the Thyme and Sage Ranch, where seven dogs were found dead in June and others were infected, malnourished and sore.

The center's owner is awaiting trial on 11 animal cruelty charges.

Rep. Jeff Smith, D-Eau Claire, said the threshold for Wisconsin's animal cruelty law is so high, that even the worst offenders get nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

Rob Hurd of America's Pet Registry testified against the bill.He said the 25-dog minimum for being covered under the rules should be higher.

And he said the state was asking breeders to support the bill even though the exact rules have not been written. Hurd calls that problematic.