Wisconsin's law regulating dog breeding, sales, and adoption-for-fee requires inspection and licensing of many dog breeders, dealers, and sellers, as well as shelters and rescues that foster and adopt out dogs. The law also prohibits selling puppies less than 7 weeks old, and requires that certificates of veterinary inspection – health certificates – accompany dogs that are sold or adopted for a fee. The intent is to protect the welfare of dogs and to protect consumers who buy or adopt them.
The following individuals and organizations are required to be licensed:
Dog breeders selling 25 or more dogs a year, from more than 3 litters that they have bred.
Dog breeding facilities from which 25 or more dogs a year are sold, from more than 3 litters.
In-state dog dealers selling and offering to sell 25 or more dogs a year that they did not breed and raise.
Out-of-state dog dealers who import 25 or more dogs a year into Wisconsin, regardless of whether they bred and raised them.
Nonprofit animal shelters and rescue groups sheltering/fostering 25 or more dogs a year.
Animal control facilities that contract with a city, village, town or county.
There is no license or inspection required for pet owners, dog trainers, dog groomers, boarding kennels or anyone else.
If you are in one of the groups that need licenses, you can apply for a license online and find application materials. Here are some additional resources that may be helpful:
Canine Brucellosis is a disease found in dogs that also can be spread to people. Learn about the disease, signs of illness, and prevention strategies to protect your dogs.
Rabies is a preventable viral disease that is usually transmitted through the bite of an infected animal. DATCP offers several prevention guides and resources to learn about the disease.
USDA dog health guides:
Pet Movement webpage lists the requirements for importing, exporting and moving animals within Wisconsin. It also defines exotic pets and household pets.
File a complaint if you have concerns that a business or person is in violation of state law relating to the licensing and inspection of dog sellers and dog facility operators.
Find a breeder/seller licensed in Wisconsin.
Shopping for a puppy? Find answers to the most common questions, including resources to help you make the right decision.
Protections and responsibilities as a consumer
The Humane Officers Program trains humane officers to investigate allegations of animal abuse throughout Wisconsin.
Chapter 951 defines crimes against animals in Wisconsin.