Dog Sellers Program Update

Dog Sellers Program Update

Source: Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Division of Animal Health

Effective November 1, 2019, changes were made to the Dog Sellers Program (Wis. Admin. Code § ATCP 16). A summary of the changes are listed below. It is not intended to be a complete explanation of the rule.

Summary of Changes

This rule specifies requirements for persons to become licensed under the Wisconsin dog sellers and dog facility operators program. Among other things, this rule does all of the following:


• Adds a definition of “dog” to clarify that the rule applies to domestic dogs and not dog hybrids.
• Modifies the definition of “dog dealer” specifically to include persons selling, or offering to sell, at least 25 dogs in a license year. This change makes the rule definition of “dog dealer” consistent with the statutory definition of “dog dealer.”
• Modifies the definition of “home custody provider” to apply only to an animal control facility or animal shelter.

License Requirements

Adds a note clarifying that because a license is not transferable between locations, a licensed entity which moves to a new location must apply for a new license prior to operating at the new location.

Record Keeping Requirements

Clarifies that vaccination records must include the name of the vaccine manufacturer, the vaccine serial number and lot number, the date on which the vaccine was administered, and the name of the person who administered the vaccine. Currently, this information must be provided on a certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI). Therefore, this information should also be maintained in the dog seller’s records.

Dog Sale Requirements

Clarifies that when a dog is sold, the following information must be provided to the purchaser:
• A valid CVI.
• All vaccination records.


Whenever a person, who is required to be licensed as a dog seller or dog facility operator, sells a dog in this state, the dog must be accompanied by the dog’s vaccination records and CVI. The rule change makes the following modifications to the CVI requirement:

• Clarifies that a CVI must be on a form provided or approved by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). Previously, the rule implied that only a CVI provided by DATCP may be used. This clarification is consistent with CVI requirements specified under Wis. Admin. Code § ATCP 10.

• Clarifies that the veterinarian completing the CVI must list only those vaccinations administered by that veterinarian (or another veterinarian) if those vaccinations are properly documented. Previously the rule implied that the dog’s entire vaccination record must be included on the CVI, regardless of who administered the vaccination, including the dog seller. Any vaccinations administered by the dog seller must be maintained in his or her record for that dog and may not be included on a CVI.

• Clarifies that all dogs imported to Wisconsin must have CVIs. Previously the rule implied that if a CVI accompanied a dog imported to Wisconsin, certain information from that CVI must be added to the CVI of a dog being sold.

• Clarifies when a CVI may be re-used. Previously the rule was confusing because the rule required the name of the new seller to be updated on the CVI before it can be re-used. However, a CVI cannot be updated by anyone other than the veterinarian who originally completed it. This rule modification clarifies that in spite of the requirement that the name and address of the dog seller be on a CVI, the CVI may be re-used if it is valid in all other respects.

Age at Which Dogs May be Sold

Requires that a puppy be at least seven weeks of age before it can be physically transferred to a buyer. The rule is now congruent with the state statute.

General Dog Care Requirements

• Previously, the rule required water containers, food containers, and the like to be cleaned and sanitized as often as necessary but did not specify a minimum time frame. The rule now retains the requirement that the items must be cleaned and sanitized as often as necessary, but new language adds the additional requirement that these items be cleaned and sanitized at least once a week.

• Clarifies that each dog must be groomed as necessary to maintain the dog’s health, comfort and welfare. This language is consistent with terminology used throughout the rule.

• Reorganizes the rule to clarify that certain provisions apply to dogs regardless of whether those dogs are kept indoors or outdoors.

• Whelping enclosures must be indoors unless a variance is granted from DATCP. Other enclosure requirements remain the same.

• Nursery enclosures must be indoors unless outdoor temperatures are adequate so as to not adversely affect the health of the puppies. The rule provides direction for maintaining adequate shade in the nursery during sunlight hours to prevent heat stress and avoid inclement weather. Other enclosure requirements remain the same.

• Temporary enclosures for one dog must be indoors unless meeting the same exception criteria as nursery enclosures. Other enclosure requirements remain the same.

• Requirements for run and exercise areas are specified under both the “Dogs kept indoors” and “Dogs kept outdoors” sections of the rule. These requirements apply to both situations. The requirements for runs and exercise areas have been moved to “general dog care requirements” but remain the same.

• Clarifies that primary enclosures must be structurally sound and maintained in good repair to protect the dog from injury. This reflects statutory language.

• Re-sequences the primary enclosure measurement requirements that overlapped.

Dogs Kept Indoors

Requires that an indoor facility be heated at a minimum of 50 F.

Dogs Kept Outdoors

Adds outdoor shelter requirements to protect dogs kept outdoors.

Cleaning and Sanitation

Harmonizes the cleaning and sanitation requirements for dogs kept indoors and outdoors to improve consistency. Previously, cleaning and sanitation requirements varied slightly for dogs kept indoors versus outdoors.

Prohibited Conduct

Clarifies that a licensed dog seller may not convey custody or control of a dog to another person who is required to be licensed as a dog seller but has failed to obtain the license.

For questions, contact Dr. Yvonne Bellay at (608) 224-4888 or or Chris Ondercin at (608) 224-5032 or Additional resources are available at