Animal Activist Dies After Puppy Mill Bill Signed

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- An animal rights activist who lobbied lawmakers for years to pass a bill cracking down on abusive dog-breeding facilities died hours after Gov. Jim Doyle signed the measure into law.

Joyce Kitsemble of Wisconsin Rapids collapsed Tuesday while the governor was speaking during a bill-signing ceremony at the Capitol. The ceremony was briefly interrupted before police officers took her out on a wheel chair.

Kitsemble had suffered a heart attack and was pronounced dead at Meriter Hospital. She was 70.

Eilene Ribbens of the Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project says Joyce and her husband Ed worked for a decade to get the bill passed.

She says the two gathered 5,000 signatures on a petition that was delivered to the governor earlier Tuesday and had written countless letters to lawmakers.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)