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ASPCA Urges Gov. Malloy to Sign Two Animal Welfare Bills

Connecticut legislators vote to restrict pet shops’ sale of commercially-bred dogs and to hold animal abusers accountable
May 9, 2014

NEW YORK— The ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) is urging Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to sign two important humane bills that unanimously passed both chambers in the final days of the 2014 state legislative session in Connecticut. The puppy mill bill, SB 445, would regulate pet shop sales in Connecticut, while SB 309 would increase the bond that a defendant in an animal cruelty case must post to cover the temporary care of a seized animal. These bills now await Gov. Malloy’s signature.

“The ASPCA applauds Connecticut lawmakers, especially bill champion, Representative Brenda Kupchick, for their efforts to prevent pet shops from purchasing animals from commercial breeders and brokers whose cruel practices harm dogs, consumers forced by their pets’ health problems to pay for costly veterinary care, and the dog owners and other taxpayers who subsidize the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent to prevent overpopulation,” said Debora Bresch, Esq., senior state legislative director of ASPCA Government Relations. “The cruelty inflicted upon the long-suffering dogs in these facilities must stop, and the ASPCA urges Governor Malloy to protect animals and the public by signing this bill into law.”

A bipartisan Pet Shop Task Force that included legislators, members of the animal welfare community, and other stakeholders, met in 2013 to examine the sale of cats and dogs sold in pet shops throughout the state. While SB 445 does not contain its recommendation to prevent the expansion of puppy mill sales beyond the 16 stores currently selling puppies in Connecticut, the bill holds pet shops, breeders, and brokers more accountable for the welfare of the animals they sell by significantly increasing pet shops’ obligation to reimburse for veterinary care; prohibiting the sale of dogs from breeders and brokers with USDA violations for poor animal care; requiring pet shops to post federal breeder inspection reports; and imposing criminal fines on pet shops for noncompliance.

“Although pet store puppies typically come from USDA licensed breeders, this is not the seal of approval consumers expect. The standards of care required under the federal Animal Welfare Act do not amount to humane treatment of the dogs living in commercial breeding facilities,” said Cori Menkin, senior director of the ASPCA’s Puppy Mills campaign. “In 2013, the ASPCA launched a database on NoPetStorePuppies.com containing more than 10,000 photos taken during routine USDA inspections. The photos allow the public to see first-hand where pet stores in their area get their puppies. These photos illustrate just how serious this issue is, so we thank Connecticut lawmakers for making it a priority to address some of the worst industry practices with this legislation.”

During the 2014 session, Connecticut lawmakers also passed SB 309 to increase the bond that a defendant in an animal cruelty case must post to cover the temporary care of a seized animal. In addition, SB 309 calls for the creation of a task force to examine the care and adoption of animals in public shelters.

“Shifting the cost of care in animal cruelty cases from municipalities and the state to the defendant will free up public resources for other shelter animals and enable further enforcement of the state’s cruelty laws,” said Bresch.

The ASPCA’s national No Pet Store Puppies campaign encourages the public to make adoption their first option, urging consumers not to buy any items – including food, supplies, or toys – at pet stores that sell puppies. To help the ASPCA in their fight against puppy mills take the “No Pet Store Puppies” pledge, not to buy anything at pet stores that sell puppies at www.NoPetStorePuppies.com.