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Connecticut General Assembly Passes Humane Legislation

ASPCA urges governor to sign animal control spay/neuter, pet shop, & felony penalty bills into law
May 9, 2012

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) applauds Connecticut legislators for passing three important measures to protect the state’s citizens and animals. The legislation now moves to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy for his final approval.

"We commend Connecticut legislators for their work with residents and humane advocacy groups to adopt necessary changes for the state's animals," said Debora Bresch, Esq., senior director of ASPCA Government Relations, Eastern Region. "These bills represent a strong step forward and will have life-saving results for Connecticut's animals."

Following strong bipartisan support in the House, the Senate yesterday passed the following bills on consent:

  • Animal Control: HB 5446 allows animal control officers to use existing resources to increase the spaying and neutering of homeless pets. Currently, Connecticut law does not allow animal control officers to use the Animal Population Control Program to sterilize shelter animals, which means cats and dogs often leave shelters unsterilized, leading to more unplanned litters. Millions of animals are euthanized each year across the country due to shelters’ lack of space or ability to provide adequate care, making it critical to find ways to prevent unplanned litters through spaying and neutering.

    This bill also requires that newly-hired animal control officers receive professional training prior to or within one year of being hired, and that current animal control officers obtain six continuing education credits per year. 
  • Puppy Mills: HB 5409 permits the state to fine pet stores for failing to properly care for the animals in their possession. Currently, the state Department of Agriculture must primarily issue animal care orders to pet shops and repeatedly return to shops to ensure compliance.

    Most pet store puppies come from puppy mills, where they are often housed in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions without adequate veterinary care. Puppy mills are not only cruel and barbaric, but they often produce sickly puppies with genetic defects or serious illnesses. HB 5409 would offer some level of protection for consumers who find they have purchased a sick animal. The bill clarifies current law to ensure that pet owners are not forced to return sick puppies to pet stores in order to be reimbursed up to $500 for veterinary costs.

    The ASPCA's NoPetStorePuppies.com campaign asks consumers to pledge not to shop at their local pet stores for any items—including food, supplies or toys—if the stores sell puppies.
  • Felony Animal Cruelty: HB 5289 establishes a felony-level penalty following a second or subsequent animal cruelty conviction.

"Connecticut lawmakers have once again demonstrated their commitment to passing laws to prevent the suffering of animals," added Bresch. "We urge Gov. Malloy to quickly sign these important measures into law."

For more information on the ASPCA and to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit www.aspca.org.