NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) convened local animal advocates and state lawmakers in Hartford today for its first-ever Connecticut Voices for Animals Day. There they encouraged lawmakers to support a phase-out of the sale of commercially-bred animals in the state’s pet shops as a way to curb the inhumane treatment of dogs in large-scale, inhumane commercial breeding facilities known as puppy mills. Protectors of Animals, a Hartford-based rescue group, was on hand with dogs from their shelter to promote adoption as a humane alternative.
“The ASPCA was honored to host this event to spread awareness of the cruelty inflicted upon the long-suffering dogs in inhumane commercial breeding facilities and continue to work to protect Connecticut’s animals and consumers,” Debora Bresch, Esq., senior state director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Mid-Atlantic region. “State lawmakers have an unprecedented opportunity to help end puppy mills, and the ASPCA looks forward to working with them to ensure that Connecticut is no longer bolstering the puppy mill industry.”
In 2013, the Connecticut Legislature passed an amendment to H.B. 5027, calling for the establishment of a bipartisan task force to examine the inhumane source of dogs and cats sold in Connecticut’s pet shops. After several public hearings and meetings, which garnered strong interest from the community, the task force recommended to state legislators that all new pet shops obtain their dogs from shelters and rescue organizations. According to a national survey, nearly 80 percent of consumers would not purchase a puppy if they knew it came from a puppy mill. Alarmingly, the poll also reveals that more than three fourths of all adults nationwide are unaware that most pet store puppies come from puppy mills.
“Connecticut took a laudable first step with the creation of a task force to bring this pointless suffering to light,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA president and CEO. “Now that the evidence is in and public opinion crystal clear, it’s time to finally put a stop to the cruel puppy mill trade in Connecticut pet stores by phasing out their sale of puppies from breeding facilities.”
The ASPCA’s national No Pet Store Puppies campaign urges consumers not to buy any items – including food, supplies, or toys – at pet stores that sell puppies. In 2013, the national campaign launched a database containing more than ten thousand photos of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) licensed commercial dog breeders, linking many of them to specific pet stores throughout the country that have sold puppies from the breeder within the last year. Consumers are able to search the database by pet store name, USDA license number, name of the breeding facility, or by zip code and specific breeds. The photos were taken by USDA inspectors during routine inspections of facilities.
“Connecticut residents do not support puppy mills, and they do not want to be participants in the puppy trade any longer,” said Gina Miller, manager of the ASPCA’s puppy mills campaign. “There is an abundance of adoptable pets available from humane sources, so there’s simply no need for any pet shop to obtain animals from puppy mills. This legislation will bring us one step closer to ending puppy mills once and for all.”
To help the ASPCA in their fight against puppy mills take the “No Pet Store Puppies” pledge not to buy anything in pet stores that sell puppies at www.NoPetStorePuppies.com.