Pet stores in Connecticut whose dogs come from puppy mills may be facing the music today, when Connecticut politicians gather for a hearing in the Joint Environment Committee to discuss Senate Bill Number 397.
The bill, which was introduced earlier this month and was quickly sent to hearing, pays special attention to the importation of “sick puppies into the state.” Those importing animals into the state are already required to have a “certificate of origin” that details where the animals came from. What SB 397 would then do is require that the Commisioner of Agriculture give a report that assesses the efficacy of those certificates in reducing the number of animals coming into the state from puppy mills. Previous legislation also requires that pet shop owners use these certificates of origin to inform buyers of whether or not their pet came from a puppy mill. The commissioner would include in his report the effectiveness of the certificates in enforcing this part of the law as well.
The bill would also require that the commisioner’s report include “any information the commissioner deems relevant concerning sources, other than puppy mills, of sick dogs imported into this state.”
Connecticut’s SB 397 has found strong opposition from the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC), which sent out a “Pet Alert” to its supporters, urging them to take action against the bill. In the memo, PIJAC points to the controversial use of the term “sick dog” in this piece of legislation, suggesting that more animals brought into the state for adoption (abandoned “adoptable” animals) bring more “disease” to the state than dogs from supposed puppy mills.
“SB 397 inappropriately focuses on pet store puppies, which constitute a small minority of the dogs sold in Connecticut,” PIJAC describes in its memo. “The bill completely ignores dogs brought in for adoption, which are a greater risk of disease. Any assessment of ‘sick dogs’ should encompass all dogs, regardless of their source.”
Though PIJAC points the finger at adoptable dogs in its memo, they fail to include sources for the statistics they cite in support of their claims.
This is the newest bill in a chain of potential laws hoping to put a halt to puppy mills. Just recently, Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell signed Senate Bill 499 into law. Termed the “Puppy Lemon Law,” SB 499 will “improve the state’s ‘puppy lemon law’ by increasing the allowable reimbursement to pet purchasers who have bought sick animals and must assume often substantial veterinary costs,” writes the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). This is just one of the many provisions that are a part of this newly-signed bill.
Many anti-puppy mill supporters hope that SB 397, and bills like the one that passed in West Hollywood earlier this year, become more and more of a trend. In the meantime, the state of Connecticut continues to zero-in on those pet stores that are potentially selling puppy mill puppies. Just last week, pet store True Breeders, which recently opened on Route 7 in Branchville, was shut down for allegedly selling a puppy for $1,600 that passed away from parvovirus.