Rep. Allie-Brennan Leads Bipartisan Coalition to End Inhumane Pet Breeding Practices in Connecticut

August 28, 2019

HARTFORD – Today, State Rep. Raghib Allie-Brennan (D-Bethel/Danbury/Newtown/Redding) and more than two dozen bipartisan elected state representatives wrote to state Commissioner of Agriculture Bryan Hurlburt to urge the Department’s support for legislation banning Connecticut pet stores from selling inhumanely bred animals.

The letter follows legislation introduced by Rep. Allie-Brennan during the 2019 legislative session.

“Every year, thousands of puppies and kittens are bred through the disreputable puppy mill system,” said Rep. Allie-Brennan. “Connecticut families welcome them into their hearts and homes, only to find out that they have significant health issues because of inhumane breeding practices and conditions. We have a responsibility to end this terrible practice and this letter, signed by nearly 30 of my colleagues from both sides of the aisle, sends a strong message. We started this fight during the last legislative session and we plan to finish it in the next.”

According to the letter, Rep. Allie-Brennan and others are championing two legislative initiatives, which they hope will put an end to puppy mill trafficking and “sham rescue” operations in Connecticut. The proposed changes are as follows:

Definition Updates

  • The legal definitions for pet shop, animal welfare organization, breeder, and broker would be updated to ensure that all pet stores in the state can be better partners of humane shelters and rescues.

A Ban on Dog Sales in Pet Shops

  • The owner or operator of a pet shop would be prohibited from the “sale adoption, transfer or advertise[ment of] the sale, barter, auction or give away” of dogs, according to today’s letter. This does not stop an owner or operator of a pet shop from collaborating with animal welfare organizations or municipal animal control agencies in their efforts to promote their offerings of dogs for sale or adoption.

Local animal rights activists and advocates from the Humane Society, CT Votes for Animals, and the ASPCA have also voiced a need for legislative reforms.

“Consumers can choose responsible breeders, who never sell to pet shops,” said Annie Hornish, Connecticut State Director for The Humane Society of the United States. “It’s in their Codes of Ethics. A mere 4% of dogs are obtained from pet stores, where well-meaning consumers buy puppies not knowing the choice they are making supports incredible animal cruelty. Connecticut needs a statewide “humane sourcing” law to stop these few puppy mill traffickers—current laws have been rendered unenforceable, and USDA standards are unacceptably weak and poorly enforced.”

“Like other industries confronting change in the 21st Century, pet stores need to update their business model to reflect the values in the State and the growing trend away from businesses that sell pets,” said Jo-Anne Basile, Executive Director of CT Votes for Animals. “Today, CT residents choose to adopt their pets as evidenced by the many adoption events posted each weekend; others choose a responsible breeder to find their best friend. Seeing the cute puppies in CT stores belies the horror that the breeding female and male withstand in states like Missouri, Kansas, Pennsylvania and Ohio. How much is that doggie in the window used to convey a sentimental vision of a sweet puppy, lovingly bred and cared for. Reality is quite different.”

“Connecticut pet shops have a long history of sourcing dogs from out-of-state commercial breeding facilities that are notorious for sacrificing animal welfare for a quick profit. Puppies bred in these conditions are prone to health and behavioral defects, but pet shops pass them off to consumers as healthy and from responsible breeders,” said Debora Bresch, senior director of state legislation for the ASPCA, Upper Atlantic region. “The legislation sponsored by Representatives Allie-Brennan and Doucette will help bring an end to this cycle of cruelty by prohibiting the sale of puppy mill dogs in Connecticut pet stores, and we look forward to working with state lawmakers in 2020 to ensure Connecticut joins the other states and hundreds of localities that have already taken action to protect pets and consumers from puppy mill cruelty.”

For more information, please see the attached letter.