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ASPCA, Animal Advocates Appointed to Connecticut Task Force to Review the Sale of Animals Sold in Pet Shops

New task force will examine the origins of animals sold in state’s pet shops
September 24, 2013

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced that Debora M. Bresch, Esq., senior state director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Mid-Atlantic region, has been invited to join a bipartisan task force to examine the sale of cats and dogs sold in Connecticut pet shops. This task force was established as a result of Amendment #8543 to H.B. 5027, which passed in the final days of Connecticut’s legislative session and was quickly signed by Gov. Dannel Malloy. Co-chair of the task force, Rep. Brenda Kupchick (R-Fairfield), sponsored this amendment, which called for the creation of a task force to include 11 experts to examine the inhumane treatment of dogs and cats in breeding facilities that sell to Connecticut pet shops. In 2014, there will be a hearing to decide whether pet shops should be required to sell only dogs and cats humanely-sourced from shelters and rescue organizations.

“I want to thank my colleagues in the House for their support on this critical amendment,” said Rep. Kupchick. “The safety and well-being of the animals sold in pet shops should be a top priority and with the creation of this task force, we are one step closer to ensuring that dogs and cats sold in Connecticut pet shops come from humane sources.”

"I am honored to have been asked to participate on this task force to look at the systematic inhumane sourcing of dogs and cats by Connecticut pet shops," said Debora M. Bresch, Esq., senior state director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Mid-Atlantic region. “The task force is an ideal forum to publicly highlight the cruel conditions in the breeding facilities that supply the state’s pet shops, and the ASPCA looks forward to working with Connecticut leaders to make task force discussions the basis of legislative action in the 2014 session."

Rep. Kupchick also proposed an amendment to H.B. 5027 that garnered wide bipartisan support and would have required that as of January 1, 2016 only dogs and cats obtained from public shelters or incorporated rescues be sold in the state’s pet shops. However, the bill was instead amended to create the task force, which will begin meeting this week, and must submit its report by January 1, 2014.

Amy Harrell, president of Connecticut Votes for Animals has also been appointed to the task force, and noted the strong popular support for the enacted measure:  “We witnessed an enormous outpouring of support from Connecticut residents during the session, and their message was clear: Connecticut does not wish to be a participant in the puppy mill trade any longer.  With an abundance of pets available from humane sources, there is simply no need for pet shops to obtain animals from puppy mills.”

The ASPCA’s “No Pet Store Puppies” campaign aims to reduce the demand for puppy mill puppies by urging consumers to pledge not to buy any items—including food, supplies or toys—from stores or websites that sell puppies.

“This task force is a positive move toward eliminating puppy mills once and for all, and to provide prospective pet owners throughout the state with humanely-sourced animals,” said Cori Menkin, senior director of the ASPCA’s puppy mills campaign.

In June, the ASPCA launched a new tool on its “No Pet Store Puppies” website that allows consumers to link pet shops that sell puppies with USDA-licensed commercial dog breeders who supply puppies to pet shops around the country. The database contains more than ten thousand photos of commercial dog breeding facilities, which not only show conditions that violate federal law, but also conditions that are legal but that the ASPCA—and the general public—consider inhumane. 

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