New bill would prevent sale of puppies obtained from animal mills

State Sen. John McKinney and state Rep. Brenda Kupchick testified recently on HB 5027, an Act Prohibiting the Sale of Dogs and Cats Obtained from Substandard Domestic Animal Mills. The bill, introduced by the two legislators, would prevent pet stores in Connecticut from taking advantage of consumers by selling puppy mill pets.

“The inhumane treatment of animals raised and bred to be sold as pets has become far too commonplace,” McKinney said. “I’m pleased to support this bill and Rep. Kupchick’s efforts to put puppy mills out of business and protect pet owners from unknowingly purchasing animals with health issues.”

Kupchick, a strong advocate for animal welfare, cited her own experience purchasing a puppy mill pet in her testimony. Nearly 20 years ago, Kupchick took her son to look at puppies at a pet store. She purchased a Beagle puppy but was skeptical. She asked detailed questions about where the puppy came from and was assured the puppy was from a reputable breeder and could produce her papers that the store never sold puppies from animal mills.

Unfortunately, what followed were many years of strange illnesses that affected their dog her entire 12 year life. This inspired Kupchick to fight to introduce HB 5027.

“Don’t misunderstand, Copper was a sweet little puppy who we loved dearly, but she ended up costing us over $16,000 during her 12 years,”  Kupchick said. “The illnesses that affected Copper were costly and caused a lot of heart break for my family over the years. This experience, compared to a puppy we adopted from the humane society that lived for 17 years and who only needed annual immunizations over her entire life. The experience taught me a valuable lesson and propelled me to become a supporter of adoption from rescues or shelters and local breeders.”

The ASPCA has compiled an enormous amount of data that clearly shows that between 95 to 98% of puppies sold in pet stores come from substandard puppy mills.

“The bill aims to protect not only animals, but the many residents who pay a great deal of money to play a game of roulette with pet stores, not knowing what the health outcome of the animal they purchased will be,” Kupchick said. “Unfortunately, neither the USDA nor the state Department of Agriculture has the manpower to monitor and inspect puppy mills in a thorough manner to protect the animals and unsuspecting public that purchase them.

“Connecticut should be a leader and do our part to end animal cruelty that takes place in puppy mills,” she said. “There are only 18 stores that currently sell puppies out of hundreds of successful pet stores in the state. Puppies and cats can be purchased from local breeders or adopted from rescues or shelters where there’s accountability.”

The Connecticut Humane Society and Connecticut Votes for Animals are both in strong support of this bill.

McKinney and Kupchick testified in front of the General Assembly’s Environment Committee to ask that language be included in the bill for a full-out ban of puppies and cats from being sold in Connecticut pet stores. The committee will hold a vote on whether to pass the bill out of the committee. Those in support this legislation may email the Environment Committee to ask for a favorable vote on HB 5027 at cga.ct.gov or call the committee clerk at 860-240-0440.

For more information on the bill, email [email protected] or visit Repkupchick.com.

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