A recent fire at a Danbury, Connecticut, pet store has apparently prompted a handful of state lawmakers to revisit proposed legislation targeting puppy mills.
According to published reports, the so-called “Puppy Mill Bill” would “address shutting down so-called puppy mills and kitten factories, which are large-scale commercial facilities that breed animals and sell them to many local puppy stores in Connecticut and New York.”
The media also notes that the way the bill is written and designed is similar to a new California law that just went into effect. Like its west coast counterpart, the Connecticut bill seeks to prevent pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits unless they are sourced from animal shelters or rescue groups. If passed, however, the Connecticut bill would not affect local breeders who sell the animals directly to the public.
Critics push back
Even so, not everyone is happy about the proposed legislation. In an ensuing interview, the owner of Puppy Love, the pet store where the fire occurred, said the law would be “a huge mistake.”
Specifically, Sean Silverman, who sources the animals he sells from “reputable breeders” with “complete guarantees,” says the law could put him out of business.
“Most of the people who come to us are looking for pure-bred dogs, which many local rescues don’t offer,” Silverman said. “If stores like ours are unable to provide the type of puppies that people want, then some 15 to 20 thousand people here in Connecticut will go on the internet, get a dog with zero regulations, and have it shipped, but will not get any guarantees, it’s just putting these people in a bad situations.”
Silverman also said that his business complies with all applicable state regulations.
“I pay about $7,000 a month in vet bills back to customers whose dog or cat may have had issues within 20 days of the purchase,” he explained. “Stores like ours do this because it’s the law. I have a five-year congenital warranty as well, something that would not be offered by a shelter or home breeder.”
Businesses like his are already “heavily regulated,” Silverman concluded. Given that, he said, it is clear that a bill targeting them “would be a huge mistake.”
State Representative Representative Richard Smith from New Fairfield also told the media that he has some concerns about the broad language in the proposed legislation and cannot support it in its current form.
On the other hand Representative Steven Harding has no problem supporting the measure.
““As a dog owner myself, I am happy to support initiatives that help to ensure that pets are treated safely and humanely,” he told the media.
Representative Raghib Allie-Brennan, from Connecticut’s 2nd Assembly District, which includes Bethel, Danbury, Newtown, and Redding, is currently leading a bipartisan delegation of seven legislators backing the proposed legislation. Of the seven on the committee, five are co-sponsoring the bill with him.
Although Allie-Brennan is now seeking more support from colleagues who have these type of pet stores in their districts, only time will tell whether the legislation finally gets the backing it needs.
What do you think? Should Connecticut approve this bill? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.