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Fairfield Rep Praises Bill Cracking Down On 'Puppy Mills'

State Rep. Brenda Kupchick of Fairfield looks on as votes are tallied on a bill she proposed that would investigate inhumane pet breeding practices in Connecticut.
State Rep. Brenda Kupchick of Fairfield looks on as votes are tallied on a bill she proposed that would investigate inhumane pet breeding practices in Connecticut. Photo Credit: Contributed
State Sen. John McKinney, who represents Fairfield, Easton, Weston, Westport and Newtown, co-sponsored the bill.
State Sen. John McKinney, who represents Fairfield, Easton, Weston, Westport and Newtown, co-sponsored the bill. Photo Credit: File

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – State Rep. Brenda Kupchick (R-Fairfield) and state Sen. John McKinney (R-Fairfield, Easton, Weston, Westport and Newtown) celebrated passage of a bill to crack down on “puppy mills” they co-sponsored in the Connecticut General Assembly.

“The inhumane treatment of animals raised and bred to be sold as pets has become far too commonplace,” McKinney said in a press release. “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.”

House Bill No. 5207 was approved by the state legislature last week and sent to Gov. Dannel Malloy for signing Friday. The bill creates a statewide task force to investigate the importation and sale of dogs and cats from breeders that use substandard or inhumane practices when caring for pets.

The task force will study the reach of the problem in Connecticut and will recommend possible regulations for the General Assembly to adopt to prevent the practice. The bill sets a deadline for the committee’s report of Jan. 1, 2014.

Kupchick said she was inspired to introduce the bill based on her own experience. She purchased a beagle puppy for her son and was told that the pet came from a reputable breeder. But the dog often presented what Kupchick called “strange illnesses” over the course of its life.

“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 in a press release. ”The illnesses that affected Copper were costly and caused a lot of heartbreak for our family.”

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates that 95 percent to 98 percent of puppies sold in pet stores come from “puppy mills” with substandard care. The initiative would prevent local pet stores from selling animals that came from out of state that may have been treated inhumanely.

The bill initially prohibited pet stores from selling such animals outright and had the support of the ASPCA, the Connecticut Humane Society and CT Votes for Animals. But after resistance from pet store owners, the bill was amended to create the task force to investigate the problem and move the issue forward.

“Connecticut should be a leader and do our part to end animal cruelty that takes place in puppy mills,” Kupchick said. “Our hope is to have puppies and cats only purchased from local breeders or adopted from rescues or shelters where there’s accountability.”

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