2022 LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY
SOME OF THESE PROPOSED LAWS WE SUPPORT
SOME OF THESE PROPOSED LAWS WE OPPOSE
WE APPRECIATE ALL YOUR HELP WRITING TO YOUR LEGISLATORS WHEN WE ASK
AT THE STATE LEVEL
(Many thanks to Stacey Ober and the entire AKC Government Relations Department for all their work)
Summary of Session Adjourned May 4, 2022
Please share this alert with Legislative Liaisons, Club Members, and Responsible Dog Owners in Connecticut.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) is pleased to report that the Connecticut legislative session adjourned on May 4, 2022. The outcome of bills impacting dog owners is as follows:
HB 5295 – Concerning Agriculture Development and Innovation (with a working group on establishing a state-wide online dog licensing portal and updates to kennel/dog licenses.) Status: Signed by Governor Lamont as Public Act 22-54 on May 10, 2022.
Summary: In response to AKC concerns that were outlined in an alert, the Joint Environment Committee held SB 234 and instead favorably reported amended Connecticut House Bill 5295. Among other provisions, it requires the Department of Agriculture to convene a working group to help develop a plan to create a state-wide online dog licensing portal along with significant changes to the dog and kennel license framework. The working group, which the Department has confirmed AKC and other stakeholders will participate in, will also determine the appropriateness of adjusting dog license fee rates and address state database privacy concerns that were raised by AKC. The bill also recognizes the contribution of Department of Children and Family Services therapy dogs by waiving license fees.
HB 5170 – Concerning the Tethering and Sheltering of Dogs
Status: Signed by Governor Lamont as Public Act 22-59 on May 10, 2022.
Summary: As detailed in AKC’s February and March informational communications, amended HB 5170 bans the tethering of a dog for more than fifteen minutes when a weather advisory or warning is issued by the National Weather Service. Tethering of dogs is also banned when outdoor environmental conditions pose an adverse risk to the health or safety of a dog based on such dog’s breed, size, age, thickness of coat, or physical condition, and a detailed definition of “adequate shelter” is provided.
HB 5498 – Designating Various Days, Weeks and Months, A Shelter Pet as the State Pet…
Status: Failed upon adjournment
Summary: A March informational communication issued by AKC noted that HB 5498, among many provisions, would have designated the shelter pet as Connecticut’s state pet. An amended HB 5498 moved favorably from the joint committee and passed the House of Representatives but did not advance in the Senate prior to the adjournment of the legislative session.
HB 5232 – Concerning Service Animals
Status: Failed upon adjournment
Summary: HB 5232 was supported by AKC because it would update Connecticut’s laws to ensure its terms and definitions would be consistent with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. The bill is a reflection of work done by a 2019 workgroup that AKC Government Relations (GR) participated in. HB 5232 was passed favorably by the Joint Human Services Committee and passed the House of Representatives before being placed on the Senate calendar. On April 29, it was recommitted back to the Human Services Committee and failed to emerge prior to adjournment.
SB 141 – Increasing the Penalty for the Intentional Injury of a Police Animal or Dog in a Volunteer Canine Search and Rescue Team
Status: Failed upon adjournment
Summary: As previously reported, SB 141 would amend the animal cruelty statute by elevating the classification of the crime of intentionally injuring any animal while in the performance of its duties under the supervision of law enforcement, or any dog performing for a volunteer search and rescue team, to a Class C felony. Current law classifies the killing of these animals as a Class C felony, but intentional injury is only classified as Class D, the least serious type of felony. AKC supported SB 141, which was voted out of the Joint Public Safety and Security Committee and sent to the House and then Senate Judiciary Committees before favorable release from the Legislative Commissioner’s Office on March 11. No further action was taken prior to adjournment of the legislative session.
For more information on Connecticut legislation this session, contact AKC GR at email@example.com.
Friday, April 1, 2022
Addressing concerns raised by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and other stakeholders, the Connecticut Joint Environment Committee has proposed a substitute bill to SB 234. Among other provisions, the new substitute text in HB 5295, would require the Agriculture Commissioner to convene a working group to help develop a plan to create a state-wide online dog licensing portal. The proposed working group, which AKC and other stakeholders are expected to be invited to participate in should the bill be enacted, is also expected to help determine the appropriateness of adjusting dog license fee rates and to help address privacy concerns that were raised by AKC at the committee’s March 7 hearing.
Last month, AKC issued a detailed action alert regarding SB 234 because its proposed changes to current kennel and dog license rules raised significant concerns. The Committee decided to not advance those changes, and instead proposed substitute text for HB 5295. Should HB 5295, as substituted, be enacted, the Department of Agriculture is expected to discuss the intended changes, as well as concerns raised at the March 7 public hearing, before returning a revised proposal to the legislature in 2023.
AKC appreciates both the Department of Agriculture and the committee for taking its concerns with SB 234 seriously, and is grateful to those who submitted testimony. AKC supports the committee’s decision to favorably release the substitute bill, HB 5295, regarding its establishment of a working group. The opportunity to provide the Department of Agriculture with suggestions that satisfactorily address their needs without creating negative unintended consequences is a valuable one.
HB 5498 (Designating Shelter Dog As State Pet):
The Connecticut Joint Government Administration and Elections Committee has scheduled a Friday, March 25, 2022, public hearing for HB 5498. The bill seeks to designate a variety of days, weeks, and months, for proclamations, including naming the shelter pet as Connecticut’s “state pet”. Acquiring a companion animal can be a rewarding process. A number of sources to acquire a pet are available, and people should do so in a manner they believe is appropriate for their needs. HB 5498 proposes a “method of acquiring” a pet to be labeled as Connecticut’s state pet. While the American Kennel Club (AKC) respects governmental animal shelters, ethical non-profit pet rescue organizations, and AKC’s all-volunteer purebred dog rescue network’s work to rehome abandoned, relinquished, and stray dogs—and the impressive reduction in shelter dogs in Connecticut that has resulted—a mode of pet acquisition is not the best criteria for choosing a state pet.
Update: AKC submitted written testimony and Stacey Ober testified at the hearing. CFDRDO members submitted written testimony opposing this proposal.
SB 234 has been raised by the Joint Committee on Environment. It makes small changes to provisions under the Dept of AG, but significant changes to the Department’s oversight of kennels and dog licenses. The changes would include:
Referring to the municipal “kennel license” now required per the definitions of “kennel” at Sec. 22-327. Definitions, as a “facility” required to have a “breeding kennel license”. NOTE: there is no definition of “facility”.
Expanding the current enforcement of the required “kennel license” beyond the Dept of AG to now include inspection of a “facility used as a breeding kennel” by any animal control officer appointed pursuant to section 22-331 or 22-331a with jurisdiction in the municipality in which the breeding kennel is located.
Inspections may include: review of the sanitary conditions in which the dogs are kept, compliance with any dog's access to proper and wholesome food, water, exercise and veterinary care when necessary, including rabies vaccinations. Any crate or other enclosures in which dogs are kept for more than four hours shall be clean and in good repair such that they do not pose a hazard to the dogs and shall be of sufficient size as to allow the dogs to stand, sit, lie down, turn around and make normal postural movements.
If conditions are not satisfactory, an ACO may issue such orders as are necessary for the correction of such conditions.
If ACO suspects a communicable or infectious disease is present, they may order the licensee to consult a licensed veterinarian in this state at such licensee's own expense.
“Licensee shall be required to implement any recommendations and orders of the ACO and any recommendations of the attending veterinarian,” or face loss of license.
Dog licenses proving current rabies vaccination would be issued now by the Dept of AG or a department agent deputized to do so. The cost of a dog license for an unspayed/unneutered dog would increase from $6 to $8.
Update: On March 7, 2022, AKC testified at 3hrs 17 minutes into the hearing. Rep. Dubitsky asked some questions and offered to be of assistance looking at the problematic text in the bill, which was great. The “Friends of CT Sportsmen” submitted testimony in alignment with AKC. CFDRDO turned out a good grassroots with 5 members submitting testimony highlighting concerns with the bill. See April 1, 2022 Updates Above.
Feb 24, 2022
Connecticut –The Connecticut animal advocates caucus has introduced HB 5170. This bill would establish requirements for the adequate sheltering of dogs and add additional requirements concerning the tethering of dogs and it is scheduled for a public hearing by the Joint Planning and Development Committee on Friday, February 25, 2022. AKC GR and the Connecticut Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners are reviewing the text. Read more.
Connecticut – SB 141 would increase the penalty for intentionally injuring a police K9 or volunteer search and rescue dog. AKC GR supports the bill in recognition of the value of these working dogs.
Update as of March 14, 2022: The Connecticut Joint Planning and Development Committee made one substantive change to HB 5170 and released it favorably to the Legislative Commissioner’s Office for review. The office will examine the bill to ensure the text is clear, concise and constitutionally sound before advancing. As detailed in the American Kennel Club’s (AKC’s) informational communication last month, the bill initially sought to amend the state’s current cruelty law by defining “adequate shelter” and banning the tethering of a dog in a manner that places it at adverse risk of injury by another animal or more than fifteen minutes without providing the dog continuous access to sanitary drinking water in a liquid state. The committee’s substitute draft now recommends banning the tethering of a dog for more than fifteen minutes when a weather advisory or warning is issued by the National Weather Service - instead of when issued by local, state, or federal authorities, as previously drafted. Tethering of dogs would also be banned when outdoor environmental conditions pose an adverse risk to the health or safety of a dog based on such dog’s breed, size, age, thickness of coat, or physical condition.
Jan 19, 2022 Please share with your networks.
Connecticut – On January 13, 2022, lawmaker members of the Connecticut Animal Advocacy Caucus met with advocates to identify legislative priorities for the session. The agenda includes legislation that would prohibit the use of exotic or wild animals in traveling animal acts.
AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL
(Many thanks to Stacey Ober and the entire AKC Government Relations Department for all their work)
March 2, 2022
Dear Club Legislative Liaisons, Officers and Delegates and concerned dog owners, please take action on this alert, and forward it to your club members asking them to take action too. Scroll down for information and resources on how to take action.
A set of arbitrary and harmful federal breeder bills (H.R. 2840 /S. 1385) that would mandate new requirements for certain hobby and professional dog breeders are gaining support in Congress. We urge all responsible dog owners, breeders and enthusiasts to contact their lawmakers about the harmful consequences of the bills, and ask them not to support them.
The “Puppy Protection Act” was introduced in 2021 and has carried over to this year. As such, it continues to gain support from lawmakers who do not understand the problematic unintended consequences of the measure. While certain aspects of this feel-good measure codify general good practices, other parts establish arbitrary, one-size-fits-all mandates that are not in the best interests of all dogs and undermine individual flexibility that allows for best practices and optimal outcomes.
In recent months, animal rights or “protection” groups have been pressuring members of Congress to co-sponsor these bills. More than 200 lawmakers have signed on as co-sponsors, increasing the likelihood that the measures could advance rapidly unless lawmakers hear your opposition.
We urge all responsible dog owners, breeders and enthusiasts to take a moment to contact your members of Congress to ask them not to support this “feel-good” measure and the one-size-fits-all mandates that can harm responsible breeders and specialized breeding practices. Ask them instead to support additional resources for the USDA so they can protect animals better by enforcing existing animal welfare requirements.
How This Impacts You:
These measures would apply to anyone who is subject to USDA breeder/dealer licensing. Breeders are subject to USDA licensing if they maintain more than 4 “breeding females” (a term that is undefined but is generally considered to mean an intact female) and sell or transfer even one of the offspring “sight unseen”. “Breeding females” include any combination of cats, dogs, or other small pet mammals such as hamsters, guinea pigs, etc. (Learn more).
Scroll down to learn more about these bills and how to contact your members of Congress.
Arbitrary requirements include but are not limited to:
Mandated indoor space sufficient to allow the tallest dog in an enclosure to stand on his or her hind legs without touching the roof of the enclosure.
Mandated unfettered access from dogs’ primary enclosures to an outdoor exercise area large enough that it “allows dogs to extend to full stride”. This creates a potentially dangerous environment for dogs.
Mandated annual dental exams.
Completely solid flooring, despite scientific recognition that multiple types of high-quality flooring, including engineered slatted flooring, is beneficial in certain types of kennels and with certain breeds.
Mandated pre-breeding screenings. No specific details are provided for what the screening would involve or who would make such decisions.
Prohibition on the keeping of dogs in enclosures above 85 degrees or below 45 degrees F, regardless of breed or acclimation needs for dogs that hunt, sled, detect explosives, or do other work and thrive in cooler temperatures, or must be acclimated to cooler or warmer temperatures for their safety.
Further, it prohibits the breeding of a female dog:
Unless pre-screened by a veterinarian
If it would produce more than two litters in an 18-month period.
Based arbitrarily on the age and size of the dog.
While some portions of the measures include reasonable generalized guidelines for canine care, arbitrary requirements that ignore best practices for individual outcomes are not appropriate for federal mandates. Arbitrary, one-size-fits-all requirements do not take into account the broad range of breeds and types of dogs or best health and breeding practices. They also do not allow for creative approaches that allow expert breeders and owners to provide optimal care for their individual dogs and advance the art and science of responsible dog breeding.
To learn more, see and share Breeder Expertise, Thoughtful Analysis Demonstrate Dangerous Flaws in ‘Feel Good’ Dog Law.
What you Can Do:
Most members of Congress want to do the right thing for dogs, but they are not experts in this area. It’s likely they do not understand the nuances or unintended consequences of arbitrary legislation that may “sound good” to a non-expert. They also hear a lot from animal rights/ animal protection groups, and they also rely on hearing from constituents. Unless we help educate our lawmakers, we will be subject to bad laws.
Your member of Congress needs to hear from you. Please contact your member of Congress and your U.S. Senators today. Visit AKC’s Legislative Action Center and type your address in the “Find Your Elected Officials” box to find out who represents you and get their contact information.
H.R. 2840/S. 1385 mandate arbitrary one-size-fits-all requirements for temperatures, kennel engineering standards, and breeding bans that are not appropriate for all types or breeds of dogs and could harm some dogs.
Explain you are a constituent. Respectfully share your experience and concerns as a dog owner/breeder/expert and based on the talking points above. Breeders: Relying on your experience, explain in practical terms how the new mandates would adversely impact your breeding program.
Ask them not to support advancing the bills out of committee.
If you can, let the AKC GR team (firstname.lastname@example.org) know you contacted your lawmakers and if you received any response.
Thank you for your action to protect the future of our breeds and the integrity of responsible, expert breeders.
AT THE LOCAL LEVEL