CAPITOL REPORT: 2019 Legislative Session: It’s a Wrap It’s official…the 2019 regular legislative session of the CT General Assembly adjourned sine die just before midnight on June 5. CT Votes for Animals (CVA) was at the Capitol fighting for animals up to the very last minute. It was a challenging session for sure, but in the end, we had several significant wins. We forged powerful coalitions with other animal advocacy organizations so legislators understood the animal welfare community was undivided in pressing for each bill. We made new friends. With so many new faces at the Capitol, it’s gratifying to know several are committed to supporting better laws for animals. And even though some of our bills never made it across the finish line, they still provided a learning opportunity for legislators. This is especially true with the anti-puppy mill bill (HB 5386) and the ban on shark fin trade (HB 5251). Each time we spoke to a legislator they learned just a little more about each issue, which lays the groundwork for next time and we promise there will be a next time. While CVA is the face at the Capitol, each of you are the soul of the organization and the energy that moves legislators to take the right action. None of this happens without you. This was evidenced by the successful efforts to stop this year’s bear hunting and nuisance wildlife bill and to put an end to the proposal to tax veterinary health services. Your calls and emails were the reason the Ban on Dog and Cat Leasing (SB 594) finally got called in the House for a vote (at fewer than 40 minutes before the session adjourned, phew!) We’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. Give yourself a round of applause, a pat on the back, a big hug. You are CVA’s trusted partner and from deep in our heart and for all the animals, we thank you. 2019 ANIMAL BILLS ENACTED OR STOPPED (*CVA Priority Bills - See CVA’s website https://www.ctvotesforanimals.org/cva_bill_tracking_and_testimony for links to CVA details and testimony.) *SB 594 Prohibition on Using a Lease to Purchase a Dog or Cat: Beginning October 1, 2019 pet stores, on-line sellers and others will no longer be able to use a leasing contract to purchase dogs and cats in CT. The predatory lending practice may result in consumers paying exorbitant prices to “finance” an animal with the potential to lose their beloved family pet if they fail to make a payment. CT joins Nevada, New York, California and Indiana in banning this anti-consumer and inhumane practice. Passed overwhelmingly with bi-partisan support in both chambers; on its way to the Governor for signature. *SB 586 Bear Hunting and Nuisance Wildlife: By a vote of 22 Nay to 11 Yay, the Senate voted down this inhumane and wrong-headed “nuisance” wildlife bill. The bill proposed to expand hunting of wildlife, including bears, to 24/7 all year long, in the name of protecting certain agricultural crops and potentially anyone with backyard chickens and hobby bees from “nuisance” wildlife. The outcry from animal advocates was critical in blocking this bill. *Tax on Veterinary Services: The Governor’s proposal to expand the sales tax to include a 6.5% sales tax on veterinary services was handily defeated in the Finance Committee. Medical veterinary services are a necessity and added costs could have a chilling effect on needed services for animals. * HB7297 An Act Concerning Quarantine and Disposal Orders of Animal Control Officers: Substitute passed by Environment Committee includes only updates to improve the State’s quarantine rules; Passed in House and Senate and transmitted to Governor for signature. Ban on Single Use Plastic Bags: A final compromise puts a 10 cent fee on single use plastic bags for the next two years with a ban going into effect in July 2021. Reducing trash and plastics from the environment is good for people and can greatly improve conditions for marine life. The ban was included in the budget, passed by both Chambers and signed by the Governor. HB 7158 An Act Exempting Certain Persons Who Board Cats and Dogs from Obtaining a Boarding License: Amended to apply to people who board 3 or fewer animals. Passed House and Senate and transmitted to Governor for signature. HB 6643 An Act Permitting Towns to Regionalize Animal Control Shelters: Allows towns to regionalize animal control shelters by removing certain restrictions. Passed House and Senate and transmitted to Governor for signature. Action on Other CVA Priority Bills *HB 5386 An Act Prohibiting the Sale or Transfer of Dogs, Cats and Rabbits at Pet Shops that are Not from Animal Welfare Organizations. A bipartisan amendment with overwhelming support would return the Committee passed “study” back to the original ban on sales of dogs, cats and rabbits. Even though the majority of lawmakers supported the amendment, tactics used by the puppy mill store owners, killed any chance of bringing the bill forward for a vote. Died at end of session. *HB 5251 An Act Prohibiting the Sale, Trade or Distribution of Shark Fins within the State. Passed overwhelming in the House 110 -28; not called in the Senate. Died at end of session. *SB 20 BIG SIX AFRICAN TROPHIES ACT: To ban the importation, possession, sale or transportation of the trophies of African giraffes, leopards, lions, elephants, black and white rhinos and their body parts throughout Connecticut. Passed Senate 32 - 4; not called in House. Died at end of session. *SB 21 An Act Concerning the Report of the Task Force on the Humane Treatment of Animals in Municipal Shelters. Passed the Senate unanimously; not called in House. Died at end of session. *SB 245 An Act Prohibiting Hunting Along the Quinnipiac River in New Haven. Passed Environment Committee; not called in the Senate. Died at end of session.
Please call or write your State Representative and Senator TODAY and ask them to SUPPORT the amendment to HB-5386 that will stop the sale of puppy mill dogs and cruelly bred cats and rabbits in CT pet stores. We've made it easy for you to do with this form letter. Click to download, customize if you want, and then email your legislators today. Click here to find your legislators.
Under pretense of defanging an unpopular bill that would allow bear hunting in Litchfield County, the Environment Committee has made furtive, last-minute changes that, within limits, could result in trophy hunting of bears throughout the state. According to the new version of the bill, nearly anyone who keeps livestock, poultry, or bees can kill bears, coyotes, fox, or any wildlife deemed a nuisance—day and night, all year long, without taking other measures to protect their “crops” or seek nonlethal remedies against hungry animals. Continue reading
A curious story started to swirl just before New Year, concerning a 'cow-about-town' loose in the City of New Britain. Buzz on Twitter and local news confirmed what backyard security cameras had already witnessed: a young steer was popping up in backyards across New Britain. From that, a hashtag was even born: #moobritain. But where did he come from? And why? Most of all, what was his fate going to become? Continue reading
As part of our ongoing educational series, this month we focus on committees, which play an important and substantial role in the legislative process. There are 26 committees in the CT General Assembly, but the majority of animal-related bills often land in the Environment Committee. Continue reading
ACTION ALERT We need your help to make sure SB 586, bear hunting, is stopped from moving forward and HB 5386, to stop puppy mills gets voted out of the Environment Committee. The Committee is likely to vote on both bills Monday, March 18, 2019. If you are unsure who your representative is, you can check it with this link. Please write or call them before Monday with the following message: Strongly Oppose SB 586 -- Black Bear Hunting in Litchfield County I am a constituent and I strongly oppose this bill in any form. I understand the bill may be modified to expand existing rules and create a loophole that will give authority to hunt bears in Litchfield County. Farmer's already have the right to protect their property under DEEP rules and there is no reason to expand the authority. Please vote no on SB 586. Strongly Support HB 5386, -- Stop the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in CT pet stores CT's pet stores are a pipeline for hundreds of commercial breeding facilities. Each time someone buys a dog in one of CT’s pet shops, another one is ordered from a commercial facility somewhere in the mid-west to take its place. CT's pet shop law is broken and can never be fixed. CT needs to join other states that are moving to stop inhumane and cruel breeding practices. Our State has over 100 independent and chain pet supply stores that do not sell dogs, cats, or rabbits and thrive on a successful business model based on the ethical principles of adoption and rescue. I believe CT's nine pet shop businesses can do the same. Please bring HB 5386 for a vote at the Environment Committee and support its passage. I'm counting on you to help CT be a leader in the humane treatment of animals. Thanks for reaching out to your representative. Remember, your voice counts in Speaking Up for Animals.
How much is that doggie in the window used to convey a sentimental vision of a sweet puppy, lovingly bred and cared for. Reality is quite different. That cute puppy in the window of your local pet store costs anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000 +/–; the higher end usually for cross-breeds like a Chorkie – (Chihuahua/ Yorkie mix) or Maltipoo (Maltese/Poodle mix) or any latest mix that promises never to shed or make you sneeze. The dirty secret that pet stores don’t want you to know is that the puppy was born to a breeding female dog that languishes in what are possibly the cruellest and most inhumane settings you could image. To top it off, the federal government puts its stamp of approval on it saying these places are “USDA Certified,”meeting the standards of care under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Continue reading
ALERT: Environment Committee hearing on Friday March 1 to hear testimony for bills on CVA’s priority list. This is your chance to let the Committee know that animal issues are important to Connecticut residents Speak up for animals either by: testifying at the hearing on Friday, March 1 at the Legislative Office Building, Room 2B at 10:30 a.m, or submitting a written statement via email to email@example.com no later than Thursday, February 28 by 3:00 p.m. in order for it to be available to the Environment Committee on Friday (be sure to include your name and town in the statement). Your testimony or written statement should be a brief note of support for or opposition to these bills or if you have a personal experience you can share your personal reasons about why these bills are important to you. SUPPORT HB 5386 Prohibit the sale or transfer of dogs, cats and rabbits at pet shops that are not from animal welfare organizations. It is time to end Connecticut’s participation in the sale of animals from cruel and inhumane commercial breeding facilities (puppy mills). Connecticut residents love their pets and they would be horrified to see the conditions and treatment of animals in these commercial breeding facilities. Pet stores do not need to sell dogs, cats or rabbits to be successful. This is evidenced by the overwhelming majority of CT pet stores, small mom-and-pop shops and large nationwide stores such as Petsmart, Petco, Pet Value that all have successful business models. Encouraging pet stores to partner with legitimate shelters and rescues promotes adoption and reduces the import of puppies from mills, and animals from other commercial breeding facilities. CVA strongly recommends that safeguards be added to HB 5386 to ensure successful partnerships with legitimate rescues. California and Maryland have banned the sale of commercially-raised dogs and cats (and rabbits in CA) in pet stores, as have over 290 localities across the nation; Connecticut should do the same. OPPOSE SB 586 Authorizing Black Bear Hunting in Litchfield County. Multiple scientific studies have shown that hunting will not help alleviate human-bear conflicts or make people safer. The solution is public education, which is both more effective and humane. A Bear Hunt is out of step with the majority of Connecticut Residents. It’s time to reverse the trend and give back the land to the majority of residents who want to enjoy the wilderness in harmony with nature. More than 1.2 million residents participate in wildlife watching, a number that has grown exponentially. Wildlife watchers bring in over $935 million to the State’s economy. In contrast, the number of hunters has been steadily decreasing representing less than 1 percent of the State’s population. The Committee's efforts to investigate the non-lethal management of black bears (SB 894) should be applauded and recognizes that education is the solution. A comprehensive and rigorous public education program should be encouraged which includes learning about removal of food attractants, conflict prevention strategies, understanding bear behavior, and best practices from successful programs in other States. Continue reading
CVA joined with Friends of Animals (FOA) and the Humane Society of the United States in urging Governor Lamont to oppose bear hunts in Connecticut. Our letter points to several crucial facts that people and policy makers should know: According to a recent UConn study there are approximately 400 adult bears in the State; about 235 were identified in the northwest corner. The State has a capacity for 3,000 according to DEEP. Hunting doesn’t solve bear-human conflict issues. Using humane and non-lethal means such as rubber bullets as a deterrent, removing attractants such as bird feeders and unsecured garbage cans all are far more effective. Hunting is not without risk. Hunters in Connecticut killed 10 people and injured 118 in hunting accidents between 1982-2018. There have been no fatal bear attacks in Connecticut and only six in the entire country, mostly in Alaska. Continue reading
CVA has established its legislative priorities for the 2019 legislative session. Be sure to contact your State Representative and Senator to tell them animals are important to you and you look forward to their support for the passage of humane legislation. Continue to follow CVA on Facebook and other social media for updates and legislative alerts. CONNECTICUT VOTES FOR ANIMALS 2019 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES Exemption from Accelerated Rehabilitation In Certain Cases of Animal Abuse:To require a showing of good cause in order to invoke a pretrial program for accelerated rehabilitation on behalf of a person charged with animal abuse. A Prohibition on Purchasing Dogs and Cats via a Financing Lease/Loan:A bill to prohibit financing dogs or cats pursuant to documents transferring ownership at the end of the term of the financing and contingent upon payments being made. Wildlife and Exotic Animals in Travelling Shows (HB 5024, HB 5248)To prohibit the use of exotic and certain wildlife animals in circuses and certain travelling shows. Adequate Shelter for Dogs During Extreme Weather Conditions:To establish certain requirements for what constitutes adequate shelter for a dog during adverse weather conditions. Prohibition on the Sale of Dogs, Cats and Rabbits by Retail Stores (HB 5246): Legislation to ban the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in retail stores. Oppose Authorizing Black Bear Hunting and Night Hunting of Coyotes in Connecticut