Monday, June 27, 2011

Connecticut launches a broadside at rescue

Very recently, the State of Connecticut passed a law that effectively kills rescue in Connecticut for any rescue that brings in dogs from other states. Under the guise of protecting the public, Connecticut has gutted the ability of rescues to do what we do which is rescue dogs. First, the bill which you can read in its entirety here. Distilled to its essence, this is what the law now requires:

1. All rescues which import dogs into the state must register and pay $100 a year. This is not a big deal.

2. All rescues and transports must provide 10 days' notice to the state that they intend to have a public event (Petsmart Adoption day) or a transport pick up when dogs are taken off transport by their foster families. (Not OK). The state wants to know when and where and how many animals. They don't do this to any other group, just rescues. Why?

3. All animals brought into the state (it does not matter from where - Alabama, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio are all the same) must see a Connecticut vet within 48 hours of arrival for a full exam. This will cost rescues on average around $100.  It is irrelevant that reputable rescues have already had their dogs fully vetted and seen by a vet just prior to arrival in order to obtain a USDA health certificate for travel.  Why?

4. All animals brought into the state must see the vet again within 15 days before they go to their homes and a new health certificate issued. This will cost another $100 minimum. If the dog is in foster for more than 90 days, they are required to see a vet for a full exam every 90 days regardless of illness or condition and even if they are sitting in a private home.

Why is this bad?

Several reasons, but the most nefarious is that it effectively ends the ability of private citizens to get their own dog from wherever they want to. If you see a dog you wish to adopt in Texas and can arrange for transport, this law requires the transport company (airline or ground transport) to announce that they are delivering a dog for pick up and schedule it with the state. Failure to do this results in a fine of $500 per dog for the transport company. This law does not apply to private citizens who wish to adopt an out of state dog, but it makes it impossible to get the dog shipped to Connecticut. This means Connecticut residents who want a golden retriever are essentially going to have to buy from a breeder or a pet store, because no local shelter rescuing strictly local dogs is going to have a golden available for rescue. If this means a bonanza for Connecticut's pit bulls who populate the shelters in droves, that's wonderful and we support their adoption 100%, but sadly, we know there will be no sharp rise in pit bull adoptions from Connecticut shelters. The people who adopt from us will simply go to a breeder to get what they want and that's a reality. Dogs will continue to die in shelters all across the country, Connecticut included, and breeders and pet stores and puppy mills will make a killing. 

The rest of the problem with this law is simply the cost. All reputable rescues provide the following minimum care before they place a dog:

1. The dog is spayed/neutered.
2. The dog has its distemper/parvo, rabies and bordetella shots.
3. The dog is cleared for heartworms and other parasites.
4. The dog is groomed, provided frontline and heartgard and a collar.
5. The dog is microchipped and registered.
6. The dog is checked by a vet again just before transport and a health certificate is obtained.

The average total cost for this for a rescue is just shy of $310. Add to that the cost of transport which averages $150 and you can see the reason for an adoption fee in excess of $400. The rest of this has to be made up through relentless fundraising. 

Now, with the new regulations, we have to take the dog specifically to a Connecticut vet (no other vet will do). We must pay for a complete exam again within 48 hours even though if there is a disease, the odds of seeing it that soon after transport is next to zero as diseases generally take 5-7 days to show symptoms. That exam costs about $100. Then we must again take the dog to a Connecticut vet no more than 15 days before adoption for another exam and a health certificate at a cost of another $100.

Do the math. If we are all already spending $450+ just to vet the dog and transport it, even at a loss, then the addition of $200 in required vet visits raises the adoption fee to over $650. Very very few people can afford that, which causes rescue to die away and the breeders and pet stores win, as do the vets who presumably will get a boom in business.

What is it that Connecticut hopes to achieve?

If the goal of the law was to protect public health, we'd support this law or at least a version of it. However, this does nothing but cost rescues a lot of money to the explicit benefit of breeders and pet stores who are not required to do anything to their dogs at all but provide a shot and a deworming. Breeders and pet stores loathe rescue because it's competition. A look at who supported this bill is enlightening: the breeders association (Connecticut Federation of Dogs) and the vets. Who gets more money as the result of this? You can guess.

A better solution would have been to require that all rescues who import dogs adhere to a standard of care:

1. All dogs must be spayed/neutered.
2. All dogs must have distemper/parvo, rabies and bordetella shots.
3. All dogs must be cleared for heartworms and other parasites.
4. All dogs must be chipped and registered in the name of the rescue who adopted the dog.

All reputable rescues are already doing this, and those rescues that aren't reputable are going to ignore the laws anyway. All this does is punish the good rescues and make rescue in Connecticut impossible. Is this what Connecticut really wants, or was it what the breeders and pet stores wanted?


  1. The new law does not end, or even limit interstate dog importation. It does however bring importation into the light of day and under the control of the CT Department of Agriculture, where it should be.

    No citizen who wishes to adopt an imported dog will be impeded from doing so. Rescue organizations however, will no longer be able to mass import groups of dogs from other states with no oversight, as they have in the past. They will have to operate in a more regulated manner. This will benefit the transported dogs themselves, dogs already owned by new dog adopting citizens and the citizens themselves.

    While this blog has many inaccuracies, the most important is the waving away of concern for animal health, as well as consumer protection. Many veterinarians, as verified by me, have seen far too many imported rescue dogs with previously unrevealed illnesses, go to families unprepared for the expense. Some of these then end up in shelters again, here. For the remainder, the adopting family bears the cost, not the importer. The new law creates a level of responsibility for rescue organizations similar to that imposed on other sources of animals in this state.

    In contrast to the assertions in this blog, the new controls will not stop importation, but will put animal health and CT consumer interests ahead of the desire to do good on the part of individuals and organizations.

    The underlying message is, whenever possible adopt a CT source animal first. Our shelters and pounds have many worthy animals already here, waiting for homes now. Every animal imported, means an animal already here waits still longer. That's not fair either.

    As a side note, the great job done by animal welfare and animal control agencies in CT, including local rescues, is unfairly exploited by ineffective animal control in dog exporting states. Enabling those states and citizens to continue ignoring their own animal control problems by shifting vast numbers of their "surplus" animals to the north, effectively allows the status quo to continue in those states.
    Unlimited production continues there apace.

    The overpopulation problem is not uniform across the country, and as a nation of states, each state should deal with its problems within its borders. Only in this way will overpopulation eventually be reduced, one state at a time.

    Arnold L. Goldman DVM, MS
    Connecticut Veterinary Medical Foundation

  2. I guess if this has already passed, then " what would be better" no longer matters. CT should be ashamed that so many dogs will die due to their impossible new regulations. Very sad for the dogs and sad for the volunteers who work so hard to save their lives.

  3. I'm sorry Dr. Goldman but a lot more dogs in the South will get euthanized because of this law. No longer will the rescues be able to take multiple dogs off the EU list in overcrowded southern shelters because they will know that the hoops they would have to jump through will be ridiculous just to bring that dog to a loving home up north. I have been to many CT shelters- if they want this law passed, they better step up their game because those shelters leave a LOT to be desired.
    I am a proud owner of a dog saved from the EU list in Texas and I think it is cruel what this law is trying to accomplish. Shame on CT for passing this! A lot more dogs will suffer because of it!

  4. These strict requirements encourage the euthanization of animals who would normally pass state lines with greater ease. If a dog is previously vetted there is absolutely no reason why they need to be re-vetted. Rescues struggle as it is, doing the work that others don't do. This is the wrong move. What does need to be implemented is a state-approved contract that rescues must sign before transport, stating that the dog has received vet care and the records from the vet are accurate.

    When you get a pet from the pet store, you take it to the vet. This is the same situation.

    Bad, bad idea. There are Katrina animals and animals that are the victims of floods that are filling up recues and humane societies. In Memphis, there is NO room for more animals. We need to be trusted to have the animals vetted here and moved to areas where there are lower dog populations waiting to be adopted, or these animals will be waiting an unnecessarily long time.

    This reeks of snobbery, to me. These animals are fine and deserve homes. There is also another side to this story -- adopters who are unreasonable in their expectations. All of the transport rescues that I know of make the adopter sign a contract stating that they'll accept the dog AS IS. Stop being so selective. Get the extended vet care that they *may* need, if any. Do the right thing and follow through on your end of the bargain by accepting the dog AS IS, which is a good dog, by most people's standards.

    This is truly disgusting.

  5. Dr. Goldman,

    We respectfully disagree with your analysis. Adding $200 to the cost of an adoption and requiring 10 days advance notice of transport and adoption events will end a lot of legitimate rescues in CT. It's not fiscally possible when we are all already spending $300+ for proper vetting and $150 for transport costs. Responsible rescues have always been willing to do rescue the right way and indeed, they have been doing the right things. Respectfully, I ask you just exactly how this bill will bring rescue into the light of day? This bill is a disaster and the very things we have railed against (vans coming from NC full of sick puppies from shelters) will continue just like before (you can't seriously imagine they intend to let you know when they plan to drop a van load of sick puppies in a Walmart parking lot), but your legitimate rescues who do things properly will be driven out by the cost of compliance. Responsible rescues have long maintained that a law requiring minimum standards of conduct as was set forth in our post would be more effective at achieving the aims of all responsible rescues, local and state government and the veterinary community in Connecticut. No one involved in this bill reached out to the responsible rescue community at all to discuss this bill or ways we could work together. This bill was pushed by the lobbyist arm of the breeders (Con Fed) and your organization. The bill as drafted is unconstitutional in several respects and will likely be challenged. The ten largest rescues in Connecticut have a list of 100,000 people who vote and who are concerned. This was an exceptionally ill-advised piece of legislation and many rescues believe this was a clear attempt to close rescues to the distinct benefit of breeders who are now on a more equal footing cost-wise with rescue.

  6. Additional points:

    1. "The state wants to know when and where and how many animals." "Why" Because animals are arriving with diseases that are not identified or disclosed at adoption.

    2. "must see a Connecticut vet within 48 hours of arrival for a full exam." "It is irrelevant that reputable rescues have already had their dogs fully vetted and seen by a vet just prior to arrival in order to obtain a USDA health certificate for travel. Why?" Perhaps because veterinarians who are signing USDA certificates are not denying them for ill or questionable animals. Perhaps there is a bias to approve transport, when their client is the rescue itself.

    3. "If the dog is in foster for more than 90 days, they are required to see a vet for a full exam every 90 days regardless of illness or condition and even if they are sitting in a private home." This is designed to ensure only healthy animals are transferred to new owners, and if not healthy, that new owners are fully aware of that. What it is NOT about is income for veterinarians. If veterinarians wanted more income from rescue organizations, we would have opposed this law. More sick animals to treat would fit with that line of thinking. In contrast Connecticut's veterinarians supported the law overwhelmingly. We feel a responsibility to protect our clients and their animals.

    4. "If this means a bonanza for Connecticut's pit bulls who populate the shelters in droves, that's wonderful and we support their adoption 100%, but sadly, we know there will be no sharp rise in pit bull adoptions from Connecticut shelters."
    It's a myth that most CT shelters are populated solely with Pit Bulls, not that I have anything against the bully breeds. Drive around and see for yourself.

    5. "was it what the breeders and pet stores wanted?" This has nothing to do with dog breeders or pet stores. It has to do with protecting pet owners and the animals they already own from ill animals. This doesn't mean rescue should stop, but sets the bar higher, such that only committed, ethical people and organizations can participate. The casual, amateur can still participate, if they meet the same required standard.

    6. "Alabama, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio are all the same." Every dog imported, means a dog already here gets no home that day. There's no getting around that. The states listed above, and many others, all need to deal with their animal control issues, within their borders. Large scale importation is enabling ignoring the issue in exporting states.

    7. Finally, as long as society continues to address excess dog production in terms of each individual animal, no real national progress will be made in approaching elimination of the "overpopulation" problem. That problem is only solvable using an epidemiological approach, by dealing with the population within each jurisdiction, one at a time and using municipally mandated population control methods to address it. Shifting animals around simply opens cage space at the points of origin, to then house more irresponsibly produced puppies from the same irresponsible citizens who created the problem. Like musical chairs, there will always be a dog with no home while production exceeds demand. Upstream suppression of production is an approach that has not been sufficiently explored. It ought to be.

    Arnold L. Goldman DVM, MS
    Connecticut Veterinary Medical Foundation

  7. A debate on the merits of an issue is fine with me, however, accusations of unethical conduct should be avoided.

    The following statement: ("A look at who supported this bill is enlightening: the breeders association (Connecticut Federation of Dogs) and the vets. Who gets more money as the result of this? You can guess.") approaches such an accusation. It would have been enough to say that the rescue community has a very different philosophical outlook with respect to dog ownership and acquisition, than do most breeders and Connecticut Dog Federation's members.

    Veterinarians have a more nuanced view and also are not monolithic in their views. We all, however, advocate for our existing clients and patients first. That's our commitment.

    As for the statement "Breeders and pet stores loathe rescue because it's competition", if that is really so, and I'm not sure it is, isn't it also true that the rescue community feels similarly about breeders? The fact is many breeders also are involved in a form of rescue, the breed specific kind. That is their right as is yours to engage in rescue in a broader form.

    It is sad that all animal loving factions cannot at least see the others point of view and respect it, while not agreeing. In the end we all make animal welfare a major priority in our lives. We have more in common than not.

    Arnold L. Goldman DVM, MS
    Connecticut Veterinary Medical Foundation

  8. I respect a differing POV, but I strongly disagree with it.

    It's more red tape, a sure increase in dogs not getting into homes because rescues struggle to survive and finance themselves as is, but it's definitely more business for CT vets.

    Interesting and *very* transparent. These homeless dogs have people like you to thank for not getting into homes with greater ease. While rescuers do the hard work of keeping them off the streets.

  9. The main point is the people who don't care for animals properly will continue to drive and dump - this will do nothing but penalize those that are already doing things 'correct' when it comes to moving a dog from an unwanted area to a desirable owner.

  10. To "Me" and with all due respect, "people like me" have dedicated our entire professional lives to helping animals. It's no hobby with us.

    Those responsible for dogs not being in homes, and perhaps on the streets, are the citizens and governments in states with weak animal control laws, animal welfare education and laissez faire attitudes about animal control enforcement.

    Veterinarians see the new law as resulting in LESS work for veterinarians, but supported it anyway. Perhaps it will result in more initial physical examinations, presumably for mostly healthy animals, but also will result in less need for treatment of serious disease.

    It will also inhibit the placement on the trucks of questionably healthy animals in the first place, as no rescue will want to take on a responsibility like that, and that's part of the point.

    Finally, casting 'rescue' as the solution to overpopulation misses the point. At best its a stopgap measure. The source of production, the unspayed bitches in Georgia, for example, are the source of the problem. That problem can only be addressed in Georgia. Shipping it north makes people feel good, but fails to slow the need for rescue.

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  12. We have had wonderful people from the north help us many times to get dogs out of the shelters here in Florida. I commend and thank them. They have said there is a shortage of the "small dogs" up there. Some just do it because they see how many die here on a daily basis. We have a shelter in Miami that is FULL of pure breeds that are highly adoptable but many get put to sleep because of over crowding.

    Why aren't the puppy mills & backyard breeders focused on more? They are the criminals not the dogs and all of us rescuers and fosters.

    You say one of the reasons you want this law passed is because rescues are adopting dogs out that are sick? Are these the rescues in your state taking them in? If so, why blame that on inter state rescue & not the people that aren't disclosing that the dog has an illness to the adopter? They are the ones that are being unfair by having a family get attached to a dog that may die & exposing everyone to diseases, including people.

    The cost of adopting will go up because of the vetting every three months. I have had a foster in the past here with me for a year. Initial vetting is expensive to begin with. Then you have to go every three months for a wellness check which is about $120 here.

    If you are a reputable 501c3 rescue then there are always vaccine records kept on each dog. Any rescue I have ever been involved with does a "Well Check" before they are adopted out.

    I always try to encourage people who are out of state interested in a foster I have to go to their local shelter or a rescue in their area.

    Mandatory Spay/Neuter should be in place until the overpopulation we are faced with is under control!

    You have a lot of good points. However, some are too much and a lot of dogs are going to die if this law is passed :(

    Yours in rescue,

  13. Dear Camille,

    No one is blaming anyone. Rescue and importation will continue, just now with CT Dept of Agriculture oversight. Legitimate rescue organizations will continue their work, albeit with a little more skin in the game, as responsibility for animal health will be more clearly theirs. On the other hand, those in it mainly for profit,and there are a few, and who may not care about the animals all that much, they will hopefully feel continuing not worth the bother. That's for the best.

    All I can say is that the current state of affairs of mass shipping dogs northward while temporarily alleviating shelter populations in the south, do not decrease shelter admissions there. If animals are still dying there, despite the current mass rescue exports, clearly rescue alone is not enough. Why are your local citizens not pressuring politicians, writing in newspapers and making outrage about the issue front page news? I read more about free range hens and cage free eggs than I do about the plight of dogs in the south.

    It is up the citizens and politicians in your state and other exporting states to exhibit the political will and provide the funding to do what it takes to decrease shelter admissions, not just increase shelter discharges.

    Kind regards,

    Dr G

  14. Dr G,

    Rescue alone will never be enough to stem the tide of dogs dying in shelters. Change of that magnitude requires political will not in evidence in many areas of the US. Nothing in this statute will do anything to alleviate the issues you have outlined and I would be very curious as to the statistics which show that this law will do what you believe it will. Those of us who already properly vet our dogs will continue to do so and those that don't, won't. All this does is cost legitimate rescue a huge amount of money with zero results. It is readily apparent this bill will do nothing to help the current problem.

    I do need to clarify one statement made in the original post. It is unfair to lob statements at the entirety of the breeding world as not all breeders are anti-rescue, and indeed, we all work with club-supported breed rescue daily. That said, the overwhelming majority of animal breeding occurring in New England is not being done at the hands of responsible, breed-club affiliates. Those that breed 20 different breeds at their kennels in large numbers are vehemently anti-rescue and we have had multiple run-ins cleaning up their messes. There was no ethical slam here, but vets and breeders are the clear winners here and it is undeniable that this is a cash cow for vets to the distinct detriment of rescue.

  15. Ol' Doc, you've shown your snobbery with 'unspayed bitches in Georgia'. There are unspayed dogs everywhere, even in your clean, lovely, perfect Connecticut.


  16. I act as a foster rescue for a rescue group and while I agree with Ol' Doc that dogs come in without an otherwise known issues, when the dog is coming in as a foster, the dog's vet bills are covered by the rescue network. I fully expect when a dog is pulled from a kill shelter, where the shelter does NO health check, that I will get an animal with issues. I'd be surprised if I didn't. However, when I receive the dog, he/she has been spayed, neutered, and is utd with shots. In the event a dog is pulled without a spay or neuter, the rescue REQUIRES I have the dog spayed immediately, they do NOT adopt unaltered dogs.

    If there is a problem with an unreputable rescue, I suggest they contact the Dept of Ag and have it handled. But this is better because it makes Connecticut more money, but in reality what WILL happen is Connecticut fosters will not be able to volunteer to help so countless numbers of dogs will be euthanized. Rules are one thing, trying to make money off the backs of helpless animals otherwise doomed to die is just sick.

    I am entirely sick of Connecticut in every aspect. Malloy and the rest of the political crap can just bite me. Over regulations, fees on everything, over taxed, watch me move to Mass, take my tax dollars with me and MY FOSTER DOGS!

    Oh and my vet operates in two states so I won't need to find a new one. Thanks.

    To Me, it's not clean, lovely or perfect and most of the residents have had it with this crap hole. Sure we have some pretty areas, but that isn't the whole picture.

    The CT Dept of Ag should do something useful and shut down the puppy mills and leave the rescues the hell alone.

  17. Dr. G

    You can not convince me otherwise, that this bill is for nothing other than to saturate the breeders, pet stores and veterinarian's wallets. Word of this bill has been running rampant in the show ring and breeder's circle of internet forums and social networks. They are in full force of supporting and promoting this bill, and are eager to share this train wreck amongst themselves. Hmmm, coincidence? I don't think so. Ask a reputable breeder why they breed and they will tell you "for the betterment of the breed". Oh, please. They are breeding for that perfect dog, and the ribbon that goes along with it. Ask a not-so reputable breeder why they breed - and I promise it's for the money. How come there are no regulations for them? There are no quantity control of litters, no health certificates needed. NOTHING. Either way, both wind up with lot of "extra" pups to get rid of.

    The energy expended on this bill should have been better spent on shutting down puppy mills, or helping put forth breeding regulations, or how about providing free spay/neuter clinics. This tactic of slapping more costs to the people who are dedicating their time, money and love to help a deserving dog in need, is nothing but sadistic.

    A dog in need, is a dog in need.

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  19. Dr. G,
    I do some minor work with rescue and I do local foster for local shelters. I don't live in your state, nor do I plan to. I do know that there are thousands of protesters who raise their voices against puppy mills. Where is yours? Don't point your finger unless your voice is already in place. As a caretaker of animals, I would think that you would be in the front line of prevention for over breeding instead of passing it off as a "southern trash" issue. You didn't use those words, your attitude said it for you. If you were my vet, I'd drop you because you come across as an ass. I'm a Northerner myself.

  20. My take on it...set high fines for breeding of animals. Those fines can go toward building larger housing units and feeding homeless animals. That way, there will be enough room to take care of them, until they're adopted, and make sure they're fed properly. We should also educate the public, especially the younger ones, about why they should not breed animals.

    The law, as it is now, can be changed. You simply start BOYCOTTING Conn. vets and breeders. You also start voting those that pushed the law, out of office, as soon as there is an election. And, any other state that follows suit should, likewise, be boycotted, on all their exported goods. If something is wrong with any of the animals, take them out of state to be vetted. It might be a long drive, but at least, they will be vetted. It's the BEST way for those in charge, to know you disagree with what they've initiated, and get every animal lover you know to do the same! We are a powerful animal lovers, and it's time to put the responsibility on the shoulders of those that are creating the problem in the first place...anyone that breeds another animal and contributes to the overpopulation problem. Just like you don't punish an adoptive agency for finding a child a home, you don't punish those that are finding animals a home. If you're not willing to put the same standards on those that breed the animals, you cannot put them on rescues. It's that simple. Vote those that decided on this law, out! And, DON'T USE ANY VET in Conn. It's easy enough to go to a state that does not punish those that want the animals safe.

  21. Oh, and if they want you to comply with the laws, fine...comply, but don't EVER bring your animals to ANY vet in Conn., for anything other than a general health check. After that, bring them to a vet OUTSIDE of conn., until they get the idea that they're losing business, BIGTIME, by enacting this law. That will get the message across. Hit them in the pockets and watch how fast they change that law! And, inform ALL YOUR FRIENDS TO DO THE SAME, IMMEDIATELY! Loss of funds to their pockets will most assuredly make them change their arrogant tune.

    If they want to attack the problem, correctly, they MUST change the laws concerning breeding irresponsibly. The city wants's simple, hit the backyard breeders for HIGH FINES. That will kill the first problem and bring in revenue for the city and the animals. It will also create new jobs. In addition, create new laws that include the areas just outside the city limits. Again, fine the breeders. I'm sure EVERYONE can understand that backyard breeders can no longer be tolerated, and need to be addressed, immediately. They hurt the good breeders, the rescue attempts, the pet-shop reputations, and the city funds, not to mention, increasing the shelter fatalities. It's time folks to put these things into motion, to prevent more deaths from occurring.

  22. I take great exception to the comment by Ol' Doc "Perhaps because veterinarians who are signing USDA certificates are not denying them for ill or questionable animals. Perhaps there is a bias to approve transport, when their client is the rescue itself."

    So, in essence, you are claiming that any vet outside of CT is fraudulent. You are suggesting that my vet, who has been in practice for over forty years, has a more than thriving practice, is fudging forms because I bring in some business?

    Shame on you, and shame on your theories. If your suppositions are true, why aren't you going after those so-called fraudulent veterinarians and charge them with federal offenses for lying on Certificates of Good Health?

    What you fail you understand is that a reputable rescue relies on having fully vetted healthy dogs with full disclaimers and no transparancy. We rely on our vets to provide us with the proper medical information to better the health of our animals and so they can be properly vetted. If not, we wouldn't be in business.

    You have failed, sir, to live up to the oath you took upon becoming a veterinarian. A brief refresher:

    Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health, the relief of animal suffering, the conservation of ledge.

    I will practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics.

    I accept as a lifelong obligation the continual improvement of my professional knowledge and competence.

    You have done nothing except conscienscously accused non-Connecticut veterarians of fraud; ignored the millions of dogs that are in shelters due to poor breeding practices; in essence, you are supporting the very groups that we spend our entire lives cleaning up messes for.

    Shame On You.

  23. This is a shame. I have fostered over 200 dogs in the last two years that were lucky enough to have found wonderful homes in the northeastern United States, including CT. I agree that each state should pass stricter laws to help eliminate unwanted pets, but there are still many states, especially in the south, that think animals are disposable property, are a long way from doing so. Until the laws get better, the animals are the one that suffer.
    The fact that there is a concern that the veterinarians may have a personal interest and give a health certificate to an unhealthy do because they have a personal interest is ridiculous. The veterinarians will not risk their careers to do that in where these dogs come from any more that there are in CT. It seems to me that this law must have been backed and supported by the veterinarians in CT because they feel that they are loosing money because these dogs are fully vetted, at a reasonable rate, before they come into the state. I think they see the money that THEY can not make by this. I work with many rescues and the MOST important thing, and the reason we devote our lives to rescue, is the dogs. We take them into our homes and spend as much money as needed to make sure they are healthy. We spend time socializing them to help the become good pets and we thoroughly screen the adopters to make sure they find forever homes. i would like to see the statistics of the dogs brought into the state by rescue groups that end up at the shelters. I would guess that number is miniscule. The rescues will always take the dog back if it is no longer wanted, no matter the reason. We CARE about these dogs!
    If the state wanted to supervise this that is understandable but make the law reasonable and accept the Health Certificate of a licensed Veterinarian, regardless of what state they live in. I'll bet there are some veterinarians in the south that were once in CT.

  24. The mad dash to drag dogs from one side of the country to the other "to save them", is not all good. One of the golden rules of animal husbandry is that hygiene is critical. You can't take an animal from a shelter that may have pathogens, stress it by shipping it across the country, fail to give it time to adjust to the new environment for a proper temperment test and then adopt it instantly without some bad consequences.

    Many diseases have incubation periods. Worms eggs can hatch after the initial worming which is why worm medicines typically must be repeated at intervals. Right now many transporters & rescuers are making a lot of money off the transport of shelter dogs. If there is a shortage of the kind of dogs people wish to own in the local shelters then it indicates to me that breeders in that area must be doing something right and deserve to be supported as responsible custodians of their breed.
    Perhaps rescue needs to focus on finding homes for the unwanted animals left behind in their own community. Or is the real issue that they will lose a source of revenue?

  25. It is a shame that so many posting here have chosen to attack the motives of CT veterinarians, my own motives & attitudes about others & my interest in animal welfare. I do not need to defend myself, but I do want to share ideas that may be different from what you usually hear.

    The general tone seems to be that somehow the concept of rescue is under attack and that veterinarians, veterinarians in CT, me, the government of CT don't care about shelter dogs. I won't take the time to answer all these posts individually, as I am just one voice in a gale force wind here, but I will answer generally.

    Accusations of snobbery or class discrimination have no place. Impugning character also has no place. In contrast, a discussion on the merits of an approach to an existing problem should be had. Is everyone so sure they are right that the existing approach cannot even be questioned? No one has answered why it is that the mass exodus of animals from states other than CT continues despite effective rescue. Arguing that rescue/transport/foster "saves" many dogs doesn't answer why rescue is even necessary. Why are there so many excess dogs in shelters? Its not all due to unscrupulous purebred breeding, as the dogs coming off the transports are by and large mixed breeds. Where these dogs got their start is far more nuanced and varied than that.

    We in CT and other New England states are not shipping large numbers of dogs elsewhere. Why not? If we have done something right here, why has that not been done in those locations where dogs are exported from? Should our approach not be tried in those places then?

    One or two above have blamed other problems in CT on too much government or the wrong kinds of government and implied I have a certain point of view in that regard. My personal politics have nothing to do with this discussion. If you try to stereotype me, I guarantee you will be wrong.

    I am only interested in problem solving. Every person involved in rescue should have one underlying hope and one philosophy, and that ought to be that the need for rescue becomes obsolete because every dog is home, somewhere. One could draw the conclusion from the vitriol in some of these posts, that the doing of rescue is more important to the participants than ending the need for the practice.

    We believe it is time to force exporting states to take responsibility for the actions of their citizens. Control of import will impact those states. In 50 years, if every state optimally controls dog reproduction as a function of public policy, fewer dogs will be in shelter and less will die. Look ahead not to next weekends transport, but to the next 5 decades and whether we want to leave future generations with the same animal welfare mess we have now.


    Dr. G

  26. What's so hard to understand? This is all about locking up the business in Conn irrespective of the damage done and countless loss of additional lives.

    Anybody that doesn't understand and realize that 95% of the vets are after the MONEY hasn't pulled their head out of the sand yet.

    Take a look at the vet's cost for an annual vaccination, e.g., less than $2. Take a look at what you pay, $35 in Tennessee, worse as you go north.

    THAT'S what it's all about.

  27. Joe it appears to me that the transporters and out of state rescuers are the ones after the money. What's happening to the "unwanted" dogs in your own state when their potential new home is given to a dog from another state? Where is the concern for those unloved ones? Or is it that you can't charge mega bucks for the less popular dogs?

  28. Ol' Doc makes some excellent points. If rescues going into a state with such a law care about the animals and the new adoptees, they should welcome the law. Then they should work with the vets to get a lower fee for those wellness checks on the animals to insure they don't come down with an illness picked up in those southern shelters because of the stress of being transported in vans or trailers all those miles. Why would you not want to insure the animals you are selling are as healthy as possible? Breeders and pet stores are usually covered by "lemon" laws if they sell a sick animal. Non-profit rescues are always exempted as well as not having to collect sales taxes. I'm sure most vets in CT would be willing to work with people who put the animals ahead of making a buck off of them. I also have concerns about all the unwanted animals being brought from other states and displacing local animals needing homes. Does no one in rescue care about what happens to those local animals they are displacing?

  29. Maggie b @ 6:46AM,

    The typical fee for an out-of-state rescue is about $400. Could you provide your analysis of how a rescue group can (1) retrieve an animal from a kill-shelter, (2) have a vet exam and vaccinations performed; (3) pay for follow-up vet work, if any;(4) pay to house and feed the dog for several weeks while awaiting transport; (5) pay for transport to another state (~$150 per the original post); (6) pay for housing and feeding in the destination state; (7) possibly transport the animal to one or more adoption events; and still earn a profit? And these costs do not reflect the implicit cost of the many hours of personal labor involved. By way of comparison, a quick internet search showed that a "local" no-kill shelter, Briarcliff, NY SPCA, charges $325 for dogs rescued from other high-kill shelters.

  30. Joe, there is a lot more money to be made from sick animals than from routine physical examinations of healthy animals. If you were right about your statement that CT veterinarians are acting from greed, we would remain silent about what is going on. The many sick animals arriving here in mass transports, and the animals already here that they infect, would provide far more income than what can be made from routine healthy animal physical exams, including any repeats required from long term foster care. The new law came about because of what we witnessed coming off of trailers in parking lots and in our exam rooms in the weeks after new adoptions. Yes the unscrupulous have made it less informal for everyone, but the scrupulous will be able to continue their good work.

    This is a national issue and every state, whether on the export or import side of the equation will be taking action in the years to come to address local circumstances that contribute to poor animal welfare. Who would say they don't want better animal welfare?

    Wouldn't it be great if say, 50 years out, shelters in every state could be half full or less and we had to discuss dog shortages and how to increase availability?

  31. So the sick dogs being brought in from other states and adopted out by rescues are a problem, but the ones being shipped in to pet stores from puppy mills aren't? What if I pick a breeder sight unseen from across the country and have them ship me a puppy just assuming that they are a reputable breeder, does this law cover ensuring that I am receiving a healthy puppy? Uniformity, that's all I ask. To claim that rescues view breeders as competition is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard. Competition? How about the problem? How many rescues do you know that are raking in huge profits? I adopted a dog for $400. He was pulled from a high kill shelter, neutered, given all his vaccinations, treated for coccidia and heartworm disease and fed and cared for by the rescue for 4 months before being shipped from Tennessee to New England. I highly doubt my $400 covered his expenses and that they'd rather pay it to whoever it was that bred him (yes, he is a purebred dog) to have them stop breeding.

  32. The kill rates in the South FAR outweigh the numbers in New England. The overpopulation of strays, displaced and unwanted dogs in the South also far outweigh the numbers in New England. In general, dogs in the South are not viewed in nearly the same way as in New England. Local shelters here in CT have been and still are, holding their own. Everyone has a choice - no one is forcing adopters to pick a Southern dog. They can certainly choose a local shelter. Personally, if I had to choose a dog that has been fostered and living in a home (either prior to arriving here, or in the South), versus one picked up by Animal Control and put straight in to a pound - I would take the dog that was fostered. Have any of the proponents ever spent a day doing rescue? Spent your own money and time? It is an awesome network of caring individuals who rally together and find dogs for families, regardless of where they are from. I don't understand your issue here??? Aren't the supposed sick dogs making you money? I could breed any dog I wanted and give it away. It too, could be sick, right from my own Connecticut back yard. Why does is matter WHERE these dogs come from?? Dr. Goldman, you can defend your ethics all you want, if that's what makes you sleep well at night. There isn't one redeeming point in this bill.

  33. This new law was promoted because of the large numbers of sick dogs arriving here and complainst from pet owners to veterinarians. The new law will not stop or even slow the flow, but only keep all players honest. It matters where a dog came from because CT source dogs have CT addresses from which they came and those doing local rescue remain under CT law. Out of state rescues do not and this law makes sure that out of state actors operating in CT are also subject to CT law. The emotional outbursts that more dogs will die in the south ignores the responsibility of those in the south allowing conditions which fill their shelters. Why does the rescue community not want to talk about this? Why is it not considered worthy of debate, the reasons for CT success in reducing shelter populations and the exporting states failure to do so? The debate is not about the freedom to act for rescue, it is about the many puppies as yet unborn that are destined for shelter in the years to come. Come on people, think larger than today and the next shipment. Think decades out. CT cannot be the solution. Each state must be its own.

  34. Dr. Goldman,

    In your initial and subsequent posts above you explained that this new bill is intended, in part, to increase the adoption of pets out of local CT shelters. As someone who volunteers weekly at a local shelter (albeit in NY), this is a goal very near to my heart. Can you explain what measures -- legislative or otherwise -- you or the CT Veterinary Medical Association have undertaken to reduce the sale of dogs by breeders or pet stores in CT? Thanks.

    -- LL

  35. First I would like to say that whether you agree with Dr. G's points or not he has been nothing but polite and on topic and those of you that have bashed him should be ashamed of yourselves. Second, I would like to make a point of my own that is entirely MY OPINION based soley on my personal experiences. Based on the blog and the comments above me it seems like the biggest issue with this new law is the added cost of approximately $200 that would burden rescuers. Why not just pass that cost on to the adopter? Here is my reasoning:

    - the cost, even at $600 to adopt is still less than buying from a reputable breeder

    - whenever I get a new pet I always take it to the vet within the first week for a health check at my own expense, but if the pet was required to see a local vet immediately before adoption it would save me a trip and the cost for the vet check would be a wash

    - if people are going to adopt because "it is the right thing to do", they will still do that even if it is a little more expensive.

    - if the extra $200 cost to adopt is too much for a potential adopter then perhaps they are not financially secure enough to have a dog anyway. One illness or accident can cost 10x that amount easily.

    That's about it. To me it seems silly to assume that this law was passed to put more money in vet's pockets since it has been my experience that a regular checkup of a healthy dog is far less expensive than have to purchase medications to treat an unhealthy dog, and medication markups are a large area of profit. And I am all for adopting dogs and saving them from kill shelters and all of that, but ultimately it is my opinion that by rescuing all of these dogs we are really just prolonging (if not encouraging) the problem of pet overpopulation.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this. I think in the end we all agree that we need to do what is best for these dogs, it is just that we all have different views on how to achieve that.

  36. Each state must be on their own? That's YOUR opinion. And a close minded one at that. What difference is it if a dog dies in a CT shelter or one dies in a southern shelter? NOTHING!

    Enlighten me as to how we, the 501(c) non profit, volunteer driven group of people can go about changing the mentality of one quarter of a United States? We struggle with this every day. How about you vets step up to the plate and offer free spay/neuter clinics? Help us to educate them?

    You want US to think larger than today and the next shipment, when you can't think beyond the point that there are dogs everywhere that need homes.

    There is a local pet store nearby me that was covered on the news for selling sick dogs. That's it....a news story. Big deal. You think WE need to think larger???? They're is a way bigger problem here - it's called overpopulation.

  37. BrendaK, if the "bigger problem" is "overpopulation" then why are some states short on dogs to adopt, and importing them from other states to fill the demand? Please tell me what happens to those dogs who are displaced in a state by inported dogs? Are their lives put at risk by rescues who choose to import rather than work to adopt out those dogs in their own areas? Those rescues in areas with a surplus of dogs maybe need to tend to their own problems and work on education and getting low cost spay/neuter clinics set up and working.

    As for rescues making money, I know of one small private rescue who received $40k in tax free donations from just one request for help to their supporters. They care for 30 dogs total. The adoption fee is just a small part of the story in rescue profits.

  38. re: Unknown @ 12:23 PM,

    Which private rescue took in $40k and is turning a profit, as you suggest? I'd be interested to know. I volunteer at a small private rescue with an average dog population of perhaps 30-35 dogs at any given time. Their annual operating expenses are approximately $500,000.

  39. Short on dogs to adopt? Which State is this, pray tell? Displaced dogs? Is that what you call them? You see, to me, those are very adoptable dogs, whom are given just enough chance for adoption as the transported dogs. People have choices. I'm quite sure there are people who aren't familiar with the Southern adoption process, and aren't comfortable with rescuing a dog they've never seen. I know I've dealt with them, and therefore directed them to a local shelter. Some local shelters get TV air time on local TV stations. Some are at local adoption events, right next to a transported dog. Those local shelter dogs can be found right next to the Southern dogs postings on The more lives that can be saved, the better, no? I won't address the issue of attempting to solve the problems of the already overcrowded areas, as I did in my prior post. It is a different way of life in those rural areas, and I will leave it at that. If you think it's the norm for a rescue to receive 40K on a regular basis and that rescues out there are making profits, you are seriously delusional.

  40. Dr.Goldman

    I am the pet owner of my first rescue dog and a professional in the social sciences. Regarding your question "We in Ct and other New England states are not shipping large numbers of dogs elsewhere. Why not?" Please give thought to the factor of cultural norms as related to perception, purpose, value and treatment of animals as a paritial but important factor in consideration of the "why not" in that question.

    I would also like to relate my experience with the adoption of a rescue dog. I'm an old timer so in my years I have the experience of purchasing and bringing into my home/family seven pets, the most recent a rescued purebreed although far from meeting the AKC breed standard confirmation wise. She was rescued from a high kill shelter in the south after serving as a breeding factory for more than half her life expectancy. She was dumpted there with medical difficulties which prevented her from producing more litters and income. She was also malnurished because it doesn't pay to feed a dog that can no longer procreate. Although it would last only until gas chamber day the dog was in a better place because the high kill shelter provided water, regular feeding, shelter from the elements and a kind voice. Rescue came in and saw an animal with love and life in it to give to a deserving family. They took the dog, provided vet care including surgery in addition to spaying, good food, grooming, housebreaking, socialization training and lots of love. We were a heartbroken family up north who searched locally for the kind of dog we wanted with no availability. Then on pet finders we found dogs and lots of them with the breed characterics we were looking for. We got our dog for a bargain of what the pet stores charge and she came healthy and housebroken and with good manners. She was groomed and up to date on all her vet needs. We bonded and love her so much. We can't imagine life without her. We thank rescue every day for bringing her from down south to up north so we could have her.

  41. In answer to LL's question,"Can you explain what measures have been undertaken to reduce the sale of dogs by breeders or pet stores in CT?" I say this:

    The sale of dogs by purebred breeders and pet stores, in terms of animal health, are already covered by CT state law and Dept of Agriculture oversight. Consumers are protected as is public and animal health.

    Pet store sales, which I know are both controversial and hated by many who are participating in this discussion and others in the rescue community, have not been addressed. Such sales remain a lawful commercial activity and the veterinarians of the state are in no position to end that, nor is it certain it should be ended.

    Someone earlier commented they felt I displayed snobbery in discussing the southern origin of many transported dogs. I do not believe, as the son of working class parents and a former resident of the rural south, that there is any truth to that accusation. I have not forgotten where I started in life nor do I treat people differently based on class. Consider that pet store sales of pure bred dogs serves a demand for these dogs from lower income residents. Such dogs cost much less than those from independent, local pure bred breeders. It is widely assumed these dogs come from so called "puppy mills", low quality commercial kennels in other states. These dogs, however, are inspected by a CT licensed veterinarian and the shops themselves are inspected by uniformed Dept of Agriculture animal control officers. There is oversight. If we were to end those sales, what exactly are we saying about who can own what kind of dog? Is it only ethical to own a mixed breed dog, indeed one obtained from southern rescue? Who decides?

    The freedom to choose from where one obtains a dog, and what kind of dog, remains with the citizen, whether they have great means or limited means. It is not clear that the majority of dogs in shelter and in rescue, originated with pet stores or with intentional breeders, professional or amateur.

    It was also stated elsewhere that 62% of CT shelter dogs are bully breeds and are hard to place. Well if that's true, that would seem to be a more urgent local problem to address here in CT than dogs from out of state.

    To look at dogs as a uniform population ("dogs need homes!") ignores the fact that some people want and prefer a particular breed or type and choose where to obtain it. One may not like that, or regard it as frivolous or unfair, but the fact remains some people desire a purebred with a certain set of characteristics. That also includes many public safety and homeland security agencies who prefer an exacting set of physical and behavioral traits.

    The rescue community focuses on all dogs in need without discrimination and works to get each a home. That is a wonderful thing to do. It does not follow that those of us involved in rescue (aha, so now you know) must also despise and disparage those involved in other avenues of dog accession.

  42. I am with the other comments in that WHY isn't something being done to STOP all puppy mills and backyard breeders? Read about all the people who have bought puppies from pet stores - which come from puppy mills and BYB and how many have serious illnesses and many times die. Where is the humanity in this? A well respected breeder will NOT put her/his dogs in a pet store to be sold.
    "Consider that pet store sales of pure bred dogs serves a demand for these dogs from lower income residents. Such dogs cost much less than those from independent, local pure bred breeders" This I totally disagree with - the prices of puppies in pet shops are more expensive than purchasing from a reputable breeder. Not to mention to issues of these often times, unhealthy, unsocialized dogs.
    And obviously - now the rescues of CT will have to raise their adoption fees to cover CT's "charges". And I think you will find - most rescues have already vetting, spayed/neutered the pets BEFORE they are adopted.
    I have two ADOPTED Cocker Spaniels - both are healthy 8 year olds. As I have next to no history - one I do believe came from a puppy mill out of CT - he has some health issues. A respectable breeder will NOT breed if it is known that either parent is a carrier of bad genes. I.E. hip dysplacia, etc..
    Rescues spend thousands of dollars each year - vetting dogs and some with very serious issues. My heart goes out to them - as the "system" is working against them.

  43. The question that really needs to be answered is what is the origin of each dog in shelter, here and elsewhere. How many are surrendered after pet store sales, breeder sales, commercial breeding kennel (puppy mill) sales or surrenders (yes some puppy mills are selling direct to shelters for eventual transport north!!!) etc. If the origins can be determined, then how to slow each form of production can also be determined. Rescue can continue but we should also be advocating for production control at its sources. For the sake of dogs, a mild shortage will result in maximal animal welfare.

  44. I don't think it's fair to pile on Ol Doc, or to question his motives or ethics. I think we can all agree that we don't want dogs to be euthanized unnecessarily, nor do we want a mass of stray dogs. I think we can also agree that we don't want people to adopt sick dogs unless they are fully aware of the condition and cost of treatment. I'm not a fan of big government, and I'm also not in favor of putting ethical rescues out of business. The problem of animal overpopulation is complex, and will not be solved by any debate here, nor will it be solved by personal attacks on either side of the issue. I'm not quite sure if CT has done anything legally to promote spaying/neutering, or if it's just part of our culture here (not that we couldn't improve in that area).

  45. This is pretty much like saying people in third world countries should starve even though we have a surplus here in America we could donate. When the World Trade Center was hit by terrorists should we have said "that is New York's problem, dont involve all of the other states!". Last time I checked we were called the "UNITED" States of America. Not pulling from these states will only result in the killing of thousands more dogs a day. It will not change the way they view animals. Bravo, for someone who cares for animals I am ashamed for you.

  46. Ol' Doc said: "In answer to LL's question,"Can you explain what measures have been undertaken to reduce the sale of dogs by breeders or pet stores in CT?" I say this: . . .Pet store sales . . . have not been addressed."

    TRANSLATION: "After suggesting that adopters of out-of-state dogs act immorally in allowing local shelter dogs to perish, neither I nor my industry association has done a single thing to reduce or eliminate the commercial purchase of animals. Saving a TX or AL dog at the expense of a CT dog = bad. Buying an entirely new animal and allowing both the TX *and* the CT dog to perish = 'who are we to judge?'"

    - LL

  47. Ol' Doc said: "Such [pet store] sales remain a lawful commercial activity and the veterinarians of the state are in no position to end that." You are begging the question. Until the enactment of this bill, it was lawful to adopt an out-of-state dog without having to pay Dr. Goldman for a superfluous examination performed previously by an out-of-state vet. Now, by legislative fiat, it is unlawful. Your industry association instead could have agitated for a bill making the "lawful commercial activity" of puppy sales UNlawful without the payment of, say, a $250 surcharge, the proceeds to be used to fund local shelters. Such a measure could have improved their quality of of local shelter dogs, and, by discouraging commercial purchases, improved the adoption rate of shelter dogs. You championed the former law rather than the latter. And, contrary to your assertion, "the veterinarians of the state" were every bit as much in a position to lobby for the latter law as they were for the former.

  48. It is not illegal to adopt or to rescue dogs.
    The CT Dept of Agriculture will oversee the process when out of state actors import. The need for this was brought to our attention by clients who adopted ill pets and with no recourse. Adopting verses purchasing is not a zero sum game. We have no right to insist that all people must own mixed breed adopted dogs. In our federalist republic, solving intra-state problems must occur one state at a time. National defense is an inter-state and extra-national function and doesn't apply. People have a right to choose what dog they will buy and from where. The choice is not made the same way for everyone nor is it based on the same factors for everyone. Some value that they helped a needy dog, others chose a breed for conformation, ability or behavior. That freedom will continue. Rescue will continue. Those looking to solve the problem focus on causes, rather than just mitigating results. Rescue focuses on mitigating results. Both approaches have value. Both will continue.

  49. Ol' Doc said: "The sale of dogs by purebred breeders and pet stores, in terms of animal health, are already covered by CT state law and Dept of Agriculture oversight. Consumers are protected as is public and animal health."

    And yet, wouldn't you agree, it is an all-too-frequent occurrence for pet store animals with undisclosed illnesses to be sold and for such animals to languish in substandard, inhumane store conditions? Just two months ago, the rescue for which I volunteer took in a batch of pets dumped by a CT pet store, one of which dogs apparently had been kept in a too-small cage and now has deformed legs. Thank God for the vigilance of CT vets and animal control officers, so unlike their unsavory counterparts in other states who, as you surmise, will issue fraudulent health certificates.

    But, you will say, these are unfortunate exceptions to the rule of strong regulatory oversight, bad apples, etc. Which gets to the nub of of your other rationale for the law -- the purported benefit to consumers and animal health. Based on my personal (albeit limited) experience with transport rescues, they are passionately committed to the health of their animals, promptly seek competent and thorough veterinary care for the animals they take in, and are scrupulous about full disclosure to potential adopters. Contrary to your disgraceful, and ludicrous, generalization elsewhere that this is a profit-making "industry," they frequently turn away potential adopters for any number of reasons, including the avoidance of potential post-adoption dissatisfaction.

    So who, exactly, are these unscrupulous rescues foisting sick animals on the unsuspecting public, and do they constitute anything but an insubstantial minority of the broader rescue community now being unfairly burdened by this new law?

    Having read all of your posts herein, on other websites, and your statement to the CT legislature, you have failed completely to support your assertion with anything but vague, unquantified, anecdotal claims of client complaints about undisclosed health problems. What is the incidence of these nondisclosures and the magnitude of the attendant veterinary expense relative to that in commercial urchases or, indeed, shelter rescues? If the answer is that the out-of-state rescue, in its unregulated state, is no worse or superior to these other, regulated modalities, then there is utterly no need for this law. If you have not bothered even to attempt any such analysis in a manner befitting medical professionals, then -- at a minimum -- your protestation that this law actually reduces, rather than increases, your profits rings hollow.

    You have intimated that you are involved in animal rescue, so I am inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt. I am struggling, however, to ascribe your (and CT vets') support for this law to merely some combination of a parochial desire to benefit local shelter dogs at the expense of dogs elsewhere; an irrational overreaction to a few "bad apples" in the rescue community; and/or staggeringly-misplaced priorities in pursuing rescue groups rather than commercial puppy sales. But, really, the whole thing stinks of rent-seeking.

    - LL

  50. Ol' Doc said: "It is not illegal to adopt or to rescue dogs."

    Ahem. I never said the bill makes rescue illegal. I said it makes it illegal to rescue a dog without paying CT vets for superfluous medical services.

    "Adopting verses purchasing is not a zero sum game."

    As far as zero-sum games go, where would you rank adoption versus purchase as compared to CT-sourced versus out-of-state-sourced adoptions?

    "In our federalist republic, solving intra-state problems must occur one state at a time. National defense is an inter-state and extra-national function and doesn't apply. People have a right to choose what dog they will buy and from where. The choice is not made the same way for everyone nor is it based on the same factors for everyone. Some value that they helped a needy dog, others chose a breed for conformation, ability or behavior. That freedom will continue. . . ."

    If you are now trying to justify this enlargement of CT regulatory power on the basis of limited-government principles, I'd say my work here is done.

    - LL

  51. I guess I'm still at a loss as to what the big deal is here. Is it the added cost for the rescues? Like I said before, pass the cost on to the adopter. If the extra $200 or so is too much for the adopter to afford then they should not be getting a dog to begin with. Dogs are expensive to care for and if you can't afford an extra $200 to adopt a dog, how can you afford to care for the dog when it does get sick or injured which virtually ALL dogs do.
    Is it the perception that now thousands of more dogs will die in the south because CT residents won't be able to adopt them? CT residents can still adopt them, there is just a little more red tape to cut through now.
    Is it the perception that now potential adopters will turn to pet stores and breeders instead? If cost is preventing them from adopting how will they afford to get a pet store or breeder dog?
    Is it the perception that this bill was pushed through to increase profits for vets, breeders, and pet stores? Why not adopt a CT dog? Aren't their lives worth anything? Isn't rescue about saving dogs lives?

    Maybe we could stop all of the complaining, finger pointing, blame gaming, and direct attacks and work together to find some (simple) solutions to work with this bill. If CT rescue goes away it will not be because of this bill, it will be because everyone got discouraged and gave up the fight.

  52. M - Yes, it IS the added cost and yes, it is the added red tape (more time and energy taking these dogs to and from the vets, etc. I might even be able to somewhat stomach this, if this Bill applied to ALL dogs coming over state lines, i.e., puppymills/petstores and breeders.

  53. BrendaK - Since you say it is the cost, why not then pass that on to the adopter?
    I can understand the red tape and the time / energy needed to overcome that, but with a little work it should soon become part of the normal routine.
    I agree that this bill makes it more difficult and time consuming to do the resue work, but it doesn't make it impossible. Sure, things were easier before and ultimately repeal would work best for your situation, but in the mean time we just need to deal with it as part of life.

  54. Also, just as an FYI: Pet shops, regardless of where their dogs come from, are required by law to have a vet check done prior to offering the dog for sale, as well as a vet check every 15 days until the dog is sold. So, as far as the vet aspect of this bill is concerned, the existing CT laws are actually stricter for pet shops.
    (CONN. GEN. STAT. § 22-344b)

  55. I am a Manager of a Pet Supply Store that does not sell animals. We have tried to put together events that include local shelters, but we get no response from local shelters or we are told there are not enough local dogs to bring to the event. We extended an invitation to a Southern rescue group and have had several successful events. They have found forever homes for over 150 dogs!! These dogs will not end up in shelters because they will take the dog back, no questions asked, anytime for the rest of their lives. They are also working on legislation and local laws, but have had little success. If Connecticut can help another state we should. I agree that people should try to rescue locally, but there is so little available and the majority of local shelter animals are bully breeds that need a special type of owner to handle. And, our local shelter is currently quarantined because of disease from CT dogs.

  56. KT- I applaud you! I am a foster parent for labs4rescue. I have fostered over 50 dogs in a year and half. I live in the south. I agree with you! Stop the breeding not the rescues!Charge the breeders these fees for every pup they sell or some kind of fee for breeding. Why hurt people and rescue groups that are only trying to save unwanted pets. I have seen so many beautiful dogs coming through our program. We take very good care of these dogs. How can the south help with this?

  57. Animal Control point of view:
    This is a good law that needed to be brought into action. Hopefully this will make the not so reputable rescues accountable for their transports. If you are a reputable rescue than you shouldn't have a problem with this law. If you are spending money (someone mentioned $300) on vaccines, spay/neutering, HTW, etc., then what is the big deal? You are taking them to the vet either way. Also, I agree $100 is a lot for an office visit. Around here the average is about $60. Are you getting more than an exam for this $100?

    I strongly agree with the point that we can't just remove the problem from the southern states. There needs to be stricter laws, enforcement of these laws, and education. This is how a difference will be made.

    I would strongly encourage rescues (or anyone for that matter who adopts or sells dogs) to microchip. Someone said that, "These dogs will not end up in shelters because they will take the dog back, no questions asked, anytime for the rest of their lives." This is great, but if the dog ends up at a municipal shelter, how do we know which rescue to return the dog to? We have had a few dogs in our pound over the last year, that were traced back to being dogs brought up from the south. So, if these dogs are ending up in our local shelters and sometimes euthanized, it becomes a big vicious circle. I realize microchips can sometimes only be traced so far, but at least they can be traced back to who purchased the chips.

    We have been very fortunate to have had rescues take some dogs from us. I encourage more rescues to look at what is in your local shelter before going out of state. We have had a very successful adoption rate, but once in awhile we get a few that are not quite ready to be adopted and just need some extra attention. The rescues that are willing to take these dogs for us, are saving us from having to euthanize. We DO NOT like to euthanize dogs, but sometimes we get dogs that are just not safe to adopt out. My personal opinion is that a good breeder/rescue/shelter should be willing to take a dog back that they have adopted out. It is the responsible thing to do.

  58. @ACO - this law is not going to help with anything. For those of us who dedicate our lives to saving dogs, adding $200 to the cost is going to kill rescue. No one is going to spend $600+ for a rescue dog. Do you honestly think that you would be able to adopt dogs from your shelter if the cost was $600 for an adopter? Your costs are subsidized by the government, ours are not. We are already strapped for cash and this makes it much worse. Had Connecticut asked for input, we could have told them what needed to happen. We loathe irresponsible rescues and we work harder than you can imagine to root them out, but this law kills the good rescues while doing nothing to stop the bad ones.

  59. This comment has been removed by the author.

  60. I just want to say this new law is stupid. We adopted a dog from Georgia and he was transported here to ct. We checked put every (and I mean every) shelter in Ct but were shot down on adopting a dog. To Ol' Doc have you been to a shelter here recently the dogs are mostly all pitbulls or some bully mix and we were told over and over that they do not adopt them out to families with children. Long story short are dog is a southerner and he came up with a clean bill of healtg and his papers from the vet. He is a pitbull mix and is excellent with my kids so I think before they start changing rules and passing new laws about dogs coming up here they should do something about making it a little easier adopting a dog here and pet store's selling sick dogs with a refund policy. It just really makes me sick.

  61. A couple more things what happens if someone from out of state wants to adopt a dog here do the same rules apply. For all the rescues out there I am gratefull for what you do because we wouldn't have our wonderful dog today if it wasn't for the angels that saved our baby and got him on a transport.

  62. Try this for a hypothesis. Many (but admittedly not all) of the dogs in need are the unwanted product of animal agriculture. Because of its climate, the north-eastern United States must source a lot of its animal agriculture requirements from outside the region. In so doing, they have simultaneously quietly exported a good portion of their potential unwanted dog population. It's a neat shell game which allows them to point the finger smugly at other states. Ethically, this is akin to companies in the developed world that locate toxic industries (such as pesticide factories, for example) in third world countries and turn a blind eye when there is a disaster. Yes, ideally the problem of unwanted dogs should be solved at its source, but those who are surreptitiously contributing to the problem are morally bound to help with the cleanup.

  63. Some followup to a few commentators: 1. The new law is not about the inconvenience to those who "dedicate their lives" to helping dogs without bias, it's about protecting Connecticut pet owners from pet illness, veterinary expense, guilt and sadness that comes with unregulated rescue. There is no right to rescue, but there are responsibilities associated with involvement. Now those responsibilities are not optional but required. One such duty is not doing harm.

    2. The climate and relative absence of animal agriculture in CT has absolutely nothing to do with interstate dog transport or the alleged absence of unwanted dogs. Dogs are not a food animal. If we do better, its because of laws, education and funded animal control officers throughout our state who care.

    To the exporting states and their citizens, I say "time to get busy." Rescue destination states are not going to accept the product of your citizens' irresponsibility without conditions any longer.
    The creation of political will in states with excess dog production is a hoped for byproduct of our laws. Should that not occur, it will remain that rescuers importing into Connecticut are now required to be responsible for illnesses their dogs may have. You will also be unable to hold outdoor events on public property, or indoor events in weekend rented storefronts, without express permission from the Department of Agriculture and the zoning enforcement officer of the jurisdiction in which you plan to operate.

    The new regulatory scheme was brought about precisely because of certain rescues that were apparently focused on profiteering, rather than dogs in need and the good of the families adopting them.

    There is one organization in particular with a CT home base, that holds 4 to 6 times yearly storefront adoption events that include a Penske truck load of dogs brought up overnight from a southern state. Large chain pet stores partner with such organizations because they know that high margin items like leashes, collars, food and dog beds get sold when rescue dogs are available nearby. This one organization has been responsible for many sick dogs arriving here. Dogs arriving sick or becoming sick after adoption, wait out the weekend in the truck out back. I have sen this disgusting display of self interest personally.

    Only a regulatory scheme that will govern all importers can stop this person and others that may be like him, from the ongoing cruelty and profiteering that occurs.

    For those who care about animals, a little oversight should be welcome, even if it inconveniences some. Its not about the people, people!

  64. Dr G,

    I have not agreed with you much to date, but have to say we share the same feelings regarding that particular organization and their "adoption" events. I know how long it takes to find one dog the right home and have no idea how they can place so many in a 3 day weekend, without even knowing anything about the dog's personality.

    However, is it fair or right or necessary to target all rescues with new rules that are so over the top that hardly anyone would be able to afford or follow, because of one bad organization? Why not shut this organization down? Surely there are laws in place against animal cruelty that they could have been charged with.

    Reputable rescues cringe when they see events like this being advertised as it is clearly not responsible rescue. Couldn't the law have been drafted so that it shakes out groups like these but still allows responsible rescues to rescue without over zealous vetting requirements? I think we could have found a way to do so if we all worked together, which is all that we are asking.

    It is not about inconvenience, it is also a huge financial burden to those who are in it for the right reasons. That is the true danger to shutting many of us down - we will no longer be able to afford it.

    I also agree that this is not about people and it should be about the animals. Under that philosophy, please try to take a step back and realize how this bill is currently written will hurt them and work with us not against us to put a law in place that will achieve every ones common goal - to rescue and place dogs responsibly.

  65. Dear RMGs,

    Thank you for your thoughtful and reasoned reply. Do understand I was by no means the sole promoter of rescue regulation nor even the primary one. It was a group effort and CT Votes for Animals, a group of groups that includes CT rescue organizations, played as large a role if not larger as CVMA, in drafting the language. The most pro-animal rights legislator in the CGA was in favor of this legislation and it passed 143-2 in the House and unanimously in the Senate. Thus this was no bit of quick work on anyone's part. The deciding factor on its need was the sheer number of ill animals from multiple sources literally swamping our state from events, trailers, trucks and private car shuttles. The public was complaining to their veterinarians constantly. Literally dozens of veterinarians reported cases and perhaps a hundred instances of ill rescue animals were documented.

    I know I will not convince you otherwise at this time, but I think most rescues will find that the registration process and the single post-arrival examination required prior to transfer to a new owner will not be that burdensome. Now if a rescue operates by importing animals and placing them in foster homes with no permanent owner already on the horizon, then that process will be more burdensome because of the need for repeat examinations. That said, if there are no homes ready and waiting, perhaps its best that animal or animals do their waiting at their origin, than here. After all the dogs are not a commodity for which a back up supply should be kept in readiness. By finding homes before transporting the dogs, the rescue organization can avoid the expense of an exam every two weeks. That may seem burdensome, but it will ensure that most animals coming here are healthy and already have a home lined up for them, before they are ever put on a motor vehicle for transport. To your point that this is a huge financial burden for those that are in it for the right reasons, I have said before and say again, rescue is not about keeping good people involved or free of burdens. Its about ensuring animal health on both ends of the process.

    There is no fair way to distinguish good rescues from bad informally and on an ad hoc basis. The time for regulation had come precisely because of the magnitude of what has been going on. Some estimate 500 dogs a weekend are arriving here, perhaps more. There is no ill will or intention to stop importation, but there is an intention to create a uniform responsibility. Those unwilling to assume that responsibility will indeed need to step back.


    Dr G

  66. It is unfortunate to see dogs arriving here from the south and adopted out so quickly. Do the people that are adopting really know what the dog's personality is like? Does anyone? Some of these dogs are relinquished to local shelters within a year, or worse dumped because of problems that came about after they got the dog into a home environment. Then they become CT's problem. If shelters are able to work with the dogs and adopt them out, that's great, but a lot municipal shelters are unwilling to do this. If the problem is really bad, they can't have the liability of adopting the dog out and it's euthanized. Unfortunately this is not always the Shelter workers decision; it is someone higher up watching the pennies. It is great to see rescues take dogs into foster homes and take dogs back if they aren't working out. I would consider these rescues responsible.

    Maybe this is a good time for rescues to come together. Combine your efforts, hold fundraisers, and raise money to help offset the additional costs. Try networking to get more donations. Make a name for yourselves in the community. The people that can't take more dogs into their households are willing to donate food, treats, money, etc.

    Just a quick side note in regards to adoption processes. I can't speak for all facilities, but we do have an adoption process that we follow to ensure that these animals are going to responsible homes. We check vet references, and any history with the animal control department in the town which you reside in. After that, we take the first best application. So, yes it can be a long frustrating process looking for a dog. I know there are some facilities that are stricter than others in the adoption process. So, please check around when looking to adopt.

  67. Dr G,

    You state that some estimate 500 or more dogs are arriving in CT each weekend, but there is only a hundred documented cases of ill animals reported? I guess that speaks volumes to the fact that many of us are already ensuring animal health on both ends of the process.

    Perhaps it passed so easily because it was presented as a one sided argument. There are two sides to every story and the voice of responsible rescue should have been heard.

    There is a need for foster homes as some potential adopters want to meet a dog before making the commitment to adopt, which is reasonable. A dog in a foster home becomes a loved part of the family. I don't believe that any of us consider them to be a commodity to have on hand. I also don't believe it would it be a good idea to rush them out the door so we don't have to vet them again either.

    Not trying to sound like a martyr as this is what we signed up for, but we already have enough day to day "burdens" to try overcome as it is. Now in addition to the extra financial burden of the vetting and trying pass that cost along to the adopters, we also have a very tight time frame to get the dog vetted initially upon arrival. What is the significance of 48 hours? If a dog arrives Sat at 10am, can you advise how you would get it vetted by 10am Monday with losing Sunday? You mention that there was no ill will or intention to stop importation but the way the bill is currently worded seems to state otherwise. Yes, no one is saying we can't do it, but if you make it virtually impossible to comply it is pretty much the same thing.

    Just trying to understand.........


  68. I appreciate your calmness and lack of personal attack in making your points. I am just one voice in this and by no means the only person responsible for this new approach. I am willing to discuss the matter with anyone willing to do so calmly.

    You should know that I have been subject to a great deal of vitriol because of this law, despite the fact that it was worked out in cooperation with the largest CT animal rights PAC and the most pro animal rights legislator in the CGA. Today, we had a very, very angry person appear in my professional office, apparently to debate this point with me further. My staff was genuinely alarmed by the behavior of this person who fortunately left without incident. We hope no such further visits will be forthcoming.

    I do appreciate the opportunity to discuss, debate and peacefully argue such matters with reasonable folks such as yourself. We will have to see what transpires before passing judgment on something that has not been tried before. The law does infringe on the unrestrained freedom to import dogs, there is no question. The point in fact is to control the mass importations leading to 100 dog storefront sales over weekends and 75 to 100 dog commuter lot trailer disgorgements. These latter events typically include multiple rescue brokers who share only the transporter. Nevertheless, the practical result is 75 or more animals crammed in a trailer and delivered in a parking lot. As we know there are entire businesses that have been created hauling these dogs interstate. The process does seem much more like a business now, than a no - profit, emotion based good deed as it was started and intended. Its so big now, that control really is needed. I am sorry that so many are so upset by how that control was created.

  69. Dr Goldman writes, in part:

    "The climate and relative absence of animal agriculture in CT has absolutely nothing to do with interstate dog transport or the alleged absence of unwanted dogs. Dogs are not a food animal. If we do better, its because of laws, education and funded animal control officers throughout our state who care."

    What a facile comment. The point I was clearly making is herding and livestock guarding dogs accompany livestock production and a lot of uncontrolled dog breeding goes on associated with livestock enterprises because these animals are often kept entire and under fairly loose human supervision. This is the kind of scientifically testable hypothesis an epidemiologist might make. Yours is what? Connecticut residents are morally superior?

  70. Lest anyone question Dr. Goldman's opinion of out-of-state rescue organizations, here is how his upcoming presentation at this year’s NAIA National Conference is described:

    "[Dr. Goldman] presents a veterinarian's unique perspective on the Connecticut VMA's efforts to protect its clients and state from the ongoing fraud and unethical conduct of the rescue trade and expose the way exporting states, citizens, rescues, and animal control officers turn a blind eye to their overpopulation problems, allowing northward rescue to carry the load."

    While Dr. Goldman may find fraud and unethical conduct, my years working in the “rescue trade” have uncovered only passionate people willing to spend a tremendous amount of time and money finding safe, loving homes for animals in desperate need.

    - Mark

  71. How can it be stated that an exam 48 hours from the time of arrival will limit sick dogs? Most common diseases coming from the south such as kennel cough and parvo can harbor in their systems for 7-14 days before showing symptoms! No one, including veterinarians, can predict the future. Dogs may be quarantined prior to being put on transport but when traveling up here, on even the safest transports, kennel cough can be passed around. Requiring a mandatory quarantine of 14 days once in CT, reasonable. But paying for an unneeded exam is only a money making scheme that serves no purpose!

    And someone said it right in the beginning. Everyone wants to "rescue" a dog. But they wont adopt from CT because, understandably, they are all bully breeds. So they adopt from a rescue with southern dogs and sign a contract that they accept the dog 'as is'. God forbid the dog come down with something as simple as kennel cough because then here come the allegations and complaints. Keep your end of the bargain.

  72. Dear Doc
    Why are you the only vet posting here ?

    Do you really believe this law will protect
    the people of CT ?

    What's to stop the CT people from driving to Bostons airport to pick up their dogs from the south
    Will there be doggie police at the state lines checking each car with a dog for travel papers ?

    After seeing this it looks like Just an additional Tax revenue for the state and a Big Wind fall of additional income for the vets of CT

  73. The government of this once great state gave up a long time ago caring about its citizen's health and welfare. This is all about lobbying by those that benefit from it (vets, pet shops, etc.). More onerous regulation, more red tape.

  74. Google Cocker Spaniel rescue organizations for the state of CT


    There are none and with the new law no one could afford to open one if fosters have to be seen every 90 days that would add $240 to $400 of cost per year to an adoptable dog

    So what does a person who wants a Cocker do ?
    Well there a grand total of 2 to chose from at the Humane Society the neighboring states have
    Cocker Rescue groups But your Rescue Cocker will now cost you More making a back yard breeder dog look much more attractive

  75. I think we can find a better balance than this plan, but a plan of some sort should be considered.

    1 - Everyone from CT is not a snob. Let's start there. That really ticks me off to be lumped into the "all CT people are snobs category." Many are; I'm not. Please don't generalize.

    In my opinion, the import of animals isn't the problem. The import of unchecked diseases is, however. Also, the number of pets euthanized in CT every year, is a huge problem.

    2 - To the commenter (TheIncredibleWonderfulTucker) who said that CT shelters leave a lot to be desired: Thanks a bunch. We work on a shoestring budget - and that shoestring is shredded - in one of the most expensive areas of the country. Few vets ever cut us a break and we make that dollar stretch as far as possible. You'd be impressed, really.

    Our shelters might be "lacking," but do you realize that CT euthanizes nearly 4,000 adoptable pets every year because they go unclaimed, have stayed too long at a shelter, or have been bumped by - you got it - imported animals who are more "desirable" because they're not Big Black Dogs or pit bulls? Because we're not Big Animal Shelter on Long Island, with multi-million dollar budgets and puppies overflowing everywhere doesn't mean our pets aren't beautiful and adoptable, and our cause isn't worthy. (By the way, the above-mentioned organization essentially has a 30-day return policy. Guess who takes in their dogs if an adopter decides on Day 31 that they no longer want or can care for that dog? Our contract states that we'll take our dogs back whenever, even 10 years down the road, if you can no longer care for them.)

    3 - There has to be a way to properly quarantine imported animals and ensure health WITHOUT sky-high fees. The point is to find homes for these gorgeous creatures, not put up roadblocks all along the way. I volunteer at a shelter in CT where we ended up with Parvo and URTIs because we "rescued a rescue" when their transport event wasn't as successful as planned. NO ONE wants to face Parvo in their shelter, ever. If these animals were properly quarantined prior to transport, as we had been assured, we wouldn't have had to fight for the lives of six little puppies, losing three.

    4 - I would much rather see CT put its efforts behind closing pet shops and helping toward stopping the misery wrought by puppy mills. THAT would be time and money well spent. Those dogs are sickly and sad, and come from deplorable conditions. We've got the Lemon Law, but that's not nearly enough; it's just a start. It's almost an "out" for pet shops in our area rather than a penalty in an effort of keeping dogs healthy.

    FOR THE RECORD - one of my guys is from Georgia, and I wouldn't trade him for the world. So don't even go there with me. All animals are worth saving, I don't care if they've wandered into my backyard or they've been shipped into my state. We just need balance.

  76. @ TERRY!! We happen to have a beautiful Cocker Spaniel, purebred, in our shelter. Interested????

  77. I absolutely guarantee you that this law will NOT stop the unscrupulous rescues that bring dogs in by the truckload. Do you think laws against marijuana have stopped people from transporting and buying it? There is always an underground market for anything and this will not put an end to sick dogs being brought into CT. And what about the family that wants a lab mix or a golden retriever mix and there aren't any in the shelters in CT? A recent search on Petfinder showed 60% of available dogs were bully breeds. Breeders and puppy mills will make a killing and shelters in the south will do more killing. I think this is absolutely assinine. And to say that a family should be willing to pay an adoption fee of over $600 a dog is outrageous, again back yard breeders will undercut the adoption fees and make a killing. Talk about sick animals, so many puppies bought from puppy stores and mills are living in filth and they don't come with a health certificate. Start there if you really want to legislate something. There is NO profit in rescue. I volunteer for one and we scrape by.

  78. This is why it is so important to raise public awareness about the scruples of people and institutions like this. They have probably used the DOA of Connecticut and the USDA to create this guide lines and bring them into law to protect their own interest. We are having a as-similar problem here in Michigan. JUST DO NOT BUY FROM PUPPY MILLS OR BUY DOGS ONLINE.

  79. Amen, Tim!

    @Streaming Thinker: We also have a Lab mix, a pure lab puppy, a yellow lab... Our shelter is overflowing with dogs, but not all of them get on to Petfinder because we rely on volunteers to help post there as they can. It's not the best arrangement, but that's the way it is.

    There's no doubt that we have a huge number of bullies in our system. But I can tell you that, our shelter at least, wouldn't take them in if they weren't adoptable mushballs. Bullies aren't for everyone, but I've seen ultra-calm pit bulls vs. off the wall Labs. So people should be meeting and evaluating each dog individually.

    I would encourage people to visit the websites of specific shelters and/or visit the shelter itself for the most accurate listing of dogs in their care.

  80. Bully breeds can be wonderful, I own one myself (from the hartford pound *eh-hem*) but they are certainly not for everyone. I also think that a stricter policy on holding dogs once they get here should be enforced instead of these ridiculous requirements. I must disagree, however, with people visiting shelters for adoptable dogs. The reason petfinder is so successful is because people can go online, search for dogs in the area and DO RESEARCH! Going to a shelter and seeing a cute puppy or beautiful dog only leads to impulse decisions on adopting and then returning it or dumping it elsewhere when they realize it hasnt worked out. I work for a southern only pulling rescue in the area. We work our butts off to save these dogs and make sure they are going to knowledgeable, responsible families. Home visits, applications, lifetime return requirement etc. Its such a shame that if this bill is passed, it will be so much more work that it will be impossible. As it is I work full time, have a family and end up staying up all hours of the night trying to save these dogs.

  81. What some of you are ignoring or choosing to ignore, is that the need for the regulations came about because anyone can and does do interstate rescue and "anyone" is not being adequately responsible to their customers, the Connecticut pet adopting citizen. The primary concern here is about the pet owners, their previously owned pets and the pets sickened during the transports. The primary concern is not about the costs or inconvenience to those who do interstate rescue nor is it about the merits or lack of merits of in-state purebred breeders or pet stores who buy purebred dogs from out of state, larger scale purebred breeders. Each of these latter entities has its own special set of CT regulations and the CT public has recourse when wronged by them. The same could not be said of the interstate rescue process, until now. Why should the public rely on the word of the "good" rescuers, when the good cannot be easily distinguished from the bad by the lay public, until something bad happens?

    Many of you are talking about matters unrelated to the primary issue, which is sick pets arriving here under the identity of rescue. Whether bad rescues, however few there may be, now go underground is of no concern. Eventually their behavior will trip them up, when a complaint occurs. For the majority of "good" rescues following the rules is likely to be little different than your past practices, as you already are doing what's right, as some of you have explained in detail here.

    The complaint about the cost of repeated veterinary examinations is an interesting one, as most uninvolved people would not be aware that large numbers of animals are arriving here, without previously identified new homes, to be "warehoused" until homes are later found. Such dogs, in apparently in considerable numbers are stored in multiple foster homes awaiting final placements. No one can say for sure how many there are in foster at any given time. The regulations will make that number clear.

    The question should also be asked, "is that right?" Should we be adding to the numbers of unowned animals waiting in foster homes, while our own brick and mortar shelters and pounds are full, including at least 48% non-bully breed dogs?

    What is the hurry to bring dogs here from the shelters emptying their cages so often in the exporting states? Why are we shifting the excess numbers here with such zeal? Why not, as a state, insist that origin states and their citizens deal with their problem more fundamentally, at the sources of production: repeated, unregulated casual litter creation?

    The answer of course has to do with emotion and grief. We are moved by the plight of these dogs and as well, grieve for those euthanized nearer their places of birth because they had no waiting home. The question remains, is massive interstate rescue the best long term solution to that problem, the problem of uncontrolled and un-penalized production leading to euthanasia of healthy young animals on a biblical scale? I think we can agree this latter horror must be pursued and solved in our lifetimes.

  82. @M.S. - I agree that Petfinder is an excellent tool for finding a dog!! My point is that most of our shelters are staffed by volunteers with limited time. I just want people to know that not all of our pets are listed quickly on Petfinder, so you might be missing out on a great dog because a volunteer either hasn't had the time to update our PF listings, or they've simply overlooked a pet and haven't posted them by mistake. I'm not dissing PF, I'm just saying that individual shelter listings might not always be up-to-date, and a visit to an org's website is a good idea.

    And I couldn't disagree with you more about a visit to a shelter. We do NOT allow for "impulse adoptions."

    On our end, WE do extensive research and interviews to make sure our pets go to good homes. We require that all members of the family come in and interact with the dog or puppy - can you do that at a massive adoption event with 250, 300, 350 animals to be placed? Our application is three pages long and it helps us match a dog's personality to an individual/family's lifestyle. We ask for references, including a vet reference; the vet reference gives us an insight into the vet care they've provided to previous pets; personal references can be a hoot ("Mary is doing what? Adopting a dog? She hates dog hair in the house, I can't imagine her letting a dog in..." - unbelievable, but this was an actual conversation with a reference).

    You don't walk out with a dog the day you come in to adopt. It's a process intended to keep the pets safe and in a forever home.

    How can an organization bringing in 300 dogs over a weekend possibly be placing these pets into good, loving, and SAFE homes? CT SPCA brings in animals by the hundreds. They get local news coverage and everyone thinks it's a great way to spend a weekend, milling about with 300+ dogs to be adopted. There isn't time to properly vet the applicants or see that a good interaction has occurred between the pet and family/individual - those dogs go home because people pay the fee and that's it.

    What if these people have other dogs at home? Has there been a proper introduction, or are they sending a new dog into a home where it won't be accepted by the current pets? Now what do they do with the new dog? They dump it at a pound or shelter, like ours, because the adopt-a-thon's organizers DON'T take their animals back.

    Massive adopt-a-thons are a great way to get adoption numbers up, but they're not a great way to place animals safely and forever.

    I am NOT against transport at all!!!!!!! I have a dog who was transported into CT. I also have a bully, and three other rescues, one from MA.

    I AM against massive adoption events that aren't done with proper care and with the animals in mind. I think smaller transports - 25-30 animals at a time - can give us some of the guarantees that these animals are safe, healthy, and are properly placed.

  83. Bravo to Pibble for a well reasoned and calm discussion of what is going on now and why these regulations must now exist. To all involved in rescue, please keep up the good work and wait and see instead of reacting now based on what you think is going to happen. Everyone wants what's best for the animals. I want what's best for the animals, including those as yet unborn. Our state laws are just a small piece of how we will get there.

  84. I have worked with a Greyhound Group for 7 yrs first as a foster family and then as an adopter and business person. I help Greyhound and Galgo groups around the US and the world with monetary and merchandise donations. There are NO Greyhounds to adopt in CT unless you go through a reputable group. We work tirelessly trying to raise funds to provide for these pups...and in this economy it's been rough. All medical needs are taken care of by our group and NO animal is placed without a home visit weeks prior to placement. Education and support is ongoing to each family through an adoption rep. Also we do not bring in pups unless we have available foster homes. I would like Doc to address this issue please as many tracks continue to close across the country and WE ALL KNOW THE HISTORY HERE.....

  85. Ol' Doc says: "yes some puppy mills are selling direct to shelters for eventual transport north"

    Really? Shelters have that much money? Can you tell us which shelters are doing this? Even better, you seem to know that there are puppy mills doing this; have you reported them to the proper authorities for actually being puppy mills (which are becoming illegal in many places)?

    It seems as though CT already had statutes covering interstate transport of animals. What has been lacking is enforcement.

    If an animal has a valid health certificate, yet is obviously ill, then it is the responsibility of the State of Connecticut to pursue the individual veterinarian, not the rescue agency.

  86. Why are rescue groups only being held to this new "standard" Pet Stores are also transporting dogs into your state as well as breeders.. so why arent they being required to do so as well?


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