July 14, 2011
VIA FACSIMILE (860) 524-7395
Governor Dannel Malloy
210 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT 06106
Re: HB 5368
Dear Gov. Malloy:
As you are doubtless aware, HB 5368 is awaiting your signature. This bill has raised great concern among the responsible dog rescue groups that operate in Connecticut and as a result, your office has been the recipient of many calls from rescues, adopters and dog lovers asking you to veto the bill. The Federation of Responsible Rescues works to promote the ethical rescue of animals in need by setting minimum standards of conduct that reflect a commitment to properly rescuing, caring for and rehoming animals in need. In this capacity, we join the many opposed to this bill and ask you to veto this bill.
The stated purpose of this bill is to curb the importation of sick dogs in to the state of Connecticut. On the surface, this seems to have a logical appeal. However, it is readily apparent that the practical effect of this bill was not considered as the real impact will be felt by those rescues who follow the rules and properly care for the dogs in their charge and not by those who operate in an unethical manner.
There is no question that legislation is needed to curb abuses and we support change that actually protects animals and their adopters. This bill, however, serves no purpose other than to increase the cost of adopted dogs to the point where the cost to adopt is no longer feasible for the average Connecticut citizen. As non-profit entities, we all operate on a tight budget and we already spend an average of more than $300 just to vet our dogs properly, including spay/neuter, shots including distemper/parvo, bordetella, and rabies, microchipping, screening for heartworms, lyme disease and ehrlychia and other parasites and any other treatment and care which the dog might need.
The bill awaiting your signature requires at least two more vet visits to obtain new health certificates from a Connecticut vet which will add a minimum of $200 to our costs. Responsible rescues are already doing these things and this creates no additional benefit to dogs or adopters. Those individuals who do not bother to get health certificates and vet care now won’t bother to do so in the future and they will continue to operate in a business as usual manner while those of who attempt to comply with this law will be effectively driven out of existence as the result of the hidden costs in this bill. The end result will be that the responsible rescues in Connecticut which currently place more than 10,000 dogs a year will close, but the demand for adoptable dogs will remain the same. The State cannot legislate away demand and those people that cannot find an available dog meeting their needs in a Connecticut shelter or who cannot afford a breeder will create an expanded black market which is exactly the opposite of what this bill is supposed to do.
This bill also requires every rescue and transportation company to give the State ten days advance notice of all of our activities. This is incredibly intrusive and is ominous in import when one considers the larger constitutional implications. No other group including breeders and pet stores are required to give notice of their events or arrival of animals to their premises to the State. Rescues are being singled out for spectacularly unfair and constitutionally suspect treatment when others who import dogs are not subject to the same rules. This should cause you great concern.
As the largest rescues in Connecticut, we have collectively placed more than 50,000 dogs into adoptive homes. Our fans number in to the six figures on Facebook and Twitter. In short, we represent a very large group of people who love their dogs and who do not agree with this legislation. It is exceptionally disheartening to work for the good of the dogs and their adopters only to be left out in the cold when legislation is passed that essentially punishes our organizations for the deeds of others who won’t bother to follow this law either.
We are not against regulation and indeed, we have begged for the creation of standards as it has fallen to us as responsible rescues to step in to handle the messes created by those who either lack the basic understanding of how to appropriately handle the rescue and transportation of dogs or who don’t care and see this as an opportunity to make money. The Federation has already set forth standards of conduct for our members which, if implemented at the state level, would better address the problems at hand and we would encourage you to review those standards which can be found here: http://federationofrescues.blogspot.com/p/forr-code-of-conduct.html. We ask only that we be made part of the solution and not excluded from the process as we very clearly were in this instance. We appreciate your consideration and ask that you veto this bill so that we can work with you to craft a bill that works.