Thursday, July 14, 2011

Malloy signed the bill

We are disappointed to learn that Gov. Malloy signed this bill this afternoon. We will be reviewing our options, but we expect that we will take action in the courts to address this bill while we work for a more appropriate legislative solution.

We appreciate everyone's support. We will be formulating our plans and we will let you all know what needs to be done next. We all need to remember we do this for the animals.

A letter to Governor Malloy

The following letter was sent to Governor Malloy today on behalf of all the rescue members of the Federation of Responsible Rescues. Tomorrow, Gov. Malloy must either sign the bill, veto the bill or he can do nothing and allow it to become law. Gov. Malloy must take a stand on this issue. Failure to act is tantamount to ducking an important issue and 60,000 dog lovers are watching. We urge those who have not called to do so. Gov. Malloy's office number is 860-566-4840


July 14, 2011

VIA FACSIMILE (860) 524-7395

Governor Dannel Malloy
State Capitol
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: 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.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Shame on the Connecticut Dog Federation: FORR declares shenanigans

Governor Malloy received the bill on his desk on June 30. He has fifteen days from that date to either sign it or veto it. If he does nothing, the bill becomes law. What this means is that we have until July 15 to call the Governor. As a reminder, if you haven't called, now is the time to do so. You can reach Governor Malloy at: 860-566-4840. 

As expected, the other main proponent of the bill, the breeders' trade association which calls itself the Connecticut Dog Federation has reacted with lies to the animal rescue world's response to the bill. This is what they had to sayThe "Animal Rescue" trade groups reportedly are running a calling campaign to the Governor's office urging a veto. There is a good bit of incorrect info and emotional comment regarding H.B. 5368 on various web sites and blogs justifying their opposition to this bill. In order to support the good work done on this bill by the legislature, it seems that we must flood the Governor's office with our own calls urging him to sign H.B. 5368 (Public Act 11-187)." 

As is typical, the breeders continue to disrespect the work that responsible animal rescues do. Conndogfed is comprised of a very small group of breeders who work to defeat laws like the one that was designed to require the spay and neuter of dogs, and they oppose the most basic things like making it a crime to debark a dog or allowing humane education in schools that mention or accept funding from any animal welfare group. Look for the statement that this bill would have allowed animal welfare groups equal treatment in promoting their agenda. Wow, who knew that demanding equal treatment was so outrageous? Guess we didn't get the memo. In fact, they had this little gem on their siteIt is no secret that certain groups representing themselves as animal “welfare” organizations are, in fact, animal “rights” organizations.  Their literature and web sites very clearly state their agendas which, with regard to companion animals, are in direct conflict with our right to own such animals and to promote their proper care." They don't want anyone telling them it's unacceptable to have their animals debarked or bred to death for profit. 

Let's think about this for a moment. Those who breed are ultimately responsible for all the millions of dogs in need of homes that die in shelters every year. If breeders were capable of preventing the millions of unwanted dogs, there would be no need for regulations or even animal welfare groups like the members of this federation. No, breeders are perfectly happy to sell you that new, unaltered puppy for $800 with one set of shots and some deworming (at a cost of less than $30), but they won't do a damned thing to clean up their own messes. 

What's their motive for this law? The real answer is money. Rescue cuts into their profits. If rescue can adopt a dog out for $450 completely vetted (spayed/neutered, all shots, fecal screen, heartworm/lyme/ehrlychia screenings, frontline, heartgard, collar and microchip plus health certificate) that certainly looks attractive to a person comparing it to a kennel selling a completely unvetted puppy for $800. Adding to the cost of an adopted dog is nothing more than a hidden tax designed to make rescue more expensive. 

What's their stated reasons for supporting this law? They try to scare the public claiming that rescue "puts the health of its citizens and their lawfully bred and owned animals by contagious diseases and potentially deadly parasites carried in imported animals." FORR declares shenanigans and demands they provide proof of these so-called deadly parasites in imported animals and prove a) it wasn't already in Connecticut, b) they actually exist in statistically significant numbers and c) that it's not a naturally-occurring phenomena. With all due respect to Conndogfed, if you've got it, bring it, or politely shut up already. We note their concern for the lawfully bred and owned animals, but I guess they could give a damn about the dogs in Connecticut shelters or anywhere else for that matter.

Then they claim that rescue subjects "many unwary recipients of such animals to extraordinary veterinary bills for treatment of undisclosed diseases or infirmities." Really? Prove it. The testimony of four people who got sick dogs is all there was in support of this bill. FORR loathes people who in the name of rescue hand out sick dogs without proper vetting, quarantine and care, but to claim that "rescues" bring in sick dogs in droves to the state of Connecticut is ludicrous. The biggest rescues in Connecticut have rescued collectively more than 60,000 dogs. Where's the constant news stories of sick dogs? Where's the local outrage? It does not exist and they are scaring people with imaginary monsters that only they can see.

Then they throw out the sympathy card: Rescue deprives "healthy animals in state pounds and shelters the chance for legitimate adoption." Really? As we discussed in a previous post, this is essentially a red herring. As of June 27, there were less than 500 dogs in shelters in Connecticut in need of homes, and that includes private rescues that pull dogs only from local shelters. You can see the numbers here. I don't see Conndogfed clubs running to the Connecticut shelters to save the bully breeds, the chihuahuas and labs sitting there waiting for rescue. That's because they want to sell you a new dog.  That's called hypocrisy.

Finally, they make this absolutely slanderous claim: "To satisfy the need for low‐cost animal adoptions, a lucrative business has emerged, particularly in the south and Midwest, to breed and provide “adoption” animals to Connecticut and other states." Conndogfed, you had better be able to provide proof of this claim or be prepared to eat it.  Rescues DO NOT BREED AND BUY WHILE DOGS DIE. That's the difference between legitimate animal rescue and Conndogfed. Shame on you. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The world chatters about the Connecticut slam on rescues

The news about the new Connecticut law which is so destructive to rescue has spread far and wide. The campaign to call the Governor's office has been very active and we actually feel sorry for the nice woman who answers the phone at Gov. Malloy's office which has apparently been ringing off the wall. It is absolutely clear that Gov. Malloy has gotten an earful from a great many people.

We owe a huge thank you to Slash of Guns n Roses/Velvet Revolver fame who somehow picked up this blog and posted it on his Facebook site which has more than six million fans. We have no idea how he got wind of the law and the danger it poses to rescue, but it certainly shows the power of the web to right a wrong through the chatter of thousands and we thank him for sending it on.* We are nowhere near resolution of this mess at this time, but we are planning an event to show the government of Connecticut just how much the citizens love their thousands of imported, adopted dogs. Details will follow.

Thank you all for your continued support. Keep up the good work as it is having an effect.

- Federation of Responsible Rescues

* PS to Slash in case you ever see this - we are hunting for a publicist to send an appropriate thank you letter to, but know that this little guy has just been named Slash in your honor by Big Fluffy Dog Rescue.

Rock on, Slash