The Connecticut Department of Agriculture has proposed new regulations that, among other provisions, seek to provide operational standards and facility requirements for animal shelters. The American Kennel Club (AKC) supports the proposal and encourages all Connecticut stakeholders to contact the Department of Agriculture to express support and request strengthening the provisions of PR2017-060 before the public comment period ends on June 16, 2020.
The Connecticut General Assembly passed laws in 2011 and 2017 that require regulatory oversight of Connecticut’s animal shelters and importers.
A lack of substantive oversight has increased the risk of diseased animals entering the United States for distribution in its shelters. For example, the importation of rabies-positive dogs into the United States lead the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to ban the importation of dogs from Egypt in May 2019. Veterinarians from Tufts University, New England’s only veterinary school, published preliminary findings from a study on animal rescues noting, “…not everyone transporting dogs are doing basic things you assume everyone would do—sometimes not even vaccinating animals, which is a significant public-health concern.”
Supplying dogs for retail distribution by shelters most often comes at the cost of consumer choice and consumer protections. Additionally, with public health concerns at the forefront of today’s news, any increased risk of zoonotic disease transfer to humans or other animals (including livestock) from animals imported without substantiated health clearances or other verified precautions taken must be addressed. For imported and shelter animals posing a behavioral risk to other animals or people, that information must be included in the animals’ written health records to prevent harm, injury, and death.
The new proposed regulations provide facility and operations standards for animal shelters, including requirements for:
- Buildings and premises;
- Ventilation and temperature;
- Animal care requirements, to include staffing requirements, enclosure size and design standards, rules for feeding and access to clean water, cleaning requirements, and facility access standards.
The regulations also contain a section which prohibits breeding of animals housed in animal shelters.
Updates to the regulations for commercial kennels (limited to boarding kennels, grooming facilities, and veterinary kennels that provide boarding and grooming for nonmedical purposes), pet shops, training facilities, and animal importers are included.
Click here to read the proposal.
In addition to the proposed text, adding the following would strengthen the final document:
- The requirements for commercial kennels and pet shops include “isolation” for any dog or cat that has or is suspected of having a contagious disease, while for animal shelters only “physical separation” is required. A uniform standard “quarantine” period of at least 48 hours should be adopted for animals imported into the Connecticut animal shelters and foster homes, prior to permanent placement. Add the following definition to Sec. 22-344-22. Definitions: “Quarantine” means the confinement of an Animal, whether or not pursuant to order of the Department to prohibit other animal contact by restricting the Animal to an Isolation Facility or Quarantine Room for the purposes of: (1) observing if the Animal displays signs of contagious or infectious illness, and (2) minimizing the risk of the Animal spreading such contagious or infectious illness to humans and other animals.
- Under Sec. 22-344-75. Animal Importer Minimum Standards of Animal Care, add a new subsection (d): Dogs or cats that are transported individually in a primary enclosure due to overly aggressive or vicious disposition under (c)(3) must be specifically identified in the animal’s written health records.
- Under Sec. 22-344-82. Animal Shelter Minimum Standards of Animal Care, add new subsection (d): Dogs or cats that are housed individually in a primary enclosure due to overly aggressive or vicious disposition must be specifically identified in the animal’s written health records and the information shared with any prospective foster home or new owner.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
All interested Connecticut residents are strongly encouraged to submit comments, data, views, or arguments in support of the proposed regulation in writing through Tuesday, June 16, 2020. Written materials should be directed to Bryan P. Hurlburt, Commissioner, Department of Agriculture, and sent through one of the following ways:
- Online at https://ereguations.ct.gov/eRegsPortal/Browse/ProposedREgulations,
- Via email at Regulations@ct.gov, or
- By U.S. Mail to Suite 701 North, 450 Columbus Boulevard, Hartford, Connecticut 06103.
The Department of Agriculture will also hold a public hearing where participants may elect to provide brief oral comments for the record. Any person giving oral comments at the hearing will be asked to submit a written copy of such comments. The public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, June 16, 2020, at 10AM in Hearing Room B, 450 Columbus Boulevard North, Plaza Level, Hartford, Connecticut 06103. The hearing will begin promptly at 10AM and adjourn after the last person signed in to provide comment has spoken.
AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) will continue to provide public updates, and will submit separate comments to the Department of Agriculture on this proposal. For more information on this or other pending regulatory or legislative issues in Connecticut, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org.