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Today, the Connecticut Senate formally closed the 2021 legislative session by adjourning sine die, a day after the House adjourned for the year.  The American Kennel Club (AKC) is pleased that the Connecticut Department of Agriculture’s bill impacting shelters was adopted, while bills that would have negatively impacted responsible dog owners and breeders were not.

Animals Imported by Animal Shelters Must Have A Veterinarian Exam

The American Kennel Club and Connecticut Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners (CFDRDO) supported this bill, which was filed by the Connecticut Department of Agriculture.  Among its many provisions, HB 6504 Regarding Animal Welfare, closes a loophole in the definitions for “animal importer” and “animal shelter”, effectively requiring a veterinary examination of animals brought into the state by animal shelters.  The bill also updates fine amounts for violations.  In addition, it allows towns to sign mutual aid agreements for temporary animal control officers when personnel are out on leave; and requires regional pounds to comply with municipal pound construction, maintenance, and sanitation standards.  The bill is now Public Act 21-90.

No Municipal Restrictions on Pet Shops

If passed, HB 6542 would have allowed each city and town to create and enforce its own obligations and restrictions on state-licensed pet shops, including mandates that shops source pets only from animal shelters and rescues.  AKC opposed the measure and issued an alert outlining the reasons why.

Decision Designating a Commission to Review Animal Cruelty Laws Delayed

As favorably released by the Joint Judiciary Committee and passed in the Senate, SB 923 would have charged the Connecticut Sentencing Commission with reviewing state animal cruelty laws and their penalties, studying trends in this area of law, and making recommendations for legislation.  The proposal was supported by the University of Connecticut Law School’s Animal Law Department, state-based animal rights organizations, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, and the Humane Society of the United States.  However, to establish a balanced perspective, both the Connecticut Department of Agriculture and AKC expressed the need for animal welfare experience and input during this process.  The bill did not get a vote in the House of Representatives before the session adjourned and has failed.

Breeder Licensing Bill Abandoned

SB 458 would have established a state license for companion animal breeders.  After AKC met with the bill sponsor and provided her with research on the existing oversight authority for anyone selling more than two litters a year, the senator decided not to push for adoption of the bill this session.

A sincere “thank you” is extended to the CFDRDO and all the dog owners who took action this year!  AKC Government Relations (GR) will continue to monitor local proposals impacting dogs and their breeders and owners in Connecticut and provide any information as developments warrant.  For more information, contact AKC GR at