The Connecticut Joint Environment Committee has raised SB 234, and scheduled a Monday, March 7, 2022, public hearing on the bill. In addition to a handful of provisions under the oversight of the Department of Agriculture, the bill includes significant changes to current kennel and dog license rules. These proposed changes to the current law in SB 234 would:
- Section 2 – Kennel Licenses
- Authorize municipal animal control officers (ACOs) to inspect, at any time, any “facility” used as a breeding kennel, without defining “facility”.
- Mandate compliance with an ACO’s recommendations if the ACO finds conditions exist that may adversely affect the health and welfare of the dogs, or risk loss of license.
- Sections 5, 9 and 13– Dog Licenses
- Require that owners of dogs over 6 months obtain a dog license from the Department of Agriculture, instead of their town clerk. The goal is to modernize the process by allowing electronic submission of current rabies vaccination records and payment of fees in exchange for the Department mailing out a valid dog license.
- Increase the dog license surcharge fee (deposited into the animal population control fund) from six to eight dollars for unspayed or unneutered dogs.
AKC appreciates that the intent of SB 234 is to clarify and modernize the kennel and dog licensing laws. However, the above proposed changes, as drafted, create concerns.
Section 2 – Kennel Licenses: First, SB 234 attempts to distinguish kennels from facilities that breed more than two litters of dogs a year, without updating current legal definitions. Second, broadening the inspection authority of municipal ACOs without a definition of “facility” could result in an inappropriate search of the home of one who breeds personally owned dogs for the purpose of improving, exhibiting, or showing the breed, or for use in legal sporting activity or for other personal reasons. SB 234 authorizes the ACO to require compliance with correcting “conditions” they believe may adversely affect the health and welfare of your dogs. It is unclear whether an ACO’s evaluation of “conditions” would include whether or not a dog could be bred. Further, there is no process for resolving disagreements with an ACO who believes conditions may adversely affect the health or welfare of one’s dogs.
Sections 5,9 and 13 – Dog Licenses: Creating a dog license “electronic state database” would result in a list of owners with unspayed and unneutered dogs. Such a list, if obtained by animal rights activists, may result in harassment of responsible dog breeders. Under freedom of information act laws, the public can request information maintained by state agencies unless expressly exempted and afforded confidentiality protections. No protections are included in SB 234. Lastly, Connecticut does not have a dog overpopulation problem. Current law imposes higher dog license fees for unspayed and unneutered dogs and is contrary to SB 234’s goal of streamlining the dog licensing process. Eliminating this disparity would be greatly appreciated.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
- Anyone wishing to speak regarding SB 234 at the Environment Committee’s public Zoom hearing, which is scheduled to start at 10AM on Monday, March 7, 2022, must complete this form before Sunday, March 6, at 3PM.
- Interested residents are encouraged to email written testimony in MS Word or PDF format to the Committee members directly at ENVtestimony@cga.ct.gov. Please include the bill number, SB 234, in the subject line and include your concerns and name in the body of your email.
AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) will provide additional information as developments warrant. For more information, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org.