Dear Governor Malloy,
My name is Dr. Kelly Parker and I am one of the cofounders of an all breed dog rescue group called PAWS New England. I am also a registered CT voter and I am writing to plead that you veto this bill. HB5368 is mostly outstanding legislation with many great measures to keep animals safe.
However, Section 2 of this bills mandates rescue groups (under the title “animal importer”) shall, prior to offering a dog or cat for sale, adoption or transfer and thereafter at intervals of fifteen days until such dog or cat is sold, adopted or transferred, provide for examination of such dog or cat by a veterinarian licensed under chapter 384 of the general statutes. Such animal importer shall maintain a record of the veterinary services rendered for each dog or cat for a period of five years following such service. Any animal importer who violates the provisions of this section shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars for each animal that is the subject of such violation.”
PAWS New England is more than happy to register with the state, pay the $100 registration fee, and we already keep immaculate records detailing where each of our dogs go- but we can not afford to pay a vet bill every 15 days on dogs being fostered in the state of CT. This would literally result in tens of thousands of extra dollars in cost per year to our rescue group and essentially shut us down in the state of CT. I believe that this is the sole intention of the proponents of this bill, The Connecticut Federation of Dogs, who unabashedly rail against rescues in all their propaganda and encourage their supporters to “shut down rescue groups” to “decrease competition.”
I am a doctor myself and very much committed to safe rescue practices that prevents the transfer of communicable diseases. I would be thrilled to offer my experience as a health care provider and a executive director of a rescue group to help craft a bill that will target the more unsavory practices of less organized, less experienced rescue personal and avoid shutting down the rescue groups who are already following the law.
PAWS New England provides Connecticut with a tremendous service. We routinely take in sick dogs from CT shelters requiring thousands of dollars in veterinary bills, behaviorally challenged dogs facing euthanasia, and have assisted with a number of hoarding cases where small CT shelters have been overwhelmed. We typically lose hundreds if not thousands of dollars on these dogs in veterinary bills, training costs, and boarding costs. We can not afford to operate in CT if you pass this bill and CT shelters will suffer without our help.
Finally, as a CT voter- this bill could not come at a worse time. With the budget crisis and the impending lay offs of thousands of CT workers, I do not believe now is the time to further anger CT voters by siding with an industry that places profit over the welfare of animals. I do not know how you can justify spending more money to fund this additional work by the Department of Agriculture while laying off hard-working state employees and simultaneously hurting innocent animals.
I implore you to veto this bill and seek involvement from the rescue community to re-craft a bill that will protect CT consumers, shelter dogs in CT, and allow rescue groups to continue our lifesaving work.
Dr. Kelly Parker