Connecticut Bill Tries to Keep Puppy Mill Puppies Out

Pet store puppies

Pet stores in Connecticut whose dogs come from puppy mills may be facing the music today, when Connecticut politicians gather for a hearing in the Joint Environment Committee to discuss Senate Bill Number 397.

The bill, which was introduced earlier this month and was quickly sent to hearing, pays special attention to the importation of “sick puppies into the state.” Those importing animals into the state are already required to have a “certificate of origin” that details where the animals came from. What SB 397 would then do is require that the Commisioner of Agriculture give a report that assesses the efficacy of those certificates in reducing the number of animals coming into the state from puppy mills. Previous legislation also requires that pet shop owners use these certificates of origin to inform buyers of whether or not their pet came from a puppy mill. The commissioner would include in his report the effectiveness of the certificates in enforcing this part of the law as well.

The bill would also require that the commisioner’s report include “any information the commissioner deems relevant concerning sources, other than puppy mills, of sick dogs imported into this state.”

Connecticut’s SB 397 has found strong opposition from the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC), which sent out a “Pet Alert” to its supporters, urging them to take action against the bill. In the memo, PIJAC points to the controversial use of the term “sick dog” in this piece of legislation, suggesting that more animals brought into the state for adoption (abandoned “adoptable” animals) bring more “disease” to the state than dogs from supposed puppy mills.

“SB 397 inappropriately focuses on pet store puppies, which constitute a small minority of the dogs sold in Connecticut,” PIJAC describes in its memo. “The bill completely ignores dogs brought in for adoption, which are a greater risk of disease. Any assessment of ‘sick dogs’ should encompass all dogs, regardless of their source.” Though PIJAC points the finger at adoptable dogs in its memo, they fail to include sources for the statistics they cite in support of their claims.


This is the newest bill in a chain of potential laws hoping to put a halt to puppy mills. Just recently, Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell signed Senate Bill 499 into law. Termed the “Puppy Lemon Law,” SB 499 will “improve the state’s ‘puppy lemon law’ by increasing the allowable reimbursement to pet purchasers who have bought sick animals and must assume often substantial veterinary costs,” writes the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). This is just one of the many provisions that are a part of this newly-signed bill.

Many anti-puppy mill supporters hope that SB 397, and bills like the one that passed in West Hollywood earlier this year, become more and more of a trend. In the meantime, the state of Connecticut continues to zero-in on those pet stores that are potentially selling puppy mill puppies. Just last week, pet store True Breeders, which recently opened on Route 7 in Branchville, was shut down for allegedly selling a puppy for $1,600 that passed away from parvovirus.

Thin Hair and Fair Skin

Protect our pooches from sunburn

Even though summer has come late for some parts of the country, by now most of us have experienced a few scorchers. Just as we need to be aware of our pet’s potential for getting overheated, we also need to remember to protect our pooches from sunburn.

Thin-haired and fair-skinned breeds such as Bull Terriers, Boxers, Dalmations and Whippets are especially vulnerable, but all dogs have areas on their bodies where hair is sparse, such as the abdomen, hind legs and the areas surrounding their noses. Prevention is the best approach for avoiding the affects of prolonged and excessive sun exposure.

Find some shade for outside activities and stay inside between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to prevent sunburn as well as overheating on those really hot days. Not only will your pooch thank you for avoiding discomfort, but you’ll also be protecting him or her from increased susceptibility to diseases related to excessive sun exposure.

Chronic sun damage, also called canine solar dermatitis, can set the stage for later development of neoplasms associated with squamous and basal cell carcinomas.

When sun exposure can’t be avoided, consider covering your dog with a t-shirt or a specially designed canine sun suit. Sunscreen lotions are another option for reducing the risk of damage, but check with your vet first for a product recommendation that won’t irritate your pet’s skin or be toxic if she or he should lick it off.

How To Protect Your Dog from Swine Flu

Swine flu (H1N1)

With the stunning news last week that the swine flu (H1N1) has sickened 22 million Americans and resulted in 3,900 U.S. deaths – over three times more than the 1,200 originally reported – people are taking all necessary precautions to avoid this virus. But are you protecting your dog as well?

Companion animals are susceptible to the H1N1 virus, according to a report last dog-face-mask month from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although no dogs have contracted the virus so far (the H3N8 canine influenza virus is not related to swine flu), it has been confirmed in one cat. The Iowa Department of Public Health reported that the 13-year-old indoor feline acquired the virus through close contact with its ill human family members. The cat and its humans have all recovered.

This case illustrates how different H1N1 is from typical viruses – pets don’t normally get sick with human influenza. “There has never been a report of human seasonal influenza affecting cats or dogs,” Dr. Julie Levy, director of Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the College of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Florida, told

While pets can get H1N1 from humans, there are currently no reports of humans getting the virus from their pets. According to Dr. Ann Garvey, state public-health vet at the Iowa Department of Public Health, “No cases of influenza of any kind in pets – including cases of bird flu – are known to have moved from animals into people. And even among the animals, the virus does not appear to spread easily, which may further suggest that pets are not ideal reservoirs for influenza.”

To help prevent your dog from getting swine flu, the CDC and Iowa Department of Public Health recommend taking the following precautions:

  • Make sure your dog has a healthy diet, drinks plenty of water and takes vitamins and supplements.
  • Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.
  • To avoid spreading your germs, cough and sneeze into the crook of your arm instead of your hand.
  • If you are sick with flu-like symptoms, minimize contact with your dog until 24 hours after your fever is gone. The American Veterinary Medical Association advises against boarding your dog, since Fido may have already been exposed to the virus by the time you start showing symptoms, and putting him in another environment could cause additional stress.
  • The H1N1 vaccine – as well as all other human influenza vaccines – is not appropriate for non-human species and should not be given to your dog, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

The cat diagnosed with H1N1 was lethargic, lacked an appetite and appeared to have trouble breathing. If your dog shows similar symptoms, take him to the vet.