Gov. Daniel Malloy has signed into law a bill that requires "animal importers" to register with the state which includes payment of a $100 annual fee.
Substitute House Bill 5368 also requires "animal importers" to comply with regulations that can be issued with respect to "health, safety and humane treatment" of the animals. The Commissioner of Agriculture is authorized to inspect the animals and any records of the "animal importer".
A violation can mean a fine up to $500.
Animal importers must also notify the state Dept. of Agriculture and local zoning officer of any sale, adoption, or transfer of animals that is open to the public. A failure to comply can mean a fine up to $100.
What is an "animal importer"?
According to the bill, an "animal importer" is "a person who brings any dog or cat into this state …for the purpose of offering such dog or cat to any person for sale, adoption or transfer in exchange for any fee, sale, voluntary contribution, service or any other consideration".
This includes "any commercial or nonprofit animal rescue or adoption, humane relocation or delivery organization that is not otherwise required to be licensed". This means all rescues and those transporting animals to rescues within the state. The definition is broad enough to include those traveling through the state with rescued animals.
More requirements under the new law
Not only must animals imported into the state be accompanied by a health certificate, but the "animal importer" is responsible with limited exceptions for obtaining a veterinary exam and new health certificate for the animal within 48 hours of entering the state. Also, the animal must be examined by a licensed veterinarian every 90 days until the animal is sold, transferred or adopted. Veterinary records must be kept by the animal importer for up to 3 years. A violation of any of these provisions can mean a fine up to $500.
Then there is this provision: Any animal importer who intends to offer for sale, adoption or transfer any dog or cat at a venue or location that is open to the public or at an outdoor location, … shall provide notice to the Department of Agriculture and the municipal zoning enforcement officer of the town …not later than ten days prior to such event. Such notice shall state the date for such sale, adoption or transfer event, the exact location of such event and the anticipated number of animals for sale, adoption or transfer at such event.
A violation can mean a $100 fine.
This notice appears to apply to a rescuer transporting an animal into Connecticut for transfer at a shopping center, for example, to another rescue which may then take the animal for placement or transport out of state. notice.
The Federation of Responsible Rescues says the new law will "effectively ends the ability of legitimate rescues to offer dogs for adoption in the state of Connecticut by making the cost so prohibitive that adoption is not feasible for the vast majority of adopters."
Substitute H.B. 5368 specifically excludes breeders and dealers bringing dogs and cats into the state to deliver them for sale at pet stores.
Fines are also increased from a $100 maximum to up to $500 for violations of laws requiring health certificates for imported dogs and cats with copies sent to the commissioner of agriculture, permission from the state veterinarian for import of dogs or cats under a rabies quarantine, and the ban on the transport into the state dogs or cats less than 8 weeks of age without their mother for sale, adoption or transfer, and the sale, adoption or transfer of dogs and cats less than 8 weeks of age.
The new law goes into effect October 1, 2011.