April 4, 2006
DOG BREEDING LAWS IN CONNECTICUT AND OTHER STATES
By: Margarita Maslyukova-Malova, Legislative Fellow
You asked how Connecticut law regulates the breeding of dogs to avoid undue inbreeding and if other states have the same standards.
We did not find any state with laws that specifically established requirements to avoid undue inbreeding. The Department of Agriculture, which regulates dogs in Connecticut, is not familiar with any laws that regulate dog inbreeding.
Federal law regulates dog breeding under the 1970 Animal Welfare Act.
FEDERAL AND STATE DOG LAWS
Wholesale dog breeding and the shipment of live animals are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the 1970 Animal Welfare Act. The act requires breeders to be licensed, inspected, and regulated to ensure that standards of housing, care, and medical treatment are upheld at breeding facilities (7 USC § 2131 et seq.).
However, the USDA does not have the resources to ensure that the animals at the more than 4,800 breeding facilities nationwide receive humane care and treatment. Facilities may be inspected only once a year and if a problem is found, USDA often grants offenders opportunities to correct the situation (i.e., legal action is rare). When legal action is taken, it can take several years to prosecute, and the facility operator rarely loses his license, according to www.friendsofanimals.org, a nonprofit animal advocacy organization, and USDA.
Connecticut's dog laws include licensing, kennel regulation, vaccination, and anti-ear cropping provisions, among others (CGS § 22-327 et. seq.). Connecticut law also contains a provision that provides that any person who owns or has custody of a dog that annoys people, animals, or motor vehicles on the highway must be fined or imprisoned. Other states have similar laws, but none specifically regulates breeding to avoid undue inbreeding.
Several states have “Puppy Lemon Laws,” which require retailers who sell an unhealthy dog to replace it with another dog, issue a refund, or pay its medical costs, depending on the state. Every state has an anti-cruelty law to protect animals, but not all cover breeding facilities. Information on states' dog laws is available online at: http://www.animallaw.info/articles/armpusstatedoglaws.htm
We have attached a copy of OLR Report 2004-R-0861, which contains more information about pet shop regulations in New England.