Puppy mill task force getting attention before it even holds first meeting

A so-called “puppy mill” legislative task force is already stirring up a lot of interest from the media and lobbyists before it even holds its first meeting Wednesday morning.

The bipartisan task force, which will look into the “inhumane treatment” of puppies and kittens sold to Connecticut pet stores, will hold an organizational meeting at 11:30 in Room 1C of the Legislative Office Building.

Media outlets have already previewed the meeting and pet shop industry lobbyists have sent out press releases on the controversial group. The group will research the issue and present a report calling for a public hearing in the coming legislative session on whether pet shops should be required to sell dogs and cats only from rescue and shelter organizations.

Rep. Brenda Kupchick, R-Fairfield, who will co-chair the task force, originally proposed an amendment to a bill in the last legislative session that would have required pet shops to sell only dogs and cats obtained from public shelters or incorporated rescues by January 2016. But the bill was amended to create the task force instead.

The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council says such “feel good” legislation would do nothing to promote animal welfare and would instead increase the number of black-market breeders.

There are 130 pet shops in Connecticut, 18 of which sell puppies and kittens.