Legislation that will increase standards for Connecticut retail pet shops and breeders has been signed into law by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

The law is designed to make pet stores in the state more accountable through stricter standards and business practices.

Among other provisions, the law will require pet shops to reimburse customers for veterinarian expenses incurred to treat a dog or cat that becomes ill shortly after purchase from the shop (this now will cover the purchase price of the animal and veterinarian costs).

It also will prohibit pet shop licensees from purchasing dogs or cats from a breeder who has violated U.S. Department of Agriculture animal welfare regulations in the past two years.

‘We are setting stricter standards’

“There is evidence that puppy mills around the country have employed practices that any reasonable person would consider inhumane,” Malloy said while signing the legislation during a Wednesday ceremony at the Greenwich Animal Shelter.

“By signing this bill into law, we are setting standards in Connecticut to ensure that animals are living in humane conditions,” Malloy said.

The law, which takes effect Oct. 1, also will:

— Require the state Commissioner of Agriculture to develop a standard of care applicable to in-state dog and cat breeders by Dec. 31, 2014.

—Require pet shops to post the U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection reports for breeders of any dog offered for sale.

Keep out ‘the worst puppy mills’

Annie Hornish, Connecticut State Director for the Humane Society of the United States, said the bill “will keep some of the worst puppy mills in the country from selling to Connecticut pet stores.

“One way citizens can help fight puppy mills,” Hornish continued, “is by adopting from municipal pounds like the Greenwich Animal Shelter, or purchasing from responsible, ethical breeders, who never sell through pet shops.”

The law is formally known as Public Act 14-77: An Act Concerning Certain Recommendations of the Task Force on the Sale of Cats and Dogs from Inhumane Origins at Connecticut Pet Shops.