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Rep. Kupchick and Sen. Hwang: More Animal Welfare Bills Advance

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HARTFORD – State Representative Brenda Kupchick (R-132) and State Senator Tony Hwang (R-28) on Wednesday lauded the state legislature’s Judiciary Committee for passing measures to establish a statewide animal abuse registry and prohibit accelerated rehabilitation for people convicted of felony animal cruelty charges.

The Fairfield lawmakers said the statewide animal abuse registry would help to better monitor and prevent animal abusers from gaining access to animals through adoption or through jobs involving the care of animals.

Rep. Kupchick and Sen. Hwang noted that prohibiting judges from giving accelerated rehabilitation (AR) to criminals convicted of felony animal cruelty would prevent dangerous individuals from having that violent crime from being removed from their criminal records.

“Animal cruelty is an act of violence,” said Rep. Kupchick.  “The FBI is tracking animal cruelty as a separate category of the same magnitude as manslaughter and armed robbery.  The FBI also considers it a red flag for future violent behavior.  There is strong connection between animal cruelty and domestic violence.  Intentionally causing pain and suffering to an animal is an act of violence.  Research and common sense tells us that those capable of such acts can and will do it again and very likely against humans.”

Rep. Kupchick has been a champion for animal welfare policies for several years, and we continue to work as a team to make Connecticut a national leader when it comes to protecting animals,” said Sen. Hwang, who serves on the Judiciary Committee and voted in favor of the bills.  “That’s why we continue to advocate for a variety of animal protection bills, and we are pleased to see them making steady progress through the legislative process.  Animal abuse cannot and should not be tolerated. We appreciate the community’s support of our efforts as we work to get these bipartisan bills to the governor’s desk for his signature.”

The lawmakers are also co-sponsoring a measure to increase the penalty for intentionally injuring a police or search-and-rescue animal from a Class D felony to a Class C felony. The maximum penalties for conviction of a Class C felony in Connecticut are 10 years in jail and a fine of $10,000.

“We simply can’t allow those who commit serious acts of animal cruelty to slip through the cracks of Accelerated Rehabilitation.  AR is a slap on the wrist and allows violent perpetrators the freedom to go undetected by an unsuspecting public who could be subjected to the same acts of violence,” said Rep. Kupchick.

The bills can be read here:

www.cga.ct.gov/2018/TOB/h/2018HB-05572-R00-HB.htm

www.cga.ct.gov/2018/TOB/s/2018SB-00523-R00-SB.htm

www.cga.ct.gov/2018/TOB/s/2018SB-00241-R00-SB.htm