Posted on May 3, 2023
HARTFORD- State Representative Mitch Bolinsky (R- Newtown) along with animal advocates held a press conference to advocate for bills and to raise awareness of the correlation between animal cruelty, child maltreatment, and other forms of interpersonal violence.
“These bills are about our humanity, the love we return to our animal companions, and protecting them from cruelty and abuse. As an Animal Welfare Caucus member, I also understand that people who abuse their animals are overwhelmingly likely to be or become those who abuse children and their domestic partner. Recognizing this connection as an early indicator of potential domestic violence underscores the importance of strengthening these protections.” Rep. Bolinsky added, “Coincidentally, today we passed HB-5575 on Connecticut Humane Society’s annual Puppy Day, my second-favorite day of the year at the Capitol. It’s hard to top any day that starts with so many cuddles and kisses.”
House legislators passed HB-5575 today and will take-up HB-6714 shortly. Details of each appear below:
- HB 5575: An Act Requiring the Department of Agriculture to Revise Municipal Animal Shelter Regulations– This bill requires municipal animal shelter operations to comport with the state-mandated regulations for private shelters and requires mandatory reporting of shelter violations to provide more accountability and transparency.
- HB 6714: An Act Concerning Cruelty to Animals– This bill redefines the crime of bestiality, requires that veterinarians report suspected incidents of dog fighting, and prohibits those convicted of animal cruelty or bestiality from possessing or working with animals for five years from the date of conviction or release from imprisonment for the offense, whichever is later.
A review of research studies shows:
- Animals were harmed in 88% of homes where a child was physically abused.
- 75% of female survivors of domestic violence report their pets were threatened or intentionally harmed by their partner.
- Children exposed to domestic violence are three times more likely to be cruel to animals
- 45% of caseworkers working with the elderly encountered animal abuse or neglect co-occurring with elder abuse.
According to the Office of Legislative Research, from 2011 through 2021, 3,348 cases were brought under the state’s animal cruelty statute. “Of the 1,257 cases dismissed during this period, 1,087 (86%) were dismissed after the offender successfully completed a diversionary program, such as the Accelerated Rehabilitation Program.