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“Puppy Day” at the Capitol Shines Spotlight on Animal Welfare Bills

Posted on May 3, 2023

State Representative Tracy Marra today joined her colleagues for a press conference to call attention to two pieces of legislation designed to provide stronger protections for animals, hold animal abusers accountable, and to draw attention to the disturbing links between child abuse and cruelty to animals.

She was joined by advocates and members of the Connecticut Humane Society to raise awareness of the correlation between animal cruelty, child maltreatment, and other forms of interpersonal violence.

This session, the legislature is considering several animal cruelty bills, including HB 5575 which will require municipal animal shelter operations to comport with the state-mandated regulations for private shelters. The second measure, 6714 An Act Concerning Cruelty to Animals will provide clear definitions of, and prohibitions against, bestiality, allows law enforcement officers to seize an animal if they have a reasonable suspicion an animal is being abused, treated cruelly or sexually assaulted, imposes a duty on veterinarians to contact law enforcement or animal control if they believe an animal has been used for fighting, and will provide a 5-year possession ban to those convicted of harming animals.

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.

Members of the public can make a reports of animal cruelty directly to the local Animal Control Department in the town where the concerns have been noted or by calling (860) 713-2506, as well as via e-mail at AGR.AnimalControl@ct.gov. Those wishing to make a report can remain anonymous.

A reasonable suspicion of child maltreatment can be made to the Child Abuse and Neglect Careline by dialing 1-800-842-2288. The Careline is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Callers to the Careline can remain anonymous.