On Wednesday, March 1, the Connecticut Joint Judiciary Committee’s public hearing agenda includes two bills that could negatively impacting dog breeders and owners.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) encourages all responsible dog owners and breeders in Connecticut to contact the Joint Judiciary Committee and express your concerns with SB 1060 and HB 6714. Scroll down for more information.
- Senate Bill 1060, Concerning the Appointment of An Advocate in Proceedings Concerning the Welfare or Custody of Animals.
- Summary: SB 1060 would amend current law that allows the court to appoint lawyers or law students to represent dogs and cats in proceedings concerning their welfare or custody and expand it to include “animals”. “Animal” means any brute creature, including, but not limited to, dogs, cats, monkeys, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, birds and reptiles.
Authorizing the courts to appoint volunteer attorneys to legally represent animals raises multiple issues. Doing so could actually undermine animal welfare by changing the legal status of animals as property. Animal protection does not require the appointment of “court advocates” who are typically appointed for children or others with legal rights who lack mental capacity. AKC’s position on court-appointed animal advocates can be viewed here.
- House Bill 6714, Concerning Cruelty to Animals.
- Summary: HB 6714 would redefine the crime of sexual contact with an animal, require that veterinarians report suspected incidents of animal cruelty, and prohibit persons convicted of animal cruelty or having sexual contact with an animal from possessing or working with animals for a period of five years from the date of conviction or release from imprisonment.
Everyone agrees animal cruelty is a deplorable act, and that the enforcement of strong, clearly-worded animal cruelty statutes is key to safeguarding our beloved animals. Dog-related laws, including cruelty statutes, should also be clearly worded to ensure that animal husbandry practices, like artificial insemination, are not unintentionally made illegal. To that end, a clarifying amendment is needed for the proposed definition of “sexual contact with an animal” in line 71 to ensure that bona fide veterinary and animal husbandry purposes are not banned by HB 6714.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
- Register your opposition/comments with the Judiciary Committee by completing this form.
- Fill in the fields for your name, and select “3/1/2023, 10:00AM” from the “Hearing Date and Time” drop down menu.
- Select “SB0 1060- AAC THE APPOINTMENT OF AN ADVOCATE IN PROCEEDINGS”.
- On the right-hand side, select “Opposes”.
- Please select “Type in My Testimony” under “How do I want to submit my testimony?” to share your objections or select “Upload a file I select” to upload written testimony in PDF format. Then, click on the button “Submit Testimony”.
- Then, register your “General Comments” on the right-hand side by completing the form again after selecting “HBO 6714 -AAC CRUELTY TO ANIMALS.
In addition, you may speak at the March 1, 2023, 10:00AM, public hearing in person or remotely. To do either, you must register by following these details before Sunday, February 28, 2023, at 3PM.
AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) will provide additional information as developments warrant. For more information, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org.