On Wednesday, March 1, the Connecticut Joint Judiciary Committee’s public hearing agenda includes two bills that could negatively impact 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 voice your concerns about SB 1060 and HB 6714. Scroll down for more information.
Senate Bill 1060 Requiring the Appointment of an Attorney in Proceedings Concerning the Welfare or Custody of Animals. Summary: SB 1060 would amend existing law that allows the court to appoint attorneys or law students to represent dogs and cats in proceedings affecting their welfare or custody and expand it to include “animals.” “Animal” means any animal creature including but not limited to dogs, cats, monkeys, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, birds and reptiles.
The courts’ empowerment to appoint volunteer attorneys to represent animals raises several questions. This could actually undermine animal welfare by changing the legal status of animals as property. Animal welfare does not require the appointment of “court attorneys” who are normally appointed for children or other legal entities lacking capacity. The AKC’s position on court-appointed animal advocates can be viewed here.
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House Bill 6714 on Cruelty to Animals. Summary: HB 6714 would redefine the crime of sexual contact with an animal, require veterinarians to report suspected incidents of animal cruelty, and ban persons convicted of animal cruelty or sexual contact with an animal for a period of five years from Owning or working with animals years after being convicted or released from prison.
Everyone agrees that animal cruelty is a deplorable act and that enforcing strict, clearly articulated animal cruelty laws is key to protecting our beloved animals. Dog laws, including cruelty laws, should also be spelled out clearly to ensure animal husbandry practices such as artificial insemination are not unintentionally made illegal. To this end, a clarifying amendment to the proposed definition of “sexual contact with an animal” on line 71 is needed to ensure that bona fide veterinary and husbandry purposes are not prohibited by HB 6714.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Register your objection/comments with the Judiciary Committee by filling out this form. Complete the fields for your name and select 3/1/2023 10:00 am from the Hearing Date and Time drop-down menu. Select “SB0 1060-AAC THE APPOINTMENT OF AN ATTORNEY IN PROCEEDING.” Select “Opposes” on the right side. Please select “Enter my statement” under “How do I want to submit my statement?”. to share your objections, or select “Upload a file I choose” to upload a written testimony in PDF format. Then click on the “Submit certificate” button. Then write your “General Comments” on the right side by filling out the form again after selecting “HBO 6714 -AAC CRUELTY TO ANIMALS”.
Additionally, you can speak in person or remotely at the public hearing on March 1, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. To do this, you must register by Sunday, February 28, 2023 at 3:00 p.m. by following these instructions.
AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) will provide additional information as developments warrant. For more information, contact AKC GR at [email protected]