“It’s tragic when an innocent animal’s seemingly loving home becomes their torture chamber,” stated Legislator Jon Cooper of Suffolk County, NY, who has announced plans to create a database that would contain the names of men and women who have been convicted of animals abuse (similar to registries that track the wheareaouts of sex offenders.)
The legislature would require anyone convicted of abusing animals to register and “remain on the list for three years. Penalty for failing to comply would result in a fine of up to $1,000 or up to a year in jail. Once the three years are up, however, “anyone on the registry would be allowed to buy or sell a pet.”
“If passed, this would be the first law of its kind in the nation,,”commented Suffolk SPCA Chief Roy Gross, who hopes that other municipalities, including those throughout Connecticut, would adopt similar measures as well.
This initiative will not only protect family pets, but because of the strong link between animal abuse and domestic violence, it will serve as an early warning system in communities to ward off the danger of potential future violence against people,” added Cooper, who also plans to introduce “companion bills” that would eventually forbid people on the registry from obtaining animals and require adoption agencies as well as pet stores to check the database and “decline to sell or give an animal to anyone listed on it.”
Connecticut law defines “animals” as all brute creatures and birds (CGS § 29-108a). It prohibits overdriving, overloading, overworking, torturing, depriving of sustenance, mutilating, cruelly beating or killing, or unjustifiably injuring any animal. It makes it a crime for those who impound or confine an animal to fail to (1) provide proper care for it; (2) cage or restrain it to prevent it from injuring itself or another animal; or (3) supply it with wholesome air, food, and water (CGS § 53-247(a)).
The law also covers unjustifiably providing or exposing a domestic animal to poisonous or noxious substances.
Individuals having custody of an animal may not act cruelly to it; fail to provide it with proper food, drink, or shelter; abandon it; or carry or cause it to be carried in a cruel manner. The law also prohibits fighting with or baiting, harassing, or worrying any animal to make it perform for amusement. These offenses are punishable by a fine of up to $ 1,000, imprisonment of up to one year, or both (CGS § 53-247(a)).
The following actions are punishable by a fine of up to $ 5,000, imprisonment of up to five years, or both: knowingly (1) owning, possessing, keeping, or training an animal engaged in fighting for amusement or gain; (2) possessing, keeping, or training an animal to engage in an exhibition of fighting for amusement or gain; (3) permitting such acts to take place on premises under one’s control; (4) acting as a judge or spectator at such an exhibition; or (5) betting or wagering on the outcome of an exhibition (CGS § 53-247(c)). Maliciously and intentionally maiming, mutilating, torturing, wounding, or killing an animal carries the same punishment (CGS § 53-247(b)).
Intentionally injuring any animal performing its duties under the supervision of a peace officer or intentionally injuring a dog acting as a member of a volunteer canine search and rescue team, is punishable by a fine of up to $ 5,000, imprisonment of up to five years, or both (CGS § 53-247(d)). Intentionally killing an animal performing such duties is punishable by a fine of up to $ 10,000, imprisonment of up to 10 years, or both (CGS § 53-247(e)).
Readers are encouraged to contact SPCA OF CONNECTICUT, INC. 359 Spring Hill Road Monroe, CT 06468 203 445-9978 as well as their local representatives about creating a database here.