5-6-2016 This year, you have helped Connecticut make history! This session we combined forces with the bill's champion Rep. Diana Urban and passed innovative new legislation that will give animals a voice in court. In animal cruelty cases, there can now be advocates who will shine a bright light on the full extent of the atrocities committed against animals who are the subject of criminal or civil proceedings. The courts will have "the whole story" to use in making decisions in the interests of justice.
This bill not only helps animals. By more accurately identifying violent individuals, it is destined to be a powerful tool in intervening in the cycle of violence. Legislators who voted for Desmond's Law also voted to protect battered women, the elderly, abused children, and ultimately safer communities. For now, the law applies to cats and dogs, who comprise the vast majority of animal cruelty cases.
Desmond's Law has been signed by the Governor and will take effect October 1, 2016.
This session, we also assisted the CT Humane Society in the passage of HB 5147, which increases the maximum penalty for second-offense malicious animal cruelty convictions. From now on, those convicted of malicious, intentional animal cruelty for the first time will be guilty of a Class D felony. For the second and subsequent offenses, it will be a Class C felony: up to 10 years in prison, and no chance for accelerated rehabilitation.
In addition to your support and advocacy, there are many legislators and organizations who helped make the passage of Desmond's Law possible. We extend our sincerest gratitude to:
Rep. Diana Urban
Speaker Brendan Sharkey
Rep. Joe Aresimowicz
Sen. Martin Looney
Rep. William Tong
Rep. David Baram
Rep. Brenda Kupchick
Sen. Eric Coleman
Sen. Bob Duff
Sen. Ted Kennedy, Jr.
Sen. John Kissel
Rep. Rosa Rebimbas
Plus all of the other legislators who cosponsored this bill or voted yes! For a list of co-sponsors, please visit this page, then scroll to the section on co-sponsors. For the House voting record click here, for the Senate, click here.
If your legislator(s) voted in favor of the bill, please send them a thank-you message! Look up their contact info here.
We are also thankful to the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States, CT Humane Society, Desmond's Army of supporters, and of course our hard-working lobbyist Jo-Anne Basile.
Your advocacy and financial support makes all the difference in the lives of animals who will now have a voice in court. Thank you!