Some time ago, I blogged about Connecticut legislation drafted to permit lawyers and would-be lawyers to “represent” animals in certain cases.
Since my first post, Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed the bill into law. I am now happy to report that he Act Concerning Support For Cats and Dogs that are Treated Cruelly officially took effect Oct. 1.
To refresh your memory, the law allows attorneys specializing in animal cruelty and neglect cases — and law school students with an interest in the subject — to “advocate for the interests of justice in certain proceedings involving animals.” There are three circumstances in which this can happen:
- In animal cruelty or animal fighting cases
- In “court proceedings stemming from an animal control officer’s seizure of a cruelly treated or neglected animal”
- In “criminal cases involving the welfare or custody of cats or dogs.”
Qualified advocates (selected from lists kept by the Department of Agriculture) can now attend hearings, act as observers and provide relevant information to the judge or “fact finder.” In certain circumstances, they can also issue recommendations.
In accordance with the new law, any party involved in the case can request a special advocate’s services. The court can also appoint a special advocate.
The law is also summarized here.
New rules pertaining to human trafficking, bed bugs, child support, protection for victims of domestic violence, abuse in nursing homes, and medicinal use of marijuana also took effect Oct. 1.
Now that makes for a lot of blog fodder. So stay tuned…