Estate Planning With Your Pets In Mind

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Good morning, everyone! Happy Monday! Are you ready for some thought-provoking questions to start your week? Well, ready or not, here they are.

What will happen to your pet(s) if something happens to you? Who will take care of them? Where will they live? Will they end up in a familiar place with people they know? Or will they end up in a shelter, where they will be left to an uncertain fate? Have you thought about it? Do you have a plan?

You don’t? Why not? Make one. Put it in writing. Share it with your friends and family. Talk to your lawyer about it. Seriously. It’s important!

Runner-up in one of the contests at the 30th annual Puttin' on the Dog festival.
Second place? What do you mean I got second place? The indignity of it all. Puttin’ on the Dog, Greenwich CT. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

Estate planning

Proper estate planning is a proactive rather than a reactive process. As such, it allows you  to  prepare for unanticipated events, instead of simply reacting to them. Specifically, it allows you to create a strategy that can be shared with your family and used in the event of a serious, catastrophic or fatal injury or illness. In other words, this is a way to ensure your wishes — including those about the care of your pet(s) — are documented and followed if/when you are no longer capable of expressing them.

The last will and testament

When most people think about estate planning, making a will is the first thing that comes to mind. This is because a valid will is a legal document required for the settlement of your affairs and distribution of your estate. Or, to put it in plain English, it is a legal document in which you specify who gets what after you die, and designate someone (called an executor) to make sure your wishes are carried out accordingly.

According to The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), you should keep a few of things in mind if you’re considering including provisions pertaining to the care of your pet(s) in your will. Specifically, you should be aware that:

  1. Your will only takes effect upon your death.
  2. It takes time to sort everything out (determine if the will is valid and so on).
  3. Other complications could arise, especially if someone decides to contest (challenge) the will.

“Even determining the rightful new owner of your pet can get delayed. In other words, it may take a long time before your instructions regarding your pet’s long-term care can be carried out,” the HSUS says. “This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should not include a provision in your will that provides for your pet. It just means that you should explore creating additional documents that compensate for the will’s limitations.”

Setting up a trust

A trust is another type of legal tool used in the estate planning process. It allows you to allocate funds for a specific purpose, such as the care of your pet, if something happens to you. It also allows you to choose someone to manage the trust.

According to the HSUS, the benefits of using a trust in addition to a will are:

  1. It ensures your pet’s immediate needs are met.
  2. It can be used while you are sill alive (in the event of illness/injury).
  3. You can decide when it goes into effect.
  4. It allows for the exclusion of some funds from probate.

“There are many types of wills and trusts,” the HSUS points out. “Determining which is best for you and your pet depends on your situation and needs.”

The organization also stresses the importance of getting proper legal advice from “an attorney who both understands your desire to provide for your pet and can help you create a will and/or trust that best provides for him.”

Because there may be different rules depending on where you live, the HSUS recommends that you and your lawyer verify that the trust established  for the benefit of your pet(s) is valid and enforceable in your state.

Power of attorney

Finally, a third type of legal document, called a power of attorney, allows someone else someone else to handle some or all of your affairs for you while you are alive. As such, they can be written to take effect upon your physical or mental incapacity and remain in effect after you become incapacitated.

They are simpler than trusts and may include provisions  allowing the person authorized to handle your affairs  “to take care of your pets, expend money to do so, and even to place your pets with permanent caregivers if appropriate.”

Short-term solutions

Of course, the strategies used in estate planning are generally devised to address future events. An HSUS fact sheet, called “Providing for Your Pet’s Future Without You,” details not only the issues we have already discussed, but other ways to ensure your pets are taken care of in an emergency.

Its recommendations include but are not limited to:

  • Identifying at least two responsible friends or relatives who agree to serve as temporary caregivers if you have an emergency. Giving them with keys to your home; feeding and care instructions; the name of your veterinarian; and information about the permanent care provisions you have made for your pet.

• Ensuring that your neighbors, friends, and relatives know how many pets you have and the names and contact numbers of the individuals who have agreed to serve as emergency caregivers. Emergency caregivers should also know how to contact each other.

• Carrying a wallet “alert card” that lists the names and phone numbers of your emergency pet caregivers.

• Posting removable “in case of emergency” notices on your doors or windows specifying how many and what types of pets you have. Doing so will let first responders know that you have pets so they can act accordingly.

• Posting a removable notice with relevant information to the inside of your front and back doors.

The HSUS fact sheet also addresses related concerns, such as the importance of making formal arrangements for your pet’s care if something happens to you; keeping in contact with the designated caregivers; entrusting your pet’s care to a specific organization; and more.

You can find the details here.

It is sad, but it is not necessarily inevitable

As a volunteer at a local animal shelter, I became aware of several cases in which dogs were surrendered because their owners could no longer care for them. In a few of those cases, I believe we had an agreement that the dog would be returned to us in such circumstances. In other cases, the animals were simply surrendered by family members who were unable to care for them and had nowhere else to turn.

In any case, it was always sad. But it does not have to be inevitable.


Disclaimer: The preceding article is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be considered as legal advice. For legal advice, including questions and concerns about estate planning; animal law; and providing for your pets in the event of illness, injury or death, consult a qualified attorney in your area.

End Dogfighting In Connecticut Now

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Anyone who knows me at all knows I have a temper. Anyone who knows me at all also knows that I have absolutely, positively, no tolerance whatsoever for criminal activity targeting children, the elderly, or animals.

So imagine how I felt when I read a January 21 article on ctpost.com detailing the prevalence of dogfighting in Connecticut. Let’s just say I wasn’t very happy. In fact, it made my blood boil.

As far as I’m concerned, there is no place for this vicious, cruel, and barbaric activity at all — much less in the 21st century. The time to end it is now.

The harsh reality of dogfighting in Connecticut

Jessica Rubin, a state animal advocate and UConn law professor quoted in the article,  has researched dogfighting charges in Connecticut. While doing so, she  found that 110 people were charged with “dogfighting related offenses” here between 2007 and 2017.

Among other things, Rubin told ctppost.com that  there were no charges in some years and multiple charges in others. She also noted that the activity seems to be most prevalent in areas with the greatest population densities.

“The issues include extreme cruelty, criminal behavior, gambling, giving dogs unauthorized medicines and violence,” Rubin said. “Children are exposed to the offenses and it compounds the dogfighting.”

One of the many dogs available for adoption at a local shelter a few years ago.

Meanwhile, dogs that are lucky enough to survive and escape their ordeal, “usually end up in shelters around the state in hopes that law-abiding dog lovers will adopt them and end their nightmare with care and love.”

And then there are those who aren’t so fortunate.

“When they’re no longer profitable to dog fighters — or if they don’t show enough ‘fighting spirit’— they’re typically killed in atrocious ways, including by being used as ‘bait dogs,’ drowned, electrocuted, beaten or hanged,” Martin Mersereau, vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, told ctpost.com. “There are no winners in this sickening blood sport, only abject criminals who represent the very worst of human nature,” Mersereau added.

Freedom’s story

Two years ago, someone found a badly wounded dog — later named Freedom by rescuers —  “wandering on Brushy Plains Road in Branford covered in scars and injuries.”

His story is also chronicled in the ctpost.com article.

According to the account, officials at the Branford Animal Shelter concluded the wounds were the result of dogfighting. They also determined that  Freedom whose teeth were filed down so he couldn’t inflict damage on other dogs,  was probably used as a “bait” dog. As such, it would have been his “job” to  trigger attacks by combatants.

“Based on the wounds, this dog definitely took the brunt of whatever has been going on,” shelter director Laura Burban then told the New Haven Register. “What we can see is that it looks like his feet were tied together and he was used as the bait dog for other dogs to attack him,” she said.

Freedom is not alone…

Currently, dogfighting is not only illegal throughout the United States, but it is also a felony  in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Even so, Freedom’s story is not unique.

According to American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) statistics cited in the ctpost.com story, there are tens of thousands of dog fight organizers across the country that force hundreds of thousands of dogs to brutally train and fight for sport.

Over the last eight years, the organization says, it has assisted with 200 dogfighting cases in 24 states and has helped rescue and investigate nearly 5,000 victims of dogfighting.

Last year alone, the ASPCA says it directly rescued more than 400 animals from dogfighting rings across 12 states.

“Through our extensive work with law enforcement agencies nationwide, we know that organized dogfighting is taking place in every type of community across the country, causing unimaginable pain and suffering for the animals involved,” Stacy Wolf, senior vice president of ASPCA’s Anti-Cruelty Group told ctpost.com.

And that is unacceptable.

Federal Lawmakers Seek Animal Cruelty Ban

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“a bipartisan pair of congressional lawmakers from Florida is trying to close a gaping loophole in federal law.”

If there’s one thing I won’t discuss in this forum, it’s politics. For one thing, I hate politics. For another, it’s too risky to discuss politics in the context of work — and since this is my business website — well, the less said, the better.

Having said that, of course there are exceptions to every rule. And the only exception I’ll make to the one I just mentioned is that I’ll continue to write about local, state and federal legislation when our duly elected representatives actually do something constructive. Believe it or not, that actually happens every once in a while.

A case in point

Take a recent New York Times article about federal efforts to crack down on animal abusers by creating a new bill called the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act. In it, the author, Niraj Chokshi explains that a “a bipartisan pair of congressional lawmakers from Florida is trying to close a gaping loophole in federal law.”

As it now stands, anyone who documents (records) themselves abusing an animal can be charged under federal law. However, they will not face federal charges for the actual commission of the abuse.

If the new legislation passes, however, offenders convicted of “intentionally crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling or otherwise seriously harming an animal” would face federal felony charges, fines and up to seven years in prison. Within this context it is important to note that he bill “includes exceptions for, among other things, hunting, killing animals for food, scientific research, euthanizing animals, husbandry and veterinary care.”

The back story

In addition to providing a detailed explanation of the proposed legislation, Chokshi also explains why it was created.

As Chokshi tells it, the Humane Society of the United States became aware of and started looking into “crush videos,” approximately 20 years ago. In these videos, “animals are tortured or killed, often under a woman’s foot, in the service of a sexual fetish.” Objects or insects are sometimes used instead of animals in some cases, Chokshi adds.

Eli, the In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot.
In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot Eli catching up on the latest news. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

At any rate, the Humane Society contacted authorities after buying this type of video from someone in California, only to find that there were no adequate remedies under existing laws. Meanwhile, the documentation of animal abuse was increasing because of the Internet.

In search of answers, the then-county district attorney approached former Representative Elton Gallegly. He  in turn introduced a bill banning the production or sale of such videos. With little opposition, it was signed into law in late 1999.

“In 2010, however, the Supreme Court ruled that law unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds,” Chokshi reports.

In response, Gallegly created a new version of the bill, the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, which became the law that the recently introduced bipartisan legislation is designed to supplement.

Is this really necessary?

Currently, there are felony provisions in animal cruelty laws in all 50 states. So while the creation of a federal animal cruelty law may seem unnecessary, proponents say it’s an important step in the right direction.

First, as Sara Amundson, the president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, the legislative and political arm of the Humane Society told the Times, it would address cases in which abused animals are taken across state lines. Secondly, it would help in cases where there are limited resources.

“It’s oftentimes the scenario where states don’t have the resources or they don’t have the knowledge in a situation to be able to carry these animal cruelty cases to prosecution,” Amundson said.

Finally, proponents hope it will serve as an effective deterrent because it is a known fact that animal abuse can often be a precursor to the commission of violent acts against people.

What do you think? Is this a good idea? Is it necessary? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

 

As seen at the 30th annual Puttin’ on the Dog festival

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As the old saying goes, sometimes a picture is worth 1,000 words. So without further ado, here are some of my favorite photos from the 30th annual Puttin’ on the Dog festival. Enjoy!

Great Dane wins Best Lap Dog contest at Puttin' on the Dog.
Best Lap Dog winner. Puttin’ on the Dog. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic
Furr-911 rescues Hurricane Harvey kittens.
Hurricane Harvey kittens make an appearance at Puttin’ on the Dog festival, courtesy of FURR-911. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic
Owner and dog get a helping hand on the agility course.
Balancing act. Action in the agility ring at Puttin’ on the Dog. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic
Runner-up in one of the contests at the 30th annual Puttin' on the Dog festival.
Second place? What do you mean I got second place? The indignity of it all. Puttin’ on the Dog, Greenwich CT. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic
Adopt-a-Dog volunteer with her charge at Puttin' on the Dog.
Take me home! A senior dog steals the show in the first parade at the Puttin’ on the Dog festival. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

 

Nap time! Hurricane Harvey kittens take a break at the 30th annual Puttin’ on the Dog festival. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

It’s time for the annual Puttin’ on the Dog festival

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Whatever you do, don’t try to get a hold of me on Sunday. I’ll be busy. All day. And by the time I get home, I’ll be dog tired (literally), hot and bothered. But I’ll also be happy.

Cute Kitten, courtesy of FURRR 911. Photo by A. Bogdanovic
Bolt, a kitten rescued by FURRR 911, at Puttin’ On The Dog & Cats, Too 2016. Photo by A. Bogdanovic

On Sunday, I’ll spend the entire day shooting the 30th annual Puttin’ on the Dog festival, which will be held at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park in Greenwich, CT. Hosted by Adopt-a-Dog, the event is billed as the biggest of its kind between New York and Boston and benefits several local animal rescue and welfare groups.

In addition to raising money and awareness for worthy causes, the festival gives animal lovers a chance to meet some of the dogs and cats that are available for adoption. It also gives dogs and their people a chance to show off by participating in various contests.

You can learn more about the fun and games here.

This will be the fifth straight year I’ve volunteered at the event. And personally, I’m looking forward to hanging out in the cat pavilion, photographing the action in the demonstration rings and on stage, and checking out the silent auction.

On that note, I’d better run. Hopefully I’ll see you on Sunday. If not, don’t call me. I’ll call you!

Sad stories become happy tails at Adopt-a-Dog

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When it comes to the stuff that makes me mad, I’ve learned to choose my battles. At this point, there’s little I can do about the state of my country or the state of its leadership. I can’t put an end to terrorism or injustice. And I certainly can’t do anything about human stupidity.

As much as I would love to, there’s no way that I can save all of the companion animals who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected. As much as I would love to, there’s no way that I can find and punish the people who mistreat or discard their pets without a second thought.

Puppy dog eyes…. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

But for three years, I did what I little I could to help find “forever homes” for unwanted or abandoned pets by volunteering in the office at a local shelter. Although I had to stop doing so after I started In Brief Legal Writing Services, I’m still a volunteer photographer for Adopt-a-Dog in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Last weekend, I finally had a chance to visit the shelter and catch up with some old friends. I also had a chance to get the shots of the dogs that I’m sharing in this post. Hopefully these pups will soon be adopted, if they weren’t already.

In the meantime, you can learn more about Adopt-a-Dog by visiting their website. In the meantime, please feel free to let me know about shelters or rescue groups in your area that are doing great work. I’d be happy to do posts about them, too!

Hi there! Want to play? Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

 

This pup’s bib says it all! Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

 

 

 

Good news about animal adoption from the ASPCA

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We’ve all seen them. In fact it seems like they flash across our TV screens all too often. It’s hard to ignore those heartbreaking images of abused and neglected dogs, cats, puppies and kittens.

We’ve all heard the pleas from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and similar animal rescue groups. Make a donation. Sponsor a pet. Adopt don’t buy. Do the right thing.

But recently the ASPCA shared some good news on TODAY. People across the country are actually heeding the call. They’re doing the right thing.

More new homes, fewer deaths for shelter animals

New ASPCA data reveals that the number of dogs and cats that end up in U.S. shelters has dropped significantly in the past six years. Specifically, the animal welfare organization says the number of dogs and cats American shelters is approximately 6.5 million (3.3 million dogs and 3.2 million cats). Back in 2011, the total number of dogs and cats in American shelters was roughly 7.2 million.

Cute Kitten, courtesy of FURRR 911. Photo by A. Bogdanovic
Bolt, a kitten rescued by FURRR 911, at Puttin’ On The Dog & Cats, Too 2016. Photo by A. Bogdanovic

The good news doesn’t end there, however.

More people are adopting pets from shelters now than they did six years ago. The ASPCA estimates that 3.2 million dogs and cats are now adopted from shelters each year, as opposed to 2.7 million in 2011.

Better yet, fewer shelter are animals are being euthanized. The ASPCA’s data analysis back in 2011 revealed that 2.7 million unclaimed shelter animals were killed each year. Today the annual death toll stands at roughly 1.5 million.

Finally, the ASPCA says, more “lost” pets that end up in shelters are reunited with their rightful owners today than in the past (approximately 710,000 per year now as compared to 649,000 in 2011).

Awareness plus action equals success

The ASPCA attributes the success to:

  • A significant change in the way Americans view companion animals
  • Changes in adoption procedures
  • Changes in certain laws
  • Changes in technology
  • Greater availability of affordable spay/neuter clinics
  • More assistance for people who struggle to care for their pets

Pet ownership is a responsibility, not a right

Clearly the reduction in the number of euthanized shelter animals is a huge step in the right direction. But there is still a long way to go until we get to the point where there are no needless deaths.

Finding a humane way to curb the feral animal population in the United States is also an ongoing concern.

In order to address both issues, people must realize that pet ownership is a responsibility. It is not a right. No one is entitled to have a dog, cat, puppy or kitten. In fact, there are some people who should never have dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, or any other pets, for that matter.

Companion animals rely on people for food, shelter, medical care, and most importantly, love. Providing all of that is a tremendous responsibility. But it’s worth it.

 

 

 

Federal appeals court sides with New York City on pet law

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By siding with New York City regarding a 2015 law that restricts pet sales, the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals took a big step towards protecting dogs, cats and their owners.

Eli, the In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot.
In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot Eli catching up on the latest news. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

According to recent reports, the law opposed by the New York Pet Welfare Association “said pet shops could only obtain dogs and cats from federally licensed breeders with clean recent animal welfare records, and could not sell dogs and cats at least eight weeks old and weighing two pounds unless they were sterilized.”

Proponents say the law promotes the sale of healthy dogs and cats. By stipulating that pets are spayed or neutered before they are sold, it helps ensure that they don’t add to the number of unwanted dogs and cats in the city by having puppies and kittens.

Two for two

The New York Pet Welfare Association (NYPWA) — which represents those most affected by the measure — has voiced strenuous objections, however. Specifically, it claims the 2015 law “unconstitutionally burdened commerce by favoring in-state animal rescuers and shelters over out-of-state breeders, and was pre-empted by state veterinary medicine laws.”

At the end of a 29-page document in which he summarized and analyzed the arguments made by both parties, Judge Edward Korman found the New York Pet Welfare Association’s claims lack merit.

“The Sourcing and Spay/Neuter Laws address problems of significant
importance to the City and its residents. It appears that the City has enforced them for more than a year, with no apparent ill effects,” Korman wrote. “Because the challenged laws are not preempted by either state or federal law, and do not offend the Commerce Clause, we Affirm the district court’s order dismissing NYPWA’s complaint.”

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York also sided with the city in a ruling issued two years ago.

Undaunted, the NYPWA is now considering another appeal. In the meantime, as a spokesman for New York City’s Law Department told the New York media, proponents are savoring their second victory.

“We are pleased that the court upheld this common sense legislation, which helps ensure that cats and dogs are humanely sourced and that consumers can make informed choices when bringing pets into their homes,” Nick Paolucci told Reuters.

New Jersey dog hoarding case will blow your mind

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It is simply mind-boggling. There’s just no other way to put it.

Last week, authorities in Monmouth County, New Jersey, reportedly rescued 276 dogs from one home. According to multiple media accounts, some of the dogs had never been outside, some were trapped in walls and some were literally having puppies.

“When the Monmouth County SPCA Law Enforcement Division realized that we were facing an historical hoarding event, we knew that we would need to call on all our partners in animal welfare, law enforcement and emergency responders,” the agency’s police chief and executive director Ross Licitra said.

Personnel from at least five separate animal rescue, animal welfare and law enforcement agencies rallied to the cause. But even with such a massive response, it took workers 15 hours to free all of the animals.

Help Wanted

The Monmouth SPCA is now turning to the community for help, and there are several ways you can do so.

Eli, the In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot.
In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot Eli catching up on the latest news. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

Even if you don’t live in New Jersey, you can donate to help cover the costs of caring for these dogs. You can find a link to a special donation page and additional information about where to send your payment here.

The agency is also welcoming inquires about fostering some of the dogs.

“Dogs in our care, especially in cases like this, have a much easier time adjusting to their new surroundings in a home environment rather than in a shelter,” the organization says.

If you live nearby and are interested in providing a temporary home for one of these dogs, you can send an email to: Fostering@monmouthcountyspca.org.

Finally, you can help by donating items on the shelter’s wish list. This list includes:

  • blankets
  • towels
  • sheets
  • small/medium dog crates
  • dog toys
  • Science Diet dog food
  • Purina One wet puppy food

For more information about where you can drop off your donations, click here.

Finally, the Monmouth County SPCA stresses that the dogs are not yet available for adoption and it will take at least one to two weeks to determine which, if any, will be.

“The dogs we currently have need to be medically cleared, spayed/neutered, and assessed behaviorally before they will be ready to meet potential adopters,” the agency says.

In the meantime, those of you who do live in or near Monmouth County are encouraged to meet some of the SPCA’s shelter animals currently available for adoption.

It’s Sad But True

According to the ASPCA, animal hoarding occurs when someone “is housing more animals than he or she can adequately care for.” Specifically, it is defined by “an inability to provide even minimal standards of nutrition, sanitation, shelter and veterinary care—often resulting in animal starvation, illness and death.”

While extreme hoarding cases make national headlines and grab our attention, the ASPCA says there as many as 900 to 2,000 new animal hoarding cases in the United States every year. Collectively, these incidents may involve as many as 250,000 animals of varying species.

For more information about animal hoarding, including warning signs and what to do if you suspect someone you know may be overwhelmed, click here.

And please remember that no one can save all of the companion animals in need of homes in the United States. But together we can make a big difference for a few.

By passing HB5344, CT lawmakers take a huge step forward

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Alexandra Bogdanovic
Founder/owner of In Brief Legal Writing Services, Alexandra Bogdanovic. Photo by N. Bogdanovic

I’ve heard a woman’s jewelry says a lot about her. It’s a reflection of her personal taste, style and even her socioeconomic status. Think about it. With one glance at a woman’s jewelry, you can tell if she is engaged, married, or if she has children — if you know what to look for. Sometimes you can also learn a lot about her interests, passions or hobbies.

For the last few months, I’ve worn two charms on two simple, sterling silver necklaces. One is a small black diamond charm in the shape of a paw. The other is a plain sterling silver gavel. Collectively, these simple pieces symbolize two of my greatest passions: animal welfare and justice.

Score One For The Good Guys

My interest in these subjects is both personal and professional. So I have been monitoring the progress of a Connecticut bill that I blogged about soon after it was introduced earlier this year. I am now thrilled to announce that the Connecticut legislators passed HB5344.

With Gov. Dannel Malloy’s signature, Public Act No. 16-30, An Act Concerning Support for Cats and Dogs that are Neglected or Treated Cruelly will take effect in October.

As it stands, the act allows for the appointment of a “separate advocate to represent the interest of justice” by court order or request in certain cases. Specifically, these appointments can be made in animal cruelty cases or any other criminal cases involving “the welfare or custody of a cat or dog.”

The advocate in such cases will be a lawyer or law school student who either specializes in or is interested in animal law. Once appointed, he or she will be responsible for:

  • Monitoring the case
  • Consulting with anyone who has pertinent information about the case
  • Attend hearings
  • Present relevant information or make recommendations to the court based on his or her findings

The Commissioner of Agriculture is tasked with keeping a list of volunteers interested in serving in this capacity. The inclusion of law school students is subject to existing rules regarding the practice of law.

What Does This Mean?

Simply stated, this means that dogs and cats who are  mistreated or neglected will have someone with specialized skills and knowledge looking out for them in court. It means that prosecutors and judges will have additional resources to aid in the successful resolution of animal cruelty cases. It means these cases will be less likely to slip through the cracks. Most importantly, it means the offenders are more likely to be convicted.