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.