By passing HB5344, CT lawmakers take a huge step forward

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.
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.

There ought to be a law…

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

Dateline — Greenwich, Conn. As I write this, a winter storm is raging.

The aftermath of a December snow storm in Greenwich, Conn. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic
“Just Another Snow Storm.” Greenwich, Conn., December 2010. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

Howling wind. Freezing rain. Sleet. Ice. Snow. You name it, we’ve got it. Or we’re going to get it before the day is over.  And then I will spend my birthday cleaning up the mess.

For now I am safe and warm and dry. In fact, I am tucked up on the couch with my favorite fuzzy green blanket and laptop for warmth. The TV is on in the background, providing me with the details from the third Premier League football match of the day. Across the Pond, West Ham is leading Manchester City, 2-1, but I’m hardly invested in the outcome. I’ve got other stuff on my mind.

It suddenly dawned on me while channel surfing between games that there ought to be a law on days like this. Make that several. First of all, there ought to be a law against extensive TV storm coverage. We get it. It’s snowing. It’s windy. It’s cold. Newsflash: it’s winter.

There ought to be a law against any politicians commenting on a storm. What in God’s name do you have to say that we don’t already know? Personally, if I want to know about the weather, I can look out the window. Peering through the glass, I can also tell if the roads have been plowed, or if my neighborhood has been affected by a power outage. Based on personal observation, I can also make an educated guess about storm impacts on local, regional and national transportation. Believe it or not, I can rely on common sense to decide whether or not it’s safe to travel.

Black and white photograph of New York Police Department barriers taken by Alexandra Bogdanovic
NYPD barriers. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

There ought to be a law against snowplows shoving all the ice, sleet, slush and snow into private driveways. I don’t care where you put it. If you can’t think of an alternate location, I’ve got a few suggestions…

There ought to be a law against idiots in sports utility vehicles, or any 4-wheel drive vehicles for that matter. Just because you’ve allegedly got better traction doesn’t mean you can stop on a dime in slippery conditions. In case you haven’t figured it out, the  added height of most SUVs equals a higher center of gravity. Turn that steering wheel abruptly at an unsafe speed and I guarantee you will flip your SUV or end up in a ditch.

There ought to be a law against rude and inconsiderate behavior. Calm down. Relax. It’s just another winter storm. It is not the end of the world. Or is it?