Connecticut State Bar Association Magazine Publishes Article by Quinnipiac SALDF President

Posted on December 11, 2008

Kerry Patton’s article entitled, “Justice for Animals: The State of the Law in Connecticut,” appears in the most recent issue of Connecticut Lawyer.

Here is an excerpt:

"Last January in Plainville, Severino Cruz took a drill to the head of a pit bull; the dog’s injuries were so grievous that she was later euthanized. Outrage to the incident echoed nationwide, and beyond.

On March 30th, a man invaded a home in New Britain. A woman was shot and wounded; she survived by falling to the floor and pretending to be dead. Her elderly friend was abducted, her body found two days later. Few media outlets beyond our borders reported on this incident.

Huh? Does our society value the life of an animal more than the life of a person? No, of course not. In fact, a Google search of “Severino Cruz” and “animal cruelty” turned up 276 hits, while a search matching the name of the accused New Britain murderer with “home invasion” turned up almost four times as many. But a look beyond those numbers is telling.

The first page of the home invasion search was full of news sites: local papers such as the Hartford Courant, the Republican-American, the Journal Inquirer; regional news outlets, including Newsday and WCBS-AM; with ABC News and USA Today representing a national reach. By contrast, while the animal cruelty search pages began with local news–WTNH, WTIC–what followed were mostly sites like, Animal Legal Defense Fund, and a series of private blogs, with names like “Vegan Represent,” “Dreamin’ Demon,” and “Revelations and Fables.”

Clearly, while the home invasion made news, the animal abuse inflamed passions. One wonders: What might the angry bloggers have posted had they read to the end of the Hartford Courant’s April 6th article on the New Britain case, where the accused’s half-sister was quoted as saying “from what I’m told, he was killing cats as a kid.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation noted the relationship between animal cruelty and human violence 30 years ago, when it began ranking animal abuse among indicators of likely future violent behavior. While general understanding has lagged, awareness of the issue has broadened steadily within the legal, child welfare, and animal rights communities. In the last decade there have been enough on-topic law review articles and commentaries sprinkled through general publications that a simple term has become commonplace: “the link.” Although “the link” is difficult todefine in black and white terms, it can be summarized as a recognition that while not all children who abuse pets and wildlife grow up to be adults who harm people, most violent grown-ups started out as kids who were a danger to animals."

A copy of the article can be found in its entirety on the Connecticut State Bar Association website here.

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