The Animal Legal Defense Fund supports this bill.
Sponsors: Rep. Dorinda Borer, (D-115); Rep. Craig C. Fishbein, (R-90)
An Act Concerning Cruelty to Animals will redefine the crime of sexual contact with an animal, require that veterinarians report suspected incidents of animal cruelty, and prohibit persons convicted of animal cruelty or having sexual contact with an animal from possessing or working with animals for a period of five years from the date of conviction or release from imprisonment for the offense, whichever is later.
- Post-Conviction Possession Bans
After a person is convicted of animal cruelty, the court may prohibit the defendant from owning or possessing any animal for a period of time. In many states, this prohibition is statutorily authorized or even mandated. These possession bans are one of the most effective ways to prevent repeat offenses. They restrict an abuser’s access to animals, drastically limiting the pool of potential victims. They also allow law enforcement to intervene quickly to protect at-risk animals. Read more.
- The Crime of Bestiality/Zoophilia
Sexual crimes against animals are not exceptional, isolated incidents. The case facts run a wide range – from individual animals assaulted by their owners in their homes, to organized bestiality events held at clandestine, often rural locations. Limited research available places these crimes in the context of what experts in animal abuse and criminal justice refer to as “The Link” — the well-documented connection between violence to animals and violence to humans. Read more.
- Veterinary Reporting
Veterinary reporting, as the name suggests, refers to laws requiring veterinarians to report suspected cruelty, and/or giving them civil immunity for reporting in good faith. Read more.
Why is this law important? An Act Concerning Cruelty to Animals establishes a post-conviction possession ban — one of the most effective ways to prevent repeat offenses. They restrict an abuser’s access to animals, drastically limiting the pool of potential victims. They also allow law enforcement to intervene quickly to protect at-risk animals.
The bill closes a loophole to effectively protect animals from sexual assault.
Additionally, it is necessary to ensure that those who sexually abuse animals can be held accountable. Animal sexual abuse can result in a variety of harms to the animal victim, including psychological trauma, physical injury, and death, and may coincide with other modes of exploitation. Veterinarians are often the only witnesses to the signs and symptoms of animal cruelty. These three upgrades to Connecticut’s laws align with the opportunities for improvement identified in the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s 2022 U.S. State Animal Protection Laws Rankings.
Coalition support: CT Votes for Animals