June 23, 2017

Bill to Protect Rescue Animals in Private Shelters One Step Closer to Becoming Law

State Rep. Robert Siegrist (R-36th)

AREAWIDE — On Wednesday, May 16, State Representative Robert Siegrist applauded the passage of House Bill 6334, which passed unanimously. The bill aims to improve conditions at brick and mortar private, non-profit animal shelters by requiring them to register with the Department of Agriculture (DoAg) and to comply with local zoning requirements.

“This legislation is a step in the right direction that will help prevent animals from being neglected and abused.  We must care for our furry friends with respect and treat them like our own family, they depend on us,” said Rep. Siegrist. “I would like to make it known that I do believe that the majority of Connecticut private, non-profit animal shelters provide exceptional service to the animals in their care. Most of these shelters are run by devoted staffers, but there are a few exceptions to this rule and this legislation addresses those few bad apples.”

Under the bill, DoAg must issue a registration to an applicant upon application and payment of a $50 fee if the applicant complies with applicable state regulations and, for an initial registration, municipal zoning requirements. A registration is effective until the second Dec. 31 following issuance, may be renewed biennially by Dec. 31, and may be transferred to another premise with the commissioner’s approval.

The bill authorizes the commissioner, or his agent, to inspect an animal shelter at any time. If, in his judgement, the shelter is not being maintained in a sanitary and humane manner that protects public safety, or if he finds that contagious, infectious, or communicable disease or other unsatisfactory conditions exist, he may fine the shelter up to $500 for each affected animal, issue orders necessary to correct the conditions, and quarantine the premises and animals.

In addition, if a shelter fails to comply with the commissioner’s regulations or orders or any state law relating to animals, the commissioner may revoke or suspend its registration. Anyone aggrieved by a commissioner’s order may appeal to Superior Court. Anyone operating a shelter without a valid registration is subject to a fine of up to $200.

This bill is supported by CT Votes for animals, ASPCA, the US and CT Humane Societies and Our Companions Animal Rescue.

House Bill 6334 now heads to the Senate, where it will need to be voted on by midnight on June 7.

Share