On June 28th, 2011, Connecticut HB 6226 was signed into law, becoming Public Act 11-194. The various components of the bill mandate the cross-reporting of animal cruelty and child abuse.
The bill requires an animal control officer who has reasonable cause to suspect that an animal observed in the course of the officer’s employment is being or has been harmed, neglected or treated cruelly, to make a written report to the Commissioner of Agriculture. The report shall be made by the officer as soon as practicable, but not later than 48 hours after the officer has filed the verified petition.
Not later than November 1, 2011, and monthly thereafter, the Commissioner of Agriculture shall send a report to the Commissioner of Children and Families containing all of the information received during the preceding month. Not later than one week after receiving this report, the Commissioner of Children and Families shall determine if any address provided in the report is an address where the Department of Children and Families has opened an investigation of a child pursuant to a report of abuse or neglect. If the Commissioner determines that there is an open investigation of a child at the same address as an address provided in the report, the Commissioner shall provide the department’s investigator with all relevant information from the report.
Furthermore, the bill provides that any employee of the Department of Children and Families who, in the course of his or her employment, has reasonable cause to suspect that an animal is being or has been harmed, neglected or treated cruelly, shall make an oral report to the Commissioner of Agriculture. A report shall be made as soon as practicable, but not later than 48 hours after the employee has reasonable cause to suspect that an animal has been harmed, neglected or treated cruelly.
Finally, the bill provides that not later than October 1, 2012, and annually thereafter, the Commissioner of Children and Families, in consultation with the Commissioner of Agriculture and within available appropriations, shall develop and implement training for Department of Children and Families’ employees concerning the identification of harm to, neglect of and cruelty toward animals and its relationship to child welfare case practice. In addition, the Commissioner of Children and Families shall, within available appropriations, make available to all animal control officers training concerning the accurate and prompt identification and reporting of child abuse and neglect.
All of these provisions become effective on October 1, 2011. Click here to compare this new law with other state laws mandating the cross reporting of animal cruelty and child abuse.