July 15, 2011
REP. URBAN’S BILL REQUIRING CROSS REPORTING OF CHILD ABUSE
AND ANIMAL CRUELTY SIGNED INTO LAW BY THE GOVERNOR
A landmark bill introduced by State Representative Diana Urban that would require the cross reporting of child abuse and animal cruelty was signed into law by Governor Malloy Wednesday, July 13th.
HB 6226, “An Act Concerning Cross Reporting Of Child Abuse And Animal Cruelty” now goes into effect October 1st.
“I am so thrilled to get this bill signed as it truly gets agencies working together to take animal cruelty seriously as a red flag for future violent behavior,” Rep. Urban said. “Statistics show us that when an animal is being abused in a household there is an 80 per cent chance that a child in the same household is also being abused. This bill sends a strong message that animal cruelty will be taken seriously in Connecticut.”
Rep. Urban’s bill requires state, regional and municipal control officers (ACOs) and Department of Children and Families (DCF) employees to report to the Department of Agriculture (DOAG) commissioner when they reasonably suspect that an animal is being treated cruelly or neglected. The agriculture commissioner must then forward the information from the ACOs to the DCF commissioner. The DCF commissioner will determine whether any address in an animal cruelty report corresponds to an address where there is an open investigation of a child.
Rep. Urban said, “It was wonderful to have the tireless help of our new DCF Commissioner Joette Katz and the strong support of Agriculture Commissioner Steven Reviczky. This law breaks new ground in the level of cooperation and sharing of information between these two agencies and really shows what good legislation can be accomplished when silos are broken down.”
Under the bill, when an animal control officer suspects that an animal has been harmed or treated cruelly in violation of the law, a petition must be filed with the Superior Court and must submit a report to the agriculture commissioner. DCF employees who suspect that an animal has been harmed must also report to the agriculture commissioner.
By October 1, 2012, the DCF commissioner must develop and implement training for DCF employees on identifying cruelty to animals and its relationship to child welfare case practice.
The DCF commissioner must also make training available to all animal control officers on the accurate and prompt identification and reporting of child abuse and neglect.
Rep. Urban is House Chair of the Select Committee on Children, serves on the Appropriations, Environment and Program Review and Investigations Committees and is Chair of the Appropriations Sub-Committee on Results Based Accountability.