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Substitute House Bill No. 5801

PUBLIC ACT NO. 96-243

AN ACT CONCERNING FERAL CATS, BENGAL CATS, VETERINARY HOSPITALS, VICIOUS DOGS, CRUELTY TO ANIMALS, DAMAGE TO PROPERTY BY ANIMALS, DRUG TESTING OF ANIMALS IN DRAWING CONTESTS, VACCINATION OF DOGS AND CATS AND IMPOUNDMENT OF ANIMALS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (a) A municipality may adopt an ordinance requiring the registration, within one year of the adoption of such ordinance, of keepers of feral cats in residential or commercial areas. Such ordinance shall require that any such keeper shall register with the animal control officer for such municipality who shall provide information to the registrant regarding the proper care and management of feral cats. For purposes of this section, "feral cat" means a free-roaming domestic cat which is not owned and "keeper" means any person or organization, harboring, regularly feeding or having in his or its possession any feral cat. Refusal to permit any animal control officer to impound a feral cat shall be deemed evidence of keeping. Such ordinance shall require that such keepers shall provide for the vaccination of such cats against rabies and the sterilization of such cats. Such keeper shall be considered an eligible owner for purposes of the animal population control program established under sections 22-380e to 22-380m, inclusive, of the general statutes, provided such cats are adopted from a municipal pound.

(b) A municipality may adopt an ordinance providing that no person owning or keeping any cat shall permit such animal to (1) substantially damage property other than the property of the owner or keeper or (2) cause an unsanitary, dangerous or unreasonably offensive condition. Violation of such provision shall be an infraction.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (a) Any animal control officer for a municipality which has adopted an ordinance under subsection (b) of section 1 of this act may take into custody any cat found to be damaging property other than property of its owner or keeper or causing an unsanitary, dangerous or unreasonably offensive condition unless such cat can be identified as under the care of its owner or a registered keeper of feral cats. The officer shall impound such cat at the pound serving the town where the cat is taken unless, in the opinion of a licensed veterinarian, the cat is so injured or diseased that it should be destroyed immediately, in which case the municipal animal control officer of such town may cause the cat to be mercifully killed by a licensed veterinarian or disposed of as the State Veterinarian may direct. The municipal animal control officer shall immediately notify the owner or keeper of any cat so taken, if known, of its impoundment. If the owner or keeper of any such cat is unknown, the officer shall immediately tag or employ such other suitable means of identification of the cat as may be approved by the Chief Canine Control Officer and shall promptly cause a description of such cat to be published once in the lost and found column of a newspaper having a circulation in such town.

(b) If such cat is not claimed by and released to the owner within seven days after the date of publication, the municipal animal control officer, upon finding such cat to be in satisfactory health, may sell such cat to any person who satisfies such officer that he is purchasing it as a pet and that he can give it a good home and proper care. The municipal animal control officer may retain possession of such cat for such additional period of time as he may deem advisable in order to place such cat as a pet. If, within such period, any cat is not claimed by and released to the owner or keeper or purchased as a pet, the officer shall cause such cat to be mercifully killed by a licensed veterinarian or disposed of as the State Veterinarian may direct. No person who so destroys a cat shall be held criminally or civilly liable therefor.

(c) Any cat captured or impounded under the provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall be redeemed by the owner or keeper thereof, or the agent of such owner or keeper, upon proper identification, and presentation to the municipal animal control officer of a license, tag or other means of identification for such cat, and upon the payment by such owner or keeper or his agent of (1) the redemption fee established by the municipality, which shall not exceed fifteen dollars, and (2) the cost of advertising incurred under the provisions of subsection (a) of this section. When the owner or keeper of any such impounded cat fails to redeem such cat within twenty-four hours after receiving notification to do so, or, where the owner was unknown, within twenty-four hours after notification was effected by means of publication in a newspaper, such owner or keeper shall pay, in addition to such redemption fee and the cost of advertising, the amount determined by the municipality to be the full cost of detention and care of such impounded cat. In addition, any owner or keeper of any such impounded cat who fails to redeem such cat within one hundred twenty hours after receiving notification to do so shall have committed an infraction. The legislative body of the municipality shall set any fees imposed by the municipality under this section.

Sec. 3. Section 22-380g of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) The Commissioner of Agriculture shall (1) establish an animal population control program to provide for spaying and neutering services to eligible owners of dogs and cats, and (2) establish an account to be known as the "animal population control account". The account may contain any moneys required by law to be deposited in the account. Any balance remaining in said account at the end of any fiscal year shall be carried forward in said account for the fiscal year next succeeding.

(b) The commissioner may solicit and accept funds from any public or private source of help to carry out the goals of the program INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE STERILIZATION OF FERAL CATS AS PROVIDED IN SECTION 1 OF THIS ACT.

(c) Any revenue collected pursuant to the provisions of sections 22-380f and 22-380l shall be deposited in the animal population control account. All money in the account shall be used by the commissioner exclusively for the implementation and promotion of the program and for the costs associated with the administration of the program provided not more than one hundred eighty thousand dollars may be expended for administrative costs per year.

(d) The commissioner may suspend the program at any time that the amount of money available in the account is less than four hundred thousand dollars. The commissioner may reinstate the program when such amount exceeds four hundred thousand dollars.

Sec. 4. Section 22-335 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

Any municipal animal control officer may be removed by the authority which appointed him or by the commissioner, and a successor may be appointed by such authority or commissioner. Any owner of a dog OR CAT aggrieved by the taking of such dog OR CAT by a municipal animal control officer may make complaint to the appointing authority of such municipal animal control officer or to the commissioner; and if, upon investigation of the complaint, the authority or the commissioner finds that the municipal animal control officer took the dog OR CAT otherwise than in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, or abused or cruelly treated the dog OR CAT, the authority or the commissioner may remove the officer and appoint his successor.

Sec. 5. Section 26-40a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

For the purposes of this section, the following shall be considered as potentially dangerous animals: The felidae, including the lion, leopard, cheetah, jaguar, ocelot, jaguarundi cat, puma, lynx and bobcat; the canidae, including the wolf and coyote; and the ursidae, including the black bear, grizzly bear and brown bear. No person shall possess a potentially dangerous animal. Any such animal illegally possessed may be ordered seized and may be disposed of as determined by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection. Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars for each offense. The provisions of this section shall not apply to municipal parks, zoos and nature centers, or museums, laboratories and research facilities maintained by scientific or educational institutions TO A PERSON POSSESSING A BENGAL CAT CERTIFIED BY AN INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNIZED MULTIPLE-CAT DOMESTIC FELINE BREEDING ASSOCIATION AS BEING WITHOUT WILD PARENTAGE FOR A MINIMUM OF FOUR PRIOR GENERATIONS WHICH CAT WAS REGISTERED WITH THE COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE ON OR BEFORE OCTOBER 1, 1996, PROVIDED NO SUCH CAT MAY BE IMPORTED INTO THIS STATE AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS ACT or to persons possessing animals legally on or before May 23, 1983. IN ANY ACTION TAKEN BY ANY OFFICIAL OF THE STATE OR ANY MUNICIPALITY TO CONTROL RABIES, A BENGAL CAT SHALL BE CONSIDERED NOT VACCINATED FOR RABIES IN ACCORDANCE WITH ACCEPTED VETERINARY PRACTICE.

Sec. 6. Subsection (b) of section 49-70 of the general statutes, as amended by section 3 of public act 95-358, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(b) A commercial kennel, as defined in section 22-327, OR A VETERINARY HOSPITAL WHICH BOARDS OR GROOMS ANIMALS FOR NONMEDICAL PURPOSES may transfer any abandoned [dog or cat] ANIMAL in its custody to a nonprofit animal rescue or adoption organization which annually places ten or more [dogs or cats] ANIMALS in private homes as pets. [A dog or cat] AN ANIMAL shall be considered abandoned if the owner or keeper of such animal fails to retrieve the animal within [fifteen] FIVE days of the date on which such owner or keeper was scheduled to retrieve the animal. Prior to transferring such [dog or cat] ANIMAL, such kennel OR VETERINARY HOSPITAL shall give notice of its intention to do so to the owner or keeper at his last-known address by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, and shall allow a period of [fifteen] TEN days to elapse after the receipt is returned before transferring such animal. Each such commercial kennel AND VETERINARY HOSPITAL shall post in a visible location the procedures provided for in this subsection and shall give a written notice of such procedures to any person who boards [a dog or cat] AN ANIMAL at such kennel OR WITH SUCH VETERINARY HOSPITAL. Any nonprofit organization which receives [a dog or cat] AN ANIMAL in accordance with the provisions of this subsection shall not be liable in any civil action brought by the previous owner or keeper of such animal for any subsequent transfer or disposal of such animal by such organization.

Sec. 7. Subdivision (7) of section 53a-3 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(7) "Dangerous instrument" means any instrument, article or substance which, under the circumstances in which it is used or attempted or threatened to be used, is capable of causing death or serious physical injury, and includes a "vehicle" as that term is defined in this section AND INCLUDES A DOG THAT HAS BEEN COMMANDED TO ATTACK, EXCEPT A DOG OWNED BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY OF THE STATE OR ANY POLITICAL SUBDIVISION THEREOF OR OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WHEN SUCH DOG IS IN THE PERFORMANCE OF ITS DUTIES UNDER THE DIRECT SUPERVISION, CARE AND CONTROL OF AN ASSIGNED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER.

Sec. 8. Section 53-247 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) Any person who overdrives, drives when overloaded, overworks, tortures, deprives of necessary sustenance, mutilates or cruelly beats or kills or unjustifiably injures any animal, or who, having impounded or confined any animal, fails to give such animal proper care or neglects to cage or restrain any such animal from doing injury to itself or to another animal or fails to supply any such animal with wholesome air, food and water, or unjustifiably administers any poisonous or noxious drug or substance to any domestic animal or unjustifiably exposes any such drug or substance, with intent that the same shall be taken by an animal, or causes it to be done, or, having charge or custody of any animal, inflicts cruelty upon it or fails to provide it with proper food, drink or protection from the weather or abandons it or carries it or causes it to be carried in a cruel manner, [or sets on foot, instigates, promotes or carries on or performs any act as assistant, umpire or principal in, or is a witness of, or in any way aids in or engages in the furtherance of, any fight between cocks or other birds, dogs or other animals, premeditated by any person owning, or having custody of, such birds or animals,] or fights with or baits, harasses or worries any animal for the purpose of making it perform for amusement, diversion or exhibition, shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than one year or both.

(b) ANY PERSON WHO MALICIOUSLY AND INTENTIONALLY MAIMS, MUTILATES, TORTURES, WOUNDS OR KILLS AN ANIMAL SHALL BE FINED NOT MORE THAN FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS OR IMPRISONED NOT MORE THAN FIVE YEARS OR BOTH. THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBSECTION SHALL NOT APPLY TO ANY LICENSED VETERINARIAN WHILE FOLLOWING ACCEPTED STANDARDS OF PRACTICE OF THE PROFESSION OR TO ANY PERSON WHILE FOLLOWING APPROVED METHODS OF SLAUGHTER UNDER SECTION 22-272a, WHILE PERFORMING MEDICAL RESEARCH AS AN EMPLOYEE OF, STUDENT IN OR PERSON ASSOCIATED WITH ANY HOSPITAL, EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION OR LABORATORY, WHILE FOLLOWING GENERALLY ACCEPTED AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES OR WHILE LAWFULLY ENGAGED IN THE TAKING OF WILDLIFE.

(c) ANY PERSON WHO KNOWINGLY (1) OWNS, POSSESSES, KEEPS OR TRAINS AN ANIMAL ENGAGED IN AN EXHIBITION OF FIGHTING FOR AMUSEMENT OR GAIN, (2) POSSESSES, KEEPS OR TRAINS AN ANIMAL WITH THE INTENT THAT IT BE ENGAGED IN AN EXHIBITION OF FIGHTING FOR AMUSEMENT OR GAIN, (3) PERMITS AN ACT DESCRIBED IN SUBDIVISION (1) OR (2) OF THIS SUBSECTION TO TAKE PLACE ON PREMISES UNDER HIS CONTROL, (4) ACTS AS JUDGE OR SPECTATOR AT AN EXHIBITION OF ANIMAL FIGHTING FOR AMUSEMENT OR GAIN, OR (5) BETS OR WAGERS ON THE OUTCOME OF AN EXHIBITION OF ANIMAL FIGHTING FOR AMUSEMENT OR GAIN, SHALL BE FINED NOT MORE THAN FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS OR IMPRISONED NOT MORE THAN FIVE YEARS OR BOTH.

[(b)](d) Any person who intentionally kills any animal while such animal is in the performance of its duties under the supervision of a peace officer, as defined in section 53a-3, shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than five years or both.

Sec. 9. (NEW) The owner or keeper of a dog shall restrain and control such dog on a leash when such dog is not on the property of its owner or keeper and is in proximity to a blind, deaf or mobility impaired person accompanied by his guide dog, provided the guide dog is in the direct custody of such blind, deaf or mobility impaired person, is wearing a harness or an orange-colored leash and collar which makes it readily-identifiable as a guide dog and is licensed in accordance with section 22-345 of the general statutes. Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall have committed an infraction.

Sec. 10. (NEW) Any person who intentionally or recklessly releases a domestic animal that enters upon the real property of another person and causes damage to such real property in an amount in excess of one hundred dollars, shall have committed an infraction.

Sec. 11. Section 22-364 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) No owner or keeper of any dog shall allow such dog to roam at large upon the land of another and not under control of the owner or keeper or the agent of the owner or keeper, nor allow such dog to roam at large on any portion of any public highway and not attended or under control of such owner or keeper or his agent, provided nothing in this [section] SUBSECTION shall be construed to limit or prohibit the use of hunting dogs during the open hunting or training season. The unauthorized presence of any dog on the land of any person other than the owner or keeper of such dog or on any portion of a public highway when such dog is not attended by or under the control of such owner or keeper, shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of the provisions of this [section] SUBSECTION. Violation of any provision of this [section] SUBSECTION shall be an infraction.

(b) ANY OWNER OR KEEPER OF ANY DOG WHO, KNOWING OF THE VICIOUS PROPENSITIES OF SUCH DOG AND HAVING VIOLATED THE PROVISIONS OF SUBSECTION (a) OF THIS SECTION WITHIN THE PRECEDING YEAR, INTENTIONALLY OR RECKLESSLY VIOLATES THE PROVISIONS OF SUBSECTION (a) OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE FINED NOT MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS OR IMPRISONED NOT MORE THAN SIX MONTHS, OR BOTH, IF SUCH DOG, WHILE ROAMING AT LARGE, CAUSES PHYSICAL INJURY TO ANOTHER PERSON AND SUCH OTHER PERSON WAS NOT TEASING, TORMENTING OR ABUSING SUCH DOG.

Sec. 12. Section 22-126a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

The Commissioner of Agriculture at the request and expense of the authority in charge of any animal drawing contest, shall provide for the administration of a program to test, immediately before or after a drawing contest, for the presence of drugs in any animals participating in such contest. The authority may charge the owner of the animal being tested for the cost of such test. THE COMMISSIONER MAY, WITHIN AVAILABLE APPROPRIATIONS, ON HIS OWN INITIATIVE AND AT STATE EXPENSE TEST ANIMALS PARTICIPATING IN SUCH CONTEST ON A RANDOM BASIS FOR THE PRESENCE OF DRUGS. The authority in charge of such contest shall provide well-lighted facilities, removed from the public, for the administration of such test. The owner of any animal being so tested shall provide assistance and proper restraint for confining such animal for and during the administration of such test. If the animal continues to resist the test after restraint is applied and the person administering the test determines a danger exists to the animal or persons present at the test, an alternative test shall be administered. No prize money shall be paid until the result of the test is known. If any such test reveals the presence of a drug in any such animal, such animal shall be disqualified to participate in such contest, shall be ineligible to receive any prize money awarded in such contest and such animal shall be barred from participating in any such contest held in this state for a period of one year from the date of receipt by the commissioner of the results of the test. The owner of any such animal shall be barred from entering any other animal in any such contest held in this state for a period of not less than one year nor more than two years at the commissioner's discretion from the date of receipt by the commissioner of the results of the test for the first finding of the presence of a drug and for a period of not less than two years nor more than three years at the commissioner's discretion for a second such finding. The owner of any such animal shall reimburse the authority in charge of such animal drawing contest OR THE STATE, AS THE CASE MAY BE for the expense of such test. The owner may appeal, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, any action by the commissioner authorized by this section. As used in this section, "drug" means any medication, stimulant, depressant, hypnotic or narcotic used in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease in man or other animals.

Sec. 13. Section 22-339b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

Any owner or keeper of a dog or cat of the age of three months or older shall have such dog or cat vaccinated against rabies. Any animal vaccinated prior to one year of age or receiving a primary rabies vaccine at any age shall be considered protected for only one year and shall be given a booster vaccination one year after the initial vaccination and shall be vaccinated at least every three years thereafter. Those animals revaccinated after one year of age shall be given booster vaccinations at least every three years thereafter. Proof of vaccination shall be a certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian in accordance with subsection (a) of section 22-339c. ANY VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE AN INFRACTION.

Sec. 14. Section 22-354 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

Any dog or cat imported into this state shall be accompanied by a certificate of health issued by a licensed, graduate veterinarian stating that such dog or cat is free from symptoms of any infectious, contagious or communicable disease, that such dog or cat [4m, [0m [has been found not to have been exposed to rabies within one hundred days prior to its importation into this state and that such dog or cat,] if three months of age or older, [has been vaccinated with rabies vaccine by an approved veterinarian not more than twelve months prior to such importation] IS CURRENTLY VACCINATED FOR RABIES BY A LICENSED VETERINARIAN. A copy of such health certificate shall be forwarded promptly to the commissioner from the livestock sanitary official of the state of origin. Any dog or cat originating from a rabies quarantine area must have permission of the State Veterinarian prior to importation into this state. No person, firm or corporation shall import or export for the purposes of sale or offering for sale any dog or cat under the age of eight weeks unless such dog or cat is transported with its dam and no person, firm or corporation shall sell within the state any dog or cat under the age of eight weeks. Any person, firm or corporation violating the provisions of this section or bringing any dog or cat into this state from an area under quarantine for rabies shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days or both.

Sec. 15. Section 22-332 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) The Chief Canine Control Officer, any canine control officer or any municipal animal control officer shall be responsible for the enforcement of this chapter and shall make diligent search and inquiry for any violation of any of its provisions. Any such officer may take into custody (1) any dog found roaming in violation of the provisions of section 22-364, (2) any dog not having a tag or plate on a collar about its neck or on a harness on its body as provided by law or which is not confined or controlled in accordance with the provisions of any order or regulation relating to rabies issued by the commissioner in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, or (3) any dog found injured on any highway, neglected, abandoned or cruelly treated. The officer shall impound such dog at the pound serving the town where the dog is taken unless, in the opinion of a licensed veterinarian, the dog is so injured or diseased that it should be destroyed immediately, in which case the municipal animal control officer of such town may cause the dog to be mercifully killed by a licensed veterinarian or disposed of as the State Veterinarian may direct. The municipal animal control officer shall immediately notify the owner or keeper of any dog so taken, if known, of its impoundment. SUCH OFFICER SHALL IMMEDIATELY NOTIFY THE OWNER OR KEEPER OF ANY OTHER ANIMAL WHICH IS TAKEN INTO CUSTODY, IF SUCH OWNER OR KEEPER IS KNOWN. If the owner or keeper of any such dog OR OTHER ANIMAL is unknown, the officer shall immediately tag or employ such other suitable means of identification of the dog OR OTHER ANIMAL as may be approved by the Chief Canine Control Officer and shall promptly cause a description of such dog OR OTHER ANIMAL to be published once in the lost and found column of a newspaper having a circulation in such town.

(b) If such dog OR OTHER ANIMAL is not claimed by and released to the owner within seven days after the date of publication, the municipal animal control officer, upon finding such dog OR OTHER ANIMAL to be in satisfactory health, may sell such dog OR OTHER ANIMAL to any person who satisfies such officer that he is purchasing it as a pet and that he can give it a good home and proper care. The municipal animal control officer may retain possession of such dog OR OTHER ANIMAL for such additional period of time as he may deem advisable in order to place such dog OR OTHER ANIMAL as a pet. If, within such period, any dog OR OTHER ANIMAL is not claimed by and released to the owner or keeper or purchased as a pet, the officer shall cause such dog OR OTHER ANIMAL to be mercifully killed by a licensed veterinarian or disposed of as the State Veterinarian may direct. Any veterinarian who so destroys a dog shall be paid from the dog fund account. No person who so destroys a dog OR OTHER ANIMAL shall be held criminally or civilly liable therefor.

(c) The town treasurer or other fiscal officer shall pay from the dog fund account the advertising expense incurred under the provisions of this section upon receipt of an itemized statement together with a copy of the advertisement as published. Any person who purchases a dog as a pet shall pay a fee of five dollars and procure a license and tag for such dog from the town clerk, in accordance with the provisions of section 22-338.

Sec. 16. This act shall take effect from its passage, except that sections 1 to 4, inclusive, shall take effect October 1, 1996.

Approved June 6, 1996. Effective as provided in section 16.

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