Taken from The Humane Society of The United States
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SUPPORT of HB 5344, An Act Concerning Support for Animals that are Neglected or Treated Cruelly
What will HB 5344 do?
HB 5344 would establish a program for appointing an advocate for an animal that is the subject of a criminal court proceeding, and help to facilitate animal cruelty prosecutions by ensuring appropriate representation for the victims. The program is no-cost, discretionary, and under the Court’s supervision. Advocates will be pulled from a list of attorneys and law students with knowledge of the sociology of animal cruelty.
Why the need for HB 5344?
80% of cruelty offenses are not prosecuted or dismissed, and animal abuse needs to be taken seriously.
A 2015 research report by the Office of Legislative Research [2015-R-0262] describes procedural outcome of animal cruelty offenses from 2005 through October 26, 2015 [n=3,513]. Table 2 shows that 47% of offenses were nolled, 33% were dismissed, 2% resulted in findings of not quilty, and only 18% resulted in guilty findings.
These statistics are very concerning given what we know about the often escalating violence that can result from ignoring animal abuse. Research has established that there are strong links between violent behaviors toward humans and violent behaviors towards animals. The FBI recognizes this link, and now collects data on animal cruelty crimes via its National Incident-Based Reporting System [NIBRS].
The connection between animal abuse and criminal violence
A number of studies have drawn links between the abuse of animals and violence against people. A 2001-2004 study by the Chicago Police Department “revealed a startling propensity for offenders charged with crimes against animals to commit other violent offenses toward human victims.” Of those arrested for animal crimes, 65% had been arrested for battery against another person. Of 36 convicted multiple murders questioned in one study, 46% admitted committing acts of animal torture as adolescents. And of seven school shootings that took place across the country between 1997 and 2001, all involved boys who had previously committed acts of animal cruelty.
The connection between animal abuse and domestic abuse
Pet abuse is one of four predictors of domestic partner violence, according to a six-year “gold standard” study conducted in 11 metropolitan cities. In both domestic violence and child-abuse situations, abusers may manipulate and control their human victims through threatened or actual violence against family pets.
Researchers have found that over 70% of women entering domestic violence shelters reported that their partners had threatened, abused, or killed the family pet. Another study found that in families under supervision for physical abuse of their children, pet abuse was concurrent in 88% of the families.
Stopping animal abuse strengthens our communities
Reporting, investigating, and prosecuting animal cruelty can help take dangerous criminals off the streets. Police know that in homes where animal abuse is a problem, other issues are often concurrent. Acts of animal cruelty are linked to a variety of other crimes, including violence against people, property crimes, and drug or disorderly conduct offenses. Stopping animal abuse in children can help curb violent tendencies before they escalate to include violence against people.
More than a dozen states, including Connecticut, have cross-reporting laws; at least two dozen states have laws, including Connecticut, that allow courts to include pets in protection orders in domestic violence situations; and at least two dozen states, including Connecticut, have counseling provisions in their animal cruelty laws.
The mission of The Humane Society of the United States is to create a humane and sustainable world for all animals-a world that will also benefit people. We believe that promoting kindness and respect towards animals will help build a more humane and better functioning civil society.
Connecticut Senior State Director, The Humane Society of the United States
Cell: 860-966-5201 EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org