Substitute Senate Bill No. 1011

Public Act No. 01-87

AN ACT CONCERNING THE ANIMAL POPULATION CONTROL PROGRAM.

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

Section 1. Section 22-380e of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

As used in sections 22-380e to 22-380m, inclusive, as amended by this act:

(1) "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Agriculture;

(2) "Program" means the animal population control program;

(3) "Account" means the animal population control account;

(4) "Participating veterinarian" means any veterinarian who has been [approved as a participating veterinarian] certified to participate in the program by the commissioner;

(5) "Pound" means any state or municipal facility where impounded, quarantined or stray dogs and cats are kept or any veterinary hospital or commercial kennel where such dogs or cats are kept by order of a municipality; [and]

(6) "Eligible owner" means a person who has purchased or adopted a dog or cat from a pound and who is a resident of this state;

(7) "Medically unfit" means (A) unsuitable for a surgical procedure due to any medical condition that may place a dog or cat at life-threatening risk if a surgical procedure is performed on such animal, as determined by a participating veterinarian, or (B) unsuitable for sterilization due to insufficiency in age, as determined by a participating veterinarian, of a dog or cat under the age of six months;

(8) "Neuter" means the surgical procedure of castration on a male dog or cat;

(9) "Spay" means the surgical procedure of ovariohysterectomy on a female dog or cat; and

(10) "Voucher" means a nontransferable document provided by the commissioner and issued by a pound to an eligible owner authorizing payment of a predetermined amount from the animal population control account to a participating veterinarian.

Sec. 2. Section 22-380f of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

No pound shall sell or give away any unspayed or unneutered dog or cat to any person unless such pound receives forty-five dollars [, of which twenty dollars may be refunded pursuant to this section,] from the person buying or adopting such dog or cat. [A nonrefundable payment of twenty-five dollars shall be required for the purchase or adoption of any unspayed or unneutered dog or cat by a bona fide animal rescue or adoption organization or any representative of any such organization.] Funds received pursuant to this section shall be paid quarterly by the [pound] municipality into the animal population control account established under section 22-380g, as amended by this act. At the time of receipt of such payment, the pound shall provide a [certificate] voucher, for the purpose of sterilization and vaccination benefits, as provided in section 22-380i, as amended by this act, to the person buying or adopting such dog or cat. Such [certificate] voucher shall be on a form provided by the commissioner and signed by the eligible owner. [If such certificate is returned to the commissioner within thirty days of the adoption or purchase of the dog or cat and is signed by a licensed veterinarian, stating that such dog or cat has been spayed or neutered and specifying the date on which the operation was performed or that such dog or cat is medically unfit for such surgery, the commissioner shall refund twenty dollars to the person who purchased or adopted the animal. If such certificate is not returned to the commissioner because the person who purchased or adopted the dog or cat failed to have such dog or cat spayed or neutered, the payment shall be considered forfeited and shall be retained in the animal population control account established pursuant to section 22-380g. In the case of any dog or cat which is temporarily unfit for surgery or a dog or cat under the age of six months, such certificate shall specify a date by which such dog or cat may be fit for such surgery and the person who purchased or adopted such dog or cat shall have thirty days from that date to return the certificate for the refund provided for in this section.] Such voucher shall become void after sixty days from the date of adoption unless a participating veterinarian certifies that the dog or cat is medically unfit for surgery. Such certification shall be on a form provided by the commissioner and specify a date by which such dog or cat may be fit for sterilization. If the surgery is performed more than thirty days after such specified date, the voucher shall become void. In the case of a dog or cat that has been previously sterilized or is permanently medically unfit for sterilization, as determined by a participating veterinarian, the voucher shall be void and the eligible owner may apply to the commissioner for a refund in the amount of forty-five dollars.

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] that may contain any moneys required by law to be deposited in the account [. Any] and 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, and (3) create a standard dog licensing form and distribute said form to veterinarians who voluntarily agree to make such forms available for the convenience of dog owners. The commissioner may set aside up to forty thousand dollars for each fiscal year for the purpose of providing assistance to charitable programs for the sterilization and vaccination of feral cats.

(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 22-339d.

(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] three hundred thousand dollars. The commissioner may reinstate the program when such amount exceeds [four] three hundred thousand dollars.

Sec. 4. Section 22-380h of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) Any veterinarian licensed pursuant to section 20-199 may file with the commissioner, on forms [prescribed] provided by the commissioner, an application to become a participating veterinarian in the program. [and, in addition to providing any other information requested by the commissioner, shall provide with such application, an animal sterilization fee schedule which shall list the fees such veterinarian charges for animal sterilizations in the normal course of business.]

(b) In order to be certified by the commissioner as a participating veterinarian, the veterinarian shall: (1) Perform all spay and neuter surgical procedures in a veterinary hospital facility or mobile clinic equipped for such procedures located in this state that meets the standards set forth in regulations adopted by the commissioner, as provided in section 20-196; (2) make all records pertaining to care provided, work done and fees received for or in connection with the program available for inspection by the commissioner or the commissioner's representative; (3) maintain records in accordance with regulations adopted under section 19a-14; and (4) hold a currently valid license to practice veterinary medicine in this state issued by the Connecticut Department of Public Health.

(c) Any licensed veterinarian of this state may be certified by the commissioner as a participating veterinarian unless the commissioner disqualifies such veterinarian. [Any such certification shall be for a period of one year and may be renewed annually. The fee schedule submitted pursuant to this section shall be valid for such period of certification.] The commissioner may disqualify a veterinarian [if he finds that the fee charged by such veterinarian for sterilization is unreasonable or] if such veterinarian has been found in violation of any provision of sections 22-380e to 22-380m, inclusive, as amended by this act, or any laws relating to the practice of veterinary medicine. Any veterinarian disqualified or otherwise denied participation in the program may appeal, within ten days of receipt of a notice of such disqualification or denial, to the commissioner who shall hold a hearing to consider such appeal, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54. [The commissioner shall adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, providing standards for approval of participating veterinarians under this section.]

(d) Complaints received by the commissioner or the commissioner's representative regarding services provided by participating veterinarians shall be referred to the Board of Veterinary Medicine of the Department of Public Health.

Sec. 5. Section 22-380i of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) The program established under section 22-380g, as amended by this act, shall provide for [a] payment to any participating veterinarian [in] of an amount equivalent to [eighty per cent of the fee charged] the voucher issued pursuant to section 22-380f, as amended by this act, for each animal sterilization and vaccinations, coincident with sterilization, performed by such veterinarian upon a dog or cat owned by an eligible owner. [Such veterinarian shall be paid by the commissioner upon the submission of an animal sterilization certificate, on a form prescribed by the commissioner, signed by the participating veterinarian and the owner of the dog or cat, for each sterilization performed.] For a sterilization procedure, such voucher shall be in the amount of one hundred twenty dollars for a female dog, one hundred dollars for a male dog, seventy dollars for a female cat and fifty dollars for a male cat. In the case of a sterilization fee exceeding the amount of the voucher, the eligible owner shall pay the participating veterinarian the difference between such fee and the amount of the voucher. Such voucher shall be in the amount of twenty dollars, in addition to the amount designated for sterilization, for vaccinations coincident with the sterilization of a dog or cat owned by an eligible owner.

(b) The program established under section 22-380g, as amended by this act, shall further provide for a payment to any participating veterinarian for the presurgical immunization of dogs against rabies, distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis and parvovirus, or the presurgical immunization of cats against rabies, feline panleukopenia, calici, pneumonitis and rhinotracheitis, as the case may be, on animals not previously immunized. The payment shall be for no more than ten dollars for each immunization procedure and, in any case, not more than twenty dollars for one animal. Such veterinarian shall be paid by the commissioner upon the submission of a [certificate] voucher, to be provided by the commissioner and signed by the veterinarian performing such operation and by the owner, stating that the animal has been immunized coincident with a spaying or neutering operation under the program.

(c) The participating veterinarian shall be paid by the commissioner for sterilization and coincident vaccinations of a dog or cat owned by an eligible owner upon submission of the voucher issued pursuant to section 22-380f, as amended by this act, and signed by such veterinarian.

Sec. 6. Section 22-380j of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

In the event that any person who submits any cat or dog for spaying or neutering to a participating veterinarian fails to retrieve such cat or dog within the time recommended by such participating veterinarian, such veterinarian shall transfer custody of such dog or cat to a [canine] state animal control officer, regional animal control officer or a municipal animal control officer, as defined in section 22-327. No participating veterinarian who has performed services provided for in sections 22-380e to 22-380m, inclusive, as amended by this act, shall be denied payment from the [fund] account due to any failure of an owner of a dog or cat to retrieve such dog or cat.

Approved June 6, 2001