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House Bill No. 6066

Public Act No. 03-137

AN ACT AUTHORIZING MUNICIPAL ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICERS TO SPAY OR NEUTER ANIMALS IN THEIR CARE.

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

Section 1. Section 22-332 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

(a) The Chief Animal Control Officer, any animal 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 Animal 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 have a licensed veterinarian spay or neuter such dog and 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 and may have a licensed veterinarian spay or neuter such dog. 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 nor shall any licensed veterinarian who spays or neuters a dog pursuant to this section be held civilly liable, including, but not limited to, liability for reconstructive neutical implantation surgery.

(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. 2. Section 22-332d of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

(a) Any animal control officer for a municipality which has adopted an ordinance under subsection (b) of section 22-339d 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 Animal 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 have a licensed veterinarian spay or neuter any such cat and 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 and may have a licensed veterinarian spay or neuter such cat. 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 nor shall any licensed veterinarian who spays or neuters a cat pursuant to this section be held civilly liable, including, but not limited to, liability for reconstructive neutical implantation surgery.

(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.

Approved June 26, 2003