Connecticut Seal

Substitute Senate Bill No. 62

Public Act No. 04-241

AN ACT PROVIDING BENEFITS AND PROTECTION FOR VOLUNTEER CANINE SEARCH AND RESCUE MEMBERS.

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

Section 1. Section 5-249 of the general statutes, as amended by section 1 of public act 03-249, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2004):

(a) Any state employee who is an active volunteer firefighter or member of a volunteer ambulance service or company (1) may, with the authorization of such employee's appointing authority, be permitted to leave work in order to respond to fire calls or ambulance calls during such employee's regular hours of employment without loss of pay, vacation time, sick leave or earned overtime accumulation, or (2) shall be permitted to respond to such calls prior to reporting for work without such prior authorization and without loss of pay, vacation time, sick leave or earned overtime accumulation, provided in either case, if requested by such employee's appointing authority, such employee submits a written statement from the chief of the volunteer fire department or the medical director or chief administrator of the volunteer ambulance service or company verifying that such employee responded to a fire or ambulance call and specifying the date, time and duration of such response.

(b) Any state employee who is a certified disaster service volunteer of the American Red Cross may, with the authorization of such employee's supervisor, be granted a leave not to exceed fourteen days in each year to participate in specialized disaster relief services for the American Red Cross, upon the request of the American Red Cross, without loss of pay, vacation time, sick leave or earned overtime accumulation.

(c) Any state employee who is an active volunteer firefighter or member of a volunteer ambulance service or company may, with the authorization of such employee's appointing authority, be allowed to attend training sessions or drills during such employee's regular hours of employment without loss of pay, overtime accumulation or sick leave.

(d) Any state employee who is an active member of a volunteer canine search and rescue team (1) may, with the authorization of such employee's supervisor, be permitted to leave work in order to respond to search or rescue calls during such employee's regular hours of employment without loss of pay, vacation time, sick leave or earned overtime accumulation, or (2) shall be permitted to respond to such calls prior to reporting for work without such prior authorization and without loss of pay, vacation time, sick leave or earned overtime accumulation, provided in either case, if requested by such employee's supervisor, such employee submits a written statement from the chief of the police or fire department verifying that such employee responded to a search or rescue call and specifying the date, time and duration of such response. As used in this subsection, "volunteer canine search and rescue team" means an individual and a dog (A) appropriately trained and certified to engage in search and rescue operations by a nonprofit canine search and rescue organization that is a member of the National Association of Search and Rescue, or its successor organization, and (B) who jointly engage in such operations at the request of a police or fire department and provide services without compensation.

Sec. 2. Section 12-81w of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2004):

The legislative body of any municipality may establish, by ordinance, a program to provide property tax relief for the nonsalaried local director of civil preparedness and for individuals who volunteer their services as a firefighter, emergency medical technician, paramedic, civil preparedness staff, an active member of a volunteer canine search and rescue team, as defined in section 5-249, as amended by this act, or ambulance driver in the municipality. Such tax relief may provide either (1) an abatement of up to one thousand dollars in property taxes due for any fiscal year, or (2) an exemption applicable to the assessed value of real or personal property up to an amount equal to the quotient of one million dollars divided by the mill rate, in effect at the time of assessment, expressed as a whole number of dollars per one thousand dollars of assessed value. Any ordinance may authorize interlocal agreements for the purpose of providing property tax relief to such volunteers who live in one municipality but volunteer their services in another municipality.

Sec. 3. Section 53a-167c of the general statutes, as amended by section 1 of public act 03-6 and section 126 of public act 03-19, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2004):

(a) A person is guilty of assault of public safety or emergency medical personnel when, with intent to prevent a reasonably identifiable peace officer, firefighter or employee of an emergency medical service organization, as defined in section 53a-3, emergency room physician or nurse, employee of the Department of Correction, employee or member of the Board of Parole, probation officer, employee of the judicial branch assigned to provide pretrial secure detention and programming services to juveniles accused of the commission of a delinquent act, employee of the Department of Children and Families assigned to provide direct services to children and youth in the care or custody of the department, [or] employee of a municipal police department assigned to provide security at the police department's lockup and holding facility or active individual member of a volunteer canine search and rescue team, as defined in section 5-249, as amended by this act, from performing his or her duties, and while such peace officer, firefighter, employee, physician, nurse, member, [or] probation officer or active individual member is acting in the performance of his or her duties, (1) such person causes physical injury to such peace officer, firefighter, employee, physician, nurse, member, [or] probation officer or active individual member, or (2) such person throws or hurls, or causes to be thrown or hurled, any rock, bottle, can or other article, object or missile of any kind capable of causing physical harm, damage or injury, at such peace officer, firefighter, employee, physician, nurse, member, [or] probation officer or active individual member, or (3) such person uses or causes to be used any mace, tear gas or any like or similar deleterious agent against such peace officer, firefighter, employee, physician, nurse, member, [or] probation officer or active individual member, or (4) such person throws or hurls, or causes to be thrown or hurled, any paint, dye or other like or similar staining, discoloring or coloring agent or any type of offensive or noxious liquid, agent or substance at such peace officer, firefighter, employee, physician, nurse, member, [or] probation officer or active individual member, or (5) such person throws or hurls, or causes to be thrown or hurled, any bodily fluid including, but not limited to, urine, feces, blood or saliva at such peace officer, firefighter, employee, physician, nurse, member, [or] probation officer or active individual member.

(b) Assault of public safety or emergency medical personnel is a class C felony. If any person who is confined in an institution or facility of the Department of Correction is sentenced to a term of imprisonment for assault of an employee of the Department of Correction under this section, such term shall run consecutively to the term for which the person was serving at the time of the assault.

Sec. 4. Section 53-247 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2004):

(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 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, as amended, 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.

(d) Any person who intentionally injures 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, or intentionally injures a dog that is a member of a volunteer canine search and rescue team, as defined in section 5-249, as amended by this act, while such dog is in the performance of its duties under the supervision of the active individual member of such team, shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than five years or both.

[(d)] (e) 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, or intentionally kills a dog that is a member of a volunteer canine search and rescue team, as defined in section 5-249, as amended by this act, while such dog is in the performance of its duties under the supervision of the active individual member of such team, shall be fined not more than [five] ten thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than [five] ten years or both.

Sec. 5. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2004) (a) Any individual who is an active member of a volunteer canine search and rescue team, as defined in section 5-249 of the general statutes, as amended by this act, may travel on a train or on any other mode of public transportation, and may enter or visit any other place of public accommodation which caters or offers its services or facilities or goods to the general public, including, but not limited to, any public building, inn, restaurant, hotel, motel, tourist cabin, place of amusement, resort or any facility of any such public accommodation, accompanied by the dog in such team, and such individual may keep such dog with him or her at all times in any such public accommodation or facility thereof at no extra charge, provided such team is engaged in a search or rescue operation and such dog shall be in the direct custody of such individual and shall wear a harness or red or orange-colored identification. No such individual shall be charged any fee not applicable alike to all guests, provided the owner of such dog shall be liable for any damage done to the premises or facilities by such dog.

(b) Any person who denies the rights afforded to active individual members of a volunteer canine search and rescue team under subsection (a) of this section shall be guilty of a class C misdemeanor, provided such individual member complies with the applicable provisions of subsection (a) of this section.

Sec. 6. (NEW) (Effective from passage) Any sworn police officer employed by the state or a municipality who takes a leave of absence or resigns from such officer's employment to volunteer for participation in international peacekeeping operations, is selected for such participation by a company which the United States Department of State has contracted with to recruit, select, equip and deploy police officers for such peacekeeping operations, and participates in such peacekeeping operations under the supervision of the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe or other sponsoring organization, shall be entitled, upon return from such leave, (1) to be restored by such officer's employer to the position of employment held by the officer when the leave commenced, or (2) if the original position of employment is not available, to be restored to an equivalent position with equivalent employment benefits, pay and other terms and conditions of employment.

Approved on June 8, 2004