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Substitute House Bill No. 6226

Public Act No. 11-194

AN ACT CONCERNING CROSS-REPORTING OF CHILD ABUSE AND ANIMAL CRUELTY.

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

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2011) (a) Any animal control officer appointed pursuant to section 22-328, 22-331 or 22-331a of the general statutes, who (1) has reasonable cause to suspect that an animal observed in the course of the officer's employment is being or has been harmed, neglected or treated cruelly in violation of section 53-247 of the general statutes, and (2) files a verified petition with the Superior Court pursuant to section 22-329a of the general statutes, shall make a written report to the Commissioner of Agriculture in accordance with subsection (b) of this section.

(b) The report shall be made by the officer as soon as practicable, but not later than forty-eight hours after the officer has filed the verified petition. Each report shall contain, if known: (1) The address where the animal was observed and the name and address of the owner or other person responsible for care of the animal; (2) the name and a description of the animal; (3) the nature and extent of the harm, neglect or cruelty to the animal; (4) the approximate date and time such harm, neglect or cruelty occurred; (5) any information concerning any previous harm to, neglect of or cruelty toward the animal; (6) the circumstances under which such harm, neglect or cruelty came to be known by the officer; and (7) the name and address of every person the officer reasonably suspects to be responsible for such harm, neglect or cruelty.

(c) Not later than November 1, 2011, and monthly thereafter, the Commissioner of Agriculture shall send a report to the Commissioner of Children and Families containing all of the information received pursuant to subsection (b) of this section during the preceding month.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2011) Not later than one week after receiving a report pursuant to subsection (c) of section 1 of this act, the Commissioner of Children and Families shall determine if any address provided in said report is an address where the Department of Children and Families has opened an investigation of a child pursuant to a report of abuse or neglect made under chapter 319a of the general statutes. If the commissioner determines that there is an open investigation of a child at the same address as an address provided in said report, the commissioner shall provide the department's investigator with all relevant information from said report. The department shall include the information provided to the investigator in the department's record on the child.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2011) (a) Any employee of the Department of Children and Families who, in the course of his or her employment, has reasonable cause to suspect that an animal is being or has been harmed, neglected or treated cruelly in violation of section 53-247 of the general statutes shall make an oral report to the Commissioner of Agriculture in accordance with subsection (b) of this section.

(b) A report made pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall be made as soon as practicable, but not later than forty-eight hours after the employee has reasonable cause to suspect that an animal has been harmed, neglected or treated cruelly, and shall contain the following, if known: (1) The address where the animal was observed and the name and address of the owner or other person responsible for care of the animal; (2) the name and a description of the animal; (3) the nature and extent of the harm, neglect or cruelty to the animal; and (4) the approximate date and time such harm, neglect or cruelty was suspected.

(c) Not later than October 1, 2012, and annually thereafter, the Commissioner of Children and Families, in consultation with the Commissioner of Agriculture and within available appropriations, shall develop and implement training for Department of Children and Families' employees concerning the identification of harm to, neglect of and cruelty toward animals and its relationship to child welfare case practice.

Sec. 4. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2011) The Commissioner of Children and Families shall, within available appropriations, make available to all animal control officers training concerning the accurate and prompt identification and reporting of child abuse and neglect.

Approved July 13, 2011