PA 07-59—SB 1079

Environment Committee

Planning and Development Committee

Judiciary Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING DOGS THAT ATTACK DOMESTIC ANIMALS OR LIVESTOCK

SUMMARY: This act creates a process to address dogs that damage people's pets and other animals that is similar to the law's process for dogs and other animals that bite people. It requires (1) anyone whose animal is attacked by a dog to report the incident to an animal control officer (ACO) and (2) the ACO to investigate. The act allows the Department of Agriculture (DOAG) commissioner or an ACO to make any order concerning the restraint or disposal of such an attacking dog after an ACO investigates.

Under the act, if the owner or keeper of an attacking dog fails to comply with an ACO's order, an ACO may seize the dog to ensure compliance. The owner or keeper is (1) responsible for any expenses resulting from the seizure and (2) subject to a fine of up to $250, up to 30 days in prison, or both.

The act allows anyone aggrieved by an order to request a hearing before the commissioner no later than 14 days after the order is issued. After the hearing, the commissioner may affirm, modify, or revoke the order as he or she deems proper.

The act exempts from its provisions dogs that a state or local police agency owns if they (1) are under the direct supervision, care, and control of an assigned police officer; (2) have received yearly vaccinations; and (3) are subject to routine veterinary care.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2007

DOGS THAT DAMAGE OTHER ANIMALS

Under the act, if a dog damages a person's poultry, ratite (e. g. , emu or ostrich), domestic rabbit, companion animal, or livestock, the person must make a complaint concerning the attack to a state ACO or the appropriate regional or municipal ACO. By law, livestock includes cattle, camelid (i. e. , llamas and camels), and hooved animals a person raises for domestic or commercial use. The act requires the ACO to immediately investigate the complaint. The DOAG commissioner, the state's chief ACO, or any ACO may make any order they deem necessary concerning the restraint or disposal of the attacking dog, if the investigating ACO finds that a dog attacked or bit the complainant's animal when it (1) was not on the property of the attacking dog's owner or keeper and (2) the complainant's animal was under his or her control or on his or her property.

BACKGROUND

Dogs that Bite People

By law, the victim of a dog or animal bite must report the attack to an ACO. The ACO must immediately investigate the attack. The law requires an ACO to quarantine a dog or other animal that has bitten someone off its owner's property. The animal must be quarantined for 14 days in a public pound, veterinary hospital, or place approved by the DOAG commissioner. The purpose of the quarantine is to ensure the animal does not have rabies and to examine its demeanor. The owner must pay all associated fees.

An ACO or the DOAG commissioner may make any order he or she deems necessary concerning the restraint or disposal of a dog or animal that bites a person. Notice of the order must be given to the person bitten within 24 hours. Anyone aggrieved by an ACO's order may request a hearing before the commissioner within 14 days of its issuance. After the hearing, the commissioner may affirm, modify, or revoke the order.

ACOs can seize an animal that bit a person when the owner does not comply with the restraining or quarantine order. The owner may also be fined up to $250, imprisoned for up to 30 days, or both (CGS 22-358 (c)).

A dog's owner or keeper is liable for any damage caused by his or her dog to a person's body or property, unless the damage was sustained while the person was committing a trespass or other tort, or teasing, abusing, or tormenting the dog.

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