PA 07-105—HB 7194

Environment Committee

Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE EXPANSION OF THE ANIMAL POPULATION CONTROL PROGRAM

SUMMARY: This act expands the state's Animal Population Control Program (APCP), requiring the agriculture commissioner to establish programs to (1) sterilize and vaccinate the pets of low-income people and (2) assist registered nonprofit rescue groups with feral cat sterilization and vaccination. The commissioner must use APCP funds to pay for the two new programs. It eliminates a provision of prior law that allowed the commissioner to set aside APCP funds to assist in the sterilization of feral cats.

Specifically, the act allows the commissioner to (1) use up to 20% of APCP funds for the two new programs (up to 10% for each) and (2) seek funds for them. It also increases, from $180,000 to $225,000, the amount of APCP funds that the Agriculture Department may use for administrative costs.

The act requires the agriculture commissioner to distribute a standard dog licensing form to pet shop operators, grooming facilities, municipal pounds and dog training facilities that offer to make it available to dog owners. Under prior law, the commissioner distributed this form only to veterinarians.

It makes related minor and technical changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2007, except a conforming change is effective upon passage.

APCP FUNDING AND NEW PROGRAMS

By law, residents must pay a $45 adoption fee for any unsterilized dog or cat they buy or adopt from a municipal impound facility, for which they receive a sterilization voucher and vaccination benefits.

By law, a resident may redeem an APCP voucher valid for 60 days at a participating veterinarian's office. The $45 sale or adoption fee goes to APCP. Additional funding for the APCP comes from (1) an annual surcharge on Connecticut dog licenses ($2 for a sterilized and $6 for an unsterilized dog), (2) proceeds from the sale of “Caring for Pets” commemorative license plates, and (3) donations. APCP funds are placed in the animal population control account.

Under existing law, the commissioner may solicit and accept funds from any public or private source to help carry out APCP goals. The act allows him to do so for the existing voucher and the two new programs and allows a donor to earmark funds for any or all of the programs.

Under existing law, the commissioner may suspend the APCP voucher program when less than $300,000 is available for it and the commissioner may reinstate the program when funds exceed that amount. The act expands this provision to include all three programs, allowing the commissioner to suspend and reinstate any or all of them.

Low-Income Pet Sterilization and Vaccination

Under the act, pet owners receiving or eligible for certain forms of public assistance are eligible to receive financial assistance to have their pets sterilized and vaccinated. It defines a “low income person” as someone receiving or eligible for one of the following programs:

1. the food stamp program;

2. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families;

3. Medicaid Fee-for-Service or HUSKY A;

4. state-administered general assistance, either medical or cash assistance components;

5. state supplement; or

6. any other public assistance program that the commissioner determines qualifies a person as low-income.

Feral Sterilization and Vaccination

The act requires the commissioner to establish a program to assist nonprofit rescue groups with feral cat sterilization and vaccination. The act defines a “feral cat” as an animal of the species felis catus (1) that is unowned and exists in a wild or untamed state or has returned to an untamed state from domestication and (2) whose behavior is suggestive of a wild animal. It eliminates a provision that allows the agriculture commissioner to provide up to $40,000 in APCP funds per year, if available, to charitable organizations to sterilize feral cats.

BACKGROUND

APCP Veterinarian Reimbursement

The commissioner must pay participating veterinarians for the sterilization and vaccinations of a dog or cat when he or she submits a signed APCP voucher (CGS 22-380i(c)).

OLR Tracking: KM: JK: PF: TS