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Substitute House Bill No. 6303

Public Act No. 11-111

AN ACT CONCERNING THE TREATMENT OF ILL AND INJURED ANIMALS IN MUNICIPAL ANIMAL SHELTERS.

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

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2011) (a) Any regional or municipal dog pound facility may enter into a contract with one or more public or private nonprofit animal rescue organizations for the payment by such animal rescue organization of the costs for providing treatment by a licensed veterinarian to an injured, sick or diseased animal that is impounded at such regional or municipal dog pound facility. Such contract shall provide that: (1) No costs associated with the provision of such treatment shall accrue to the municipality as a result of such contract, (2) the selection of the licensed veterinarian to provide such treatment shall be made by the public or private nonprofit animal rescue organization that will be responsible for the remittance of payment to such licensed veterinarian who provides such treatment, (3) the determination of whether an animal is injured, sick or diseased and in need of veterinary treatment shall be made by a regional or municipal animal control officer who has custody of such animal, provided if any employee or volunteer of such regional or municipal dog pound facility notifies such animal control officer that an animal is injured, sick or diseased and in need of such veterinary treatment such animal control officer shall contact such public or private nonprofit animal rescue organization to arrange for the treatment of such animal by a licensed veterinarian, and (4) not later than twenty-four hours after receipt of a request from such municipal or regional dog pound facility that such public or private nonprofit animal rescue organization arrange for the provision of such treatment to an injured, sick or diseased animal impounded at such facility, such animal rescue organization shall select a licensed veterinarian to provide such treatment and take custody or control of such animal, as applicable, for the purpose of having such licensed veterinarian provide immediate treatment to such injured, sick or diseased animal. Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect any protection provided to any animal pursuant to any statute, regulation or ordinance.

(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, if any person observes or reasonably believes that a municipal or regional animal control officer failed to provide any animal that is under the custody and control of such animal control officer with proper care, including, but not limited to, veterinary care, such person may file a complaint with the Department of Agriculture's State Animal Control Division. Not later than twenty-four hours after receipt of any such complaint, such division shall take action as the division deems necessary to secure proper care for such animal, except if such complaint is received on a Saturday or Sunday, such action shall be taken on the next business day.

(c) Each municipal and regional dog pound facility shall maintain a list of any public or private nonprofit animal rescue organization that notifies such dog pound facility of such animal rescue organization's interest in entering into a contract described in subsection (a) of this section.

Sec. 2. Section 22-332 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2011):

(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) 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 or that has a state-wide circulation, and (B) a photograph or description of such animal and the date on which such animal is no longer legally required to be impounded to be posted on a national pet adoption Internet web site or an Internet web site that is maintained or accessed by the animal control officer and that is accessible to the public through an Internet search, except such posting shall not be required if: (i) The animal is held pending the resolution of civil or criminal litigation involving such animal, (ii) the officer has a good-faith belief that the animal would be adopted by or transferred to a public or private nonprofit rescue organization for the purpose of placing such animal in an adoptive home even in the absence of such posting, (iii) the animal's safety will be placed at risk, or (iv) such animal control officer determines that such animal is feral and not adoptable. If any animal control officer does not have the technological resources to post such information on an Internet web site as required by subparagraph (B) of this subdivision, such officer may contact a public or private animal rescue organization and request that such organization post such information, at such organization's expense, on a web site that is accessible to the public through an Internet search. To the extent practicable, any such posting by an animal control officer or a public or private animal rescue organization shall remain posted for the duration of such animal's impoundment in the municipal or regional dog pound.

(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.

(d) No regional or municipal dog pound facility, municipality, regional or municipal animal control officer or public or private nonprofit animal rescue organization that arranges for the provision of treatment by a licensed veterinarian to an injured, sick or diseased animal pursuant to a contract described in section 1 of this act shall be held civilly liable for such actions unless such actions are performed in a wanton, reckless or malicious manner. No licensed veterinarian who provides treatment free of charge or for a reduced fee, to an injured, sick or diseased animal as a direct result of a contract described in section 1 of this act shall be held civilly liable for the provision of such treatment unless such actions are performed in a wilful, wanton or reckless manner.

Approved July 8, 2011