Environment Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5151

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING THE AUTHORITY OF ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICERS IN COMMON INTEREST COMMUNITIES.

Vote Date:

2/24/2016

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

2/19/2016

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Environment Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

Allows for animal control officers to enter common interest communities in order to capture dogs and other animals roaming free in these areas. At present, animal control officers do not possess the authority to enter private condominium association property, even in instances where aggressive animals have been roaming on the property. At present, Chapter 435 of the General Statutes is not drafted in a manner that adequately addresses how to deal with animals in the common areas of these properties due to their shared ownership interest.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

None Expressed

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Karl Kuegler, Jr., Director of Property Management – Imagineers LLC: In his testimony, Mr. Kuegler states that Connecticut's common interest communities “currently lack the help and resources of…local animal control officers,” with community residents being advised that local animal control officers are unable to respond to pet-related issues due to said animal's presence in a common interest community. He adds that common interest communities should to be able to be assisted by animal control officer to ameliorate these incidences.

Kim McClain, Executive Director – Community Associations Institute (Connecticut Chapter): Ms. McClain referenced a 1975 opinion issued by Connecticut's Attorney General that stated that animal control officers had “no authority” to impound an animal in a common interest community due to the shared ownership of the property. She refers to this ruling as “contrary to public safety,” and states that the legislation will “benefit the safety of all our communities.”

Richard Mellin, Partner – Mellin & Associates LLC: Mr. Mellin submitted testimony stating that public safety is a “major concern” for residents – including those who own dogs – living in Connecticut's common interest communities. He added that the animal control officers from the Danbury area are dedicated professionals who should be empowered to “perform the tasks that they are chartered to do in the communities they serve.”

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Annie Hornish, Connecticut Senior State Director – The Humane Society of the United States: Ms. Hornish testified that the legislation would adversely impact caregivers of feral cats within common interest communities. She states that impounding cats that cause damage would result in overcrowding at shelters while putting community caregivers “between a rock and a hard place.”

Noranne Nielsen, Animal Control Officer – Town of Mansfield: Ms. Nielsen stated that it is “not the job of animal control officers to police private property,” and that Association bylaws are put in place for this very reason.

Reported by: Jared Savas

Date: 2/25/16