View Full Version : CT lawmakers connect animal, child abuse

02-16-2010, 09:43 AM
Original article from boston.com (http://www.boston.com/news/local/connecticut/articles/2010/02/16/connecticut_considers_cross_reporting_of_animal_an d_child_abuse/)

HARTFORD - Connecticut lawmakers are considering a proposal to require child abuse investigators and animal control officers to inform each other when they find something potentially amiss in a home.

The General Assembly’s Select Committee on Children is considering the bill, which would add Connecticut to the list of states that require animal control officers to report child abuse when they know or suspect it is occurring.

Similar provisions are in place in California, Colorado, Ohio, and Maine.

Connecticut’s proposal would go a step further, though, by requiring the state Department of Families and Children to notify the state Department of Agriculture, which works with local animal control officers, about homes where pets might also be vulnerable to maltreatment.

Supporters of the proposal say it would give officials, especially those investigating child abuse, a heads-up to cases about which they might otherwise be unaware.

“I think it’s a very good proposal. It’s another check and balance, another set of eyes, and you can’t be too careful when it comes to ensuring the safety of our children,’’ said Jeanne Milstein, Connecticut’s state child advocate.

Animal welfare advocates say it could also help vulnerable pets, whose abuse and neglect might be a precursor to child abuse or a red flag that it is occurring but hidden.

The Connecticut proposal, which is expected to be presented in a public hearing in the next several weeks, would need the full General Assembly’s approval to go into effect.

The commissioner of the Department of Children and Families, Susan Hamilton, testified in favor of the idea when lawmakers considered it last year.

However, it was among scores of bills that never reached the General Assembly for a full vote amid budget debates and other time-consuming controversies.

No one testified last year against the proposal, although the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities has flagged it to its members this year as a bill they should know about.

Kevin Maloney, a spokesman for the conference, said Friday it does not oppose the bill.

However, he said, the conference thinks that local animal control officers should be allowed to report their findings to one state agency - the Department of Agriculture, for instance - that would then be responsible for communicating with the Department of Children and Families, rather than having the animal control officers try to keep in touch with several state agencies.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation says animal cruelty is one of the behaviors that suggest a person wants to control and intimidate something or someone more vulnerable than he or she is.

FBI reviews dating to the 1970s have found that many imprisoned serial killers tortured or killed animals before their behavior escalated to targeting humans.

A 1997 study also found that a person who had committed animal abuse was five times more likely to commit violence against people.

The study, conducted by Northeastern University and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, looked at animal abuse cases from 1975 to 1996.

It found that 70 percent of the animal abusers had committed at least one other criminal offense, and 40 percent of them had harmed a person.

Connecticut state Representative Diana Urban, Democrat of North Stonington, who is sponsoring the proposal for cross-reporting of animal abuse and child abuse cases, said she thinks it will “break down the silos’’ between agencies with a lot in common.

02-16-2010, 10:53 AM
Animal welfare advocates say it could also help vulnerable pets, whose abuse and neglect might be a precursor to child abuse or a red flag that it is occurring but hidden.

It's about freaking time!!!

Columbine, thank you for posting this. I did not see this in the Hartford Courant, although I'm not at all surprized. Animals mean nothing to them.

Diana Urban is the best!! You go, girl!!!