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Norwalk's Duff: New Laws Protect Victims, Pets

NORWALK, Conn. – A number of new laws went into effect in Connecticut on Monday, state Sen. Bob Duff (D-District 25) said.

"While the major focus of the past two legislative sessions has been job creation and balancing the state budget, there are a number of public policy initiatives that were passed which will improve the quality of life for all Connecticut residents," Duff said in an email.

The new laws that took effect Monday include:

  • A law concerning domestic violence. Additional family-violence crimes, court procedures and victim protections are specified in this new law, giving domestic violence victims greater support from the courts, victim services, victim advocates, and law enforcement agencies, Duff said. Crime victims and victim advocates are given access to more information; and police departments are required to adopt model family-violence policies. The new law also requires the state to study the cost, feasibility, and public safety considerations of redesigning the statewide Enhanced 9-1-1 system to allow individuals and emergency responders to communicate by text message or other mobile device.
  • A law increasing the penalty for subsequent offense of cruelty to animals. The penalties for subsequent convictions of specific types of animal cruelty are increased in this new law, from a maximum of one year in prison to a maximum of five years, Duff said. The law increases the fine from a maximum of $1,000 to a maximum of $5,000. Cruel acts are defined as including (but not limited to): staging animal fights; torturing, mutilating or beating animals; exposing an animal to a poisonous or noxious drug or substance; or failing to provide proper food, water or shelter.
  • A law concerning pet shops and consumer reimbursement for certain veterinary expenses. Pet shop customers can seek reimbursement for certain veterinarian expenses for a dog or cat that suffers from an illness or a congenital defect shortly after purchase, or request a replacement or refund for the animal, under this new law, Duff said. Pet shops are prohibited from requiring the consumer to return the animal in order to receive a reimbursement. It also requires certain pet shops to give customers a copy of the state's 'pet lemon law' when they buy a dog or cat.

A complete list of new laws can be found online.

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