Sen. Witkos Applauds Animal Abuse Registry Bill Advancing to the State Senate

April 4, 2018

Deputy Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Kevin Witkos (R-Canton) applauded the Connecticut Judiciary Committee’s support of a bill that would establish a statewide animal abuse registry.  The Judiciary Committee today voted in favor of sending Senate Bill 523 An Act Concerning An Animal Abuse Registry to the State Senate to be voted on by all members of the General Assembly.

“I believe Connecticut can and should be a national leader when it comes to protecting animals and being proactive about preventing crime and violence,” said Sen. Witkos, who requested the Judiciary Committee raise the bill. “Establishing a statewide animal abuse registry will help police, pet shelters, animal adoption centers, groomers and other employers better monitor and prevent animal abusers from gaining access to animals through adoption or through jobs involving the care of animals. In addition, research has shown a connection between animal abuse and criminal violence against people. Therefore, an animal abuse registry could be an important tool in understanding warning signs of violence and intervening before criminal behavior escalates.”

While certain county governments have implemented animal abuse registries across the country, currently only one state, Tennessee, has a statewide registry to keep track of those who abuse animals.

Senate Bill 523 would implement a similar system to the Tennessee Animal Abuser Registration Act, which required the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) to post to an online registry a list of persons convicted of the following criminal offenses against animals: (1) aggravated animal cruelty; (2) felony animal fighting; (3) bestiality and related offenses.

The Tennessee registry, which was made public in 2016, includes animal abusers’ full legal names, photographs, and other identifying data the TBI determines is necessary to identify abusers and to exclude innocent persons. The list does not include abusers’ social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, or any other state or federal identification number. In Tennessee, court clerks provide the TBI with a convicted person’s information within 60 calendar days of a judgement regarding a qualifying animal abuse offense. Upon a first conviction of an animal abuse offense, a person will remain on the list for two years only, unless that person commits another animal abuse offense during that time. If a person is convicted of a second animal abuse offense that person will remain on the list for five years. If a sole offense is expunged a person would also be removed from the list.

The Connecticut proposal would adopt the same structure as the Tennessee registry, with the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection managing the program in Connecticut in the same capacity as Tennessee’s TBI.

The bill now moves to the State Senate where it must be voted on and forwarded to the House of Representatives before May 9th, the close of the 2018 legislative session.

Sen. Witkos’ testimony in support of the bill:,%20Kevin%20D.,%20State%20Senator-State%20of%20Connecticut-TMY.PDF