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CVA envisions a future where all animals live in peace under the protection of strong laws. We work toward this vision by creating and improving Connecticut's laws and encouraging our elected leaders to make the well-being of animals their priority. We work with voters like you, legislators & other officials across CT government, and a hired lobbyist to introduce and pass pro-animal laws. We also fight the passage of harmful, inhumane laws. 

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 Get involved this election season and help elect humane candidates.
See our Getting involved in the 2016 election page for tips on how to identify humane candidates and assist on their campaigns.
 Desmond's Law has passed the legislature! 
Final report for the 2016 Legislative session
5-6-2016 This year, you have helped Connecticut make history! This session we combined forces with the bill's champion Rep. Diana Urban and passed innovative new legislation that will give animals a voice in court. In animal cruelty cases, there can now be advocates who will shine a bright light on the full extent of the atrocities committed against animals who are the subject of criminal or civil proceedings. The courts will have "the whole story" to use in making decisions in the interests of justice. 
This bill not only helps animals. By more accurately identifying violent individuals, it is destined to be a powerful tool in intervening in the cycle of violence. Legislators who voted for Desmond's Law also voted to protect battered women, the elderly, abused children, and ultimately safer communities. For now, the law applies to cats and dogs, who comprise the vast majority of animal cruelty cases. 
Desmond's Law has been signed by the Governor and will take effect October 1, 2016. 
This session, we also assisted the CT Humane Society in the passage of HB 5147, which increases the maximum penalty for second-offense malicious animal cruelty convictions. From now on, those convicted of malicious, intentional animal cruelty for the first time will be guilty of a Class D felony. For the second and subsequent offenses, it will be a Class C felony: up to 10 years in prison, and no chance for accelerated rehabilitation. 

In addition to your support and advocacy, there are many legislators and organizations who helped make the passage of Desmond's Law possible. We extend our sincerest gratitude to:
Rep. Diana Urban
Speaker Brendan Sharkey 
Rep. Joe Aresimowicz
Sen. Martin Looney
Rep. William Tong
Rep. David Baram
Rep. Brenda Kupchick
Sen. Eric Coleman
Sen. Bob Duff
Sen. Ted Kennedy, Jr.
Sen. John Kissel
Rep. Rosa Rebimbas 

Plus all of the other legislators who cosponsored this bill or voted yes! For a list of co-sponsors, please visit this page, then scroll to the section on co-sponsors. For the House voting record click here, for the Senate, click here.
If your legislator(s) voted in favor of the bill, please send them a thank-you message! Look up their contact info here.
We are also thankful to the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States, CT Humane Society, Desmond's Army of supporters, and of course our hard-working lobbyist Jo-Anne Basile.
Your advocacy and financial support makes all the difference in the lives of animals who will now have a voice in courtThank you!

 About Desmond's Law:

Animal cruelty is an act of violence that rarely occurs in isolation. Too often, our state's courts seem to overlook this fact. Abusers get away with a hand slap, or worse yet, are not even prosecuted at all. Desmond, pictured above right, was severely abused and tortured to death, but his abuser got away with Accelerated Rehabilitation. After 2 years his record is erased of this incident.
80% of the animal cruelty charges brought against individuals in Connecticut are dismissed. For these cases, there is no justice for the abused animal, and potentially violent criminals are permitted to walk free.

Accumulating evidence demonstrates a strong link between violence to animals and violence to people. In recognition of that link in 2011 CT enacted a law requiring Cross Reporting of Child Abuse and Animal Cruelty.  And this January, for the first time ever, the FBI began collecting data on animal abuse cases. 


HB 5344 also known as Desmond’s Law will aid the judicial process in animal cruelty cases by providing an independent advocate to represent the interests of justice. HB 5344 will:
  • Establish a program that is discretionary and under the supervision of the Court;
  • Provide a no-cost, volunteer advocate from a list of attorneys and law students with knowledge of the sociology of animal cruelty;
  • Ensure that law students’ participation will be governed by the Connecticut Practice Book;
  •  Allow advocates to access facts, records and other information regarding the animal, readily share information with each party, and make recommendations to the Court, hastening case resolution.

Desmond’s Law would utilize qualified pro-bono lawyers and volunteer law students to provide investigative insight not readily available to the court, resulting in a more fair and efficient process and more meaningful outcomes in animal abuse cases.
You can help by forwarding this information to your friends, colleagues, and neighbors. The more people who speak, the more powerful our voice for animals. 

Other proposals for the 2016 session:
CVA will also use our collective voice on other issues that will likely arise this session, including:
  • Heavy restrictions on the sale of elephant ivory in Connecticut
  • Humane shelter & confinement requirements for dogs
  • Recommendations from the CT Task Force on the Humane Treatment of Animals in Municipal Shelters
  • Passing tougher animal cruelty penalties
  • Prohibiting insurance companies from discriminating against dog breeds
  • Prohibiting intensive confinement of farmed animals 
As always, CVA will fight against bills that would be harmful to animals. 


 CVA participates in Environmental Summit 

12-4-2015 Thank you to Senator Ted Kennedy Jr. for hosting a very informative 12th district Environmental Summit last night in Branford! Senator Kennedy is the Senate co-chair of the CT legislature's Environment Committee, and he organized this engaging series of panel discussions to gather ideas from his constituents who are on the frontlines of environmental and animal advocacy. 

CVA was invited to attend the summit, and CVA Advisory Council member Jo-Anne Basile was asked to be a panelist for the segment on animal welfare. Jo-Anne, a resident in Senator Kennedy's 12th district, spoke about the importance of treating animal cruelty as a serious offense, and urged support for the Court Advocate bill (aka Desmond's Law), which will be a 2016 priority for CVA. 

The panel also included Laura Burban, "ACO Extraordinaire" for the Dan Cosgrove Shelter in Branford! We hope this event will inspire continued discussion about important Environmental and Animal Welfare issues facing Connecticut. 

 11-23-15 An Afternoon for Animals was a HUGE success! Many, many thanks to all of you who attended - your support is crucial in giving animals a voice at the Capitol, as we fight for humane laws next session.

Special thanks to Arugula in West Hartford for hosting our event and serving up *outstanding* food, and to our generous raffle prize sponsors: LUSH CosmeticsJohn Gagnon's Pet ResortPure Love Granola,Metal ObjectsFurry Friends Massage TherapyTunxis Plantation Country Club, and Protectors of Animals.

We are enormously proud to have Amy Gagnon as a board member, who put this event together, and it could not have gone better! We are also thankful to the volunteers who helped make the event a success: Eva Magnuszewski, Jessica Rubin, Ruth Cutrone, Lindsay Karl, Sally Westcott, and our speaker Elizabeth Abbe. Cheers!

 Saturday October 17th was Pit bull Awareness Day in Ansonia, and thanks to the leadership of our Events coordinator, Henry Petrofsky, CVA's booth was busy as usual! Pictured below is Sue King, Sally Westcott, and Henry Petrofsky!

 On Friday October 16, CT Votes for Animals was honored to be a beneficiary of the 4th annual Lexi's Night for Rescue, a fundraiser held in Norwalk for several rescue and advocacy organizations. Stacey Christoforides, a CVA member, organized the event, and it was a fun and smashing success! below is Amy Harrell with humane legislator Rep. Brenda Kupchick (Fairfield).

 Twitter users: Did you know we have a Twitter account? Follow us and spread the word about our activities!
 No sales taxes for veterinary care! See our 2015 end of session report on animal legislation in Connecticut 



 CT Votes for Animals is a proud participant in the Food For Thought campaign, which encourages animal organizations to adopt a vegan menu policy for events they sponsor. Please see more information on their Web site here, and consider adding your organization as well: 

CVA's policy is as follows: "It is the policy of Connecticut Votes for Animals to provide only plant-based (vegan) menus when sponsoring events. For potlucks, attendees are strongly encouraged to bring plant-based food. If CVA participates in a larger event with other organizations, CVA will advocate for a humane menu, as far as possible. "

 Join the conversation on municipal animal shelters

7-12-2015  The "Task Force for Humane Treatment of Animals in Municipal and Regional Shelters" is meeting monthly at the Legislative Office Building (LOB) in Hartford. See their Web site, which includes the Task force's charge, their membership, meeting agendas and minutes, and other documents. 
Please note that the next Task Force meeting will be held on Friday, August 7. All meetings are open to the public, and typically the agenda includes a period during which the public is welcome to testify or comment on any matter pertaining to municipal shelters and related issues.
These meetings provide a rare opportunity to publicly express your ideas for improving our municipal and regional shelter systems! If you would like to speak, please attend one of their meetings. 
 Help Spread the Word About CT's Dog Chaining Laws
CVA Volunteers have developed an informational poster describing CT's dog chaining laws - including this summer's new law prohibiting dogs from being tied outside during official weather advisories. Please post this flyer in veterinary offices, pet supply stores, local shelters, and anywhere animal-friendly people will see it! Click the image below to download and print, and/or Share on Facebook.