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April 2023 Newsletter
Thanks to YOU and the hundreds of other animal advocates who spoke out in support of bears and against the State conducting a bear hunt lottery in CT, the hotly contested proposal to hold a bear hunt in CT was defeated again this year. The bill that passed out of Committee mandates a feeding ban on potentially dangerous animals, including bears, and allows farmers and individuals to kill bears if they threaten harm to persons, crops or pets. While an improvement, the language must be amended to make the feeding ban effective and close the loopholes to stop intentional killing of wildlife. The CT Coalition to Protect Bears, which includes CVA, joined members of the state legislature’s Animal Advocacy Caucus at a press conference to make their case for why hunting will not reduce human-bear conflicts. Rather, they promoted scientifically proven non-lethal methods such as removing food attractants and using bear-proof trash cans. Read more about the real situation of bears in CT in The Coalition’s comprehensive report, “The Truth About CT’s Black Bears.” and on the Coalition's website.
The struggle to protect CT's bears is not over. You'll be hearing from us soon about the details and the next call to action.
Playing Defense on Bills Unkind to Animals...
It's not just bears, but an unusually large number of animal-related bills before the CT legislature this year – many of them harmful to the state’s creatures, large and small. Click on the bill numbers below to read CVA’s testimony on each.
(HB 6726) would allow commercial processing or factory farming of rabbits in CT. After being summarily dismissed last year, amazingly, this horrendous bill allowing the slaughter of thousands of rabbits was approved in committee and is waiting for floor action.
(HB 5215) would create a task force to study the “epidemic” of dog bites in the state. The task force make up is poorly balanced with no expertise in animal behavior – something CVA is working to change before any vote.
(SB962) as passed out of Committee fails to protect birds of prey and other wildlife that eat rodents poisoned from second generation rodenticides. Animal and environmental groups are working hard to get the needed protections back in the bill before it goes for a vote on the floor.
...And Gaining Ground on Bills to Protect Them
In addition to feverishly opposing or amending the negative bills, CVA has been proactively fighting for laws that better protect animals in the state. We are pleased that the following bills have advanced. Click on the bill number below to read CVA's testimony.
(HB 6615) closes an existing loophole to permanently ban greyhound racing in CT. It passed out of committee unanimously and is awaiting a full floor vote.
(HB 5575) updating decades-old state regulations on conditions in municipal animal shelters was also passed in committee and sent to the floor.
(HB6714) strengthens CT's animal sexual abuse laws and imposes a ban on owning or working with animals for those convicted of animal cruelty.
Waiting for Another Year
The failure of other priority bills to move forward this year was a big disappointment. The circus bill once again did not come up for a vote despite compromises made to appease the opposition. Also, the Environment Committee would not even hold a hearing on the pet shop bill even though the bill had more than 30 sponsors. Extending Desmond's law to all animals in -- addition to cats and dogs -- did not make it out of the Judiciary Committee. And even though a bill to stop discrimination in homeowner/rental insurance policies based on dog breed unanimously passed the insurance committee, the Judiciary Committee sadly failed to pass the bill based on a technicality.
Action Alerts: As the bills get ready for floor action we will be counting on you to again SPEAK UP FOR ANIMALS. Be on the lookout for CVA's Action Alerts in the coming weeks and get ready to contact your legislators.
A Weak Attempt at Stronger Shelter Rules
It apparently took the highly publicized removal of more than 20 sick and malnourished dogs from the New Haven Animal Shelter earlier this month to put a spotlight on the deplorable conditions there and the need for better regulations governing municipal shelters. Recently the State Dept. of Agriculture (DOAG) released its proposal to update the regulations on municipal animal shelters. After years of promises, the agency has proposed revisions to the current rules which date back to 1964! Sadly, they don't go far enough and even weaken current enforcement efforts.
Meanwhile, the Environment Committee passed a far stronger effort that would help ensure the type of protections the animals deserve. HB 5575, introduced by Rep. Dorinda Borer, would require by statute certain health and safety measures for all municipal and regional shelters.
Poorly maintained public animal shelters are a failure of both DOAG and the town in which they are located. It's time to change the status quo and enact new rules to make life at least a little better for these animals. CVA is working to get better rules and an enforcement mechanism in place before past mistakes are repeated.
New Additions Enhance CVA Governance
One look at Ken Bernhard’s bio and you can see he is a busy man with a deep fondness for animals. We are fortunate to have him join CVA's Advisory Committee. Ken is a principal attorney at Cohen and Wolf representing businesses in litigation, real property issues, and transactional matters. He is a former State Rep. from Westport and served as town attorney for three CT municipalities. In addition, Ken sat on the Public Defenders Service Commission, overseeing the CT Public Defenders Office and the Judicial Review Counsel overseeing the CT Judiciary and was Chairman of the State Ethics Board. Ken is consistently listed in The Best Lawyers in America© in municipal and real estate law.
A resident of Westport, Ken finds time to give back to his furry and otherwise nonhuman friends. Add his appointment to CVA’s Advisory Council to volunteer board positions with the State Board of Veterinary Medicine, the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation, and the Westport Dangerous Dog Committee. Ken is also the proud owner of a retired Fidelco guide dog.
Spring Rolls With Peanut Sauce
Thinking spring yet? These fresh, not fried, veggie-packed spring rolls are the perfect way to start your spring recipe rotation. Included here is a terrific, peanut dipping sauce that goes perfectly with the veggies. There are also instructions on how to roll them!
Remember to share your favorite vegan recipe. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CT Bears are Not Out of the Woods, YET!
A Rundown of the Session So Far: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Animal rights and welfare, social justice and reform, and conservation top the list of causes nearest and dearest to Nancy Waterman, the newest member of CVA’s growing Board of Directors. A resident of Middletown, Nancy has held various leadership roles at CT nonprofits specializing in finance and accounting. She also brings to CVA a wealth of experience in nonprofit technology, human resources, government grant management, grant budgets, and audits, as well as overall business operations. Earlier in her career, Nancy founded a technology support firm, serving small businesses across Connecticut.
Besides giving back to the community, Nancy enjoys traveling with her husband, spending time with her granddaughters, and anything to do with animals. With more personal time in the last year, she has discovered a passion for crocheting, accompanied by a love affair with yarn.
As CVA continues to grow, we're adding to the ranks of our dedicated staff.
The search is underway for a deputy director for the organization, responsible for our fundraising, outreach and educational operations. It is a fully remote position -- for a CT resident -- with some in-state travel required.
If you are interested, follow the link below to get more details and to apply. If you know someone who might be a great fit, please forward this email. The post is open till May 8.