Desmond's Law passed the Connecticut legislature in the 2016 session, and is effective as of October 1, 2016. The text of Public Act 16-30 is available here.
Desmond's Law is a program that utilizes 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. It is intended to shine a bright light on the full extent of crimes committed under the animal cruelty statute.
- The program is discretionary and under the supervision of the Court;
- It allows volunteer advocates to access facts, records and other information regarding the animal, readily share information with each party, and make recommendations to the Court.
- It applies only to cases involving cats and dogs.
- The court-appointed advocate does not directly represent the animal, but rather the interests of justice.
Inspiration for this law came from a dog named Desmond, pictured at right, who was brutally abused and murdered. As punishment, his abuser got away with only Accelerated Rehabilitation, and the incident has been expunged from his record.