What you need to know about the Connecticut Animal Control Unit

If you live in Connecticut and own a pet, you should know a few basic facts about the Animal Control Unit. The division is a part of the Connecticut Department of Agriculture. Operations are under the Commissioner of Agriculture’s control. The unit enforces animal control and licensing laws and protects animals from abuse and cruelty.

The Chief Animal Control Officer works through local and regional officer appointees. They enforce Connecticut General Statutes, Chapters 435, Dogs and Other Companion Animals; and 945, Cruelty to Animals. The unit trains regional and municipal officers and local clerks to perform licensing, control, and animal protection responsibilities.

Dog licensing

Connecticut dog owners must obtain a license for any dog over 6-months old. To initiate the process, you may download the application in English or Spanish at the Connecticut Department of Agriculture website. Once you complete the license, you send it to your town clerk with the appropriate fees and a self-addressed envelope.

Dog Control

Control officers have the authority to impound dogs that are found roaming, injured, neglected, not wearing a tag, or otherwise uncontrolled. CGS, §22-322 explains an officer’s rights and duties to impound, notify the owner if identifiable, and proceed through adoption or termination under certain circumstances. The division is responsible for maintaining a facility for impounded and quarantined animals.

Rabies Control

Connecticut General Statutes §22-339b and c explain rabies vaccination requirements for dogs 3-months or older. Dogs entering the state must have a health certificate and a rabies vaccination certificate. Connecticut Animal Control officers report vaccination violations to the Health Department.

Officers enforce quarantines when a dog causes rabies or other diseases. They also initiate testing after a bite to determine if the animal had rabies. When an animal/human bite occurs, the Department of Health Scientific Support Services tests for rabies. When an animal/animal bite occurs, the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory can do the testing.

Dog-Related Damage and Injuries

Dog owners are responsible for their dogs’ actions. When a dog damages property, injures a person or injures another animal, Connecticut Animal Control is the sole investigative and enforcement authority. Control officers also investigate livestock damage claims and assess damages against the responsible dog owners.

Animal Cruelty

Regional and municipal animal control officers protect animals based on guidelines in CGS §53-247, Cruelty to Animals. They investigate reported instances of cruelty, torture, animal fighting, neglect, and other alleged acts of cruelty. Officers can charge a person with a Class D felony if they participate in animal fighting or certain offenses against police or search and rescue animals.

Pet Facility Licensing and Inspections

The Commissioner of Agriculture approves and issues licenses for pet shops, kennels, animal shelters, and animal training and grooming facilities. Applicants can download and complete a Pet Facility Application form and submit it to the Department of Agriculture.

Before the commissioner or his representative issues a facility license, an animal control officer inspects and approves it for zoning and compliance with relevant health and safety laws.

Large Animal Rehabilitation Center

Connecticut Animal Control keeps horses and other large animals at the Second Chance Large Animal Rehabilitation Facility. The Department of Agriculture built the facility for animals that were seized because of cruelty or neglect. The facility makes it easier for the control department to respond to emergency situations.

Contact Hebron Veterinary Hospital

For more information about keeping your pet in compliance with Connecticut animal control and licensing guidelines, visit our contact page or give us a call at (860) 228-4324.