State House expected to vote on bill to help animals in cruelty cases

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HARTFORD--A proposed law to give animals in cases of cruelty a voice in court could be headed for a vote this week.

Democratic State Rep. Diana Urban said House Bill 5344, commonly known as Desmond's Law, is on the "go list," so she expected it to be called to the House floor in the coming days.

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The law--which was named after a former shelter dog beaten, starved and strangled--would create a court-appointed animal advocate program to do the legal legwork in animal cruelty cases, to provide as much information as possible for prosecutors and judges.

The push for Desmond's Law comes on the heels of a cat found dead and burned in New Britain.

"You do that to a cat, that helpless animal, who's next on the list, a helpless child, a domestic partner?" Urban questioned during a press conference.

The animal advocate would be either a volunteering law student or an attorney working pro-bono.  In other words, the advocate wouldn't cost the state a dime.