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State experiments with court advocates for abused animals

HARTFORD — Connecticut has become the first state to allow court-appointed advocates to represent animals in cruelty and abuse cases.

Supporters said they hope it will lead to more convictions. A legislative report found that between 80 percent of cases involving animal abuse or neglect in the state over the span of a decade were either not prosecuted or dismissed.

In the first six months of the law, advocates have been appointed in five cases.

The American Kennel Club has come out against the legislation. It says it could result in confusion over who is responsible for an animal and limit the rights of animal owners.

Supporters said those issues are easily handled by a judge.

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