Taking better care of animals who wind up in shelters and making sure fewer of them are being euthanized are two of the largest efforts of a special state Connecticut task force.
Their proposals will soon be unveiled for lawmakers to consider.
“We’re trying to reduce euthanasia in the municipal shelters across the state,” Michael Freda, who is the task force chairman, said.
Freda is the chairman of a task force that has been studying Connecticut’s swelling animal population for two years.
“What we don’t want to see is animals being put down because of a lack of space in the animal shelters,” Freda said.
According to state records, last year, 1,601 animals were euthanized in Connecticut. Bridgeport put down the highest percentage of animals that were impounded, followed by New Haven, Waterbury and Vernon.
Below are the euthanization rate for those municipalities, which were provided by the State Dept. Of Agriculture for 2014-2015 fiscal year:
The task force feels one way to tackle this problem is through legislation that would require spaying and neutering of all adoptable dogs and cats as part of the adoption process.
There’s another idea that's not part of legislation, but is being piloted in certain towns. Volunteers would work hand-in-hand with animal control officers to take some of the animals out and have them interact with their surroundings.
Both legislators and town officials said they feel could lower the amount euthanization that's happening across the state.
West Haven has already committed to using volunteers in this way.
“They’d be doing dog walking, kennel cleaning, feeding the dogs,” Mayor Ed O’Brien said.
The volunteers are helping the animals and animal control officers.
“It would free up the officers up to be able to handle more calls out on the street and also be able to deal with the public when they walk in,” West Haven Police Sgt. Eric Pimer said.
West Haven’s new volunteer program is expected to begin this summer.
Earlier task force plans to mandate a permit for all breeders and create animal abuse registry were met with heavy backlash, and subsequently scrapped.
Within three weeks, the task force expects its proposal to be drafted into legislation and put in front of lawmakers.
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