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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

8.9-8  Cruelty to Animals -- § 53-247

Revised to December 1, 2007

Note: This instruction includes only select subsections of the statute.

A.  If charged with a violation of § 53-247 (b):

The defendant is charged [in count __] with cruelty to animals.  The statute defining this offense reads in pertinent part as follows: 

a person is guilty of cruelty to animals who maliciously and intentionally maims, mutilates, tortures, wounds or kills an animal.

For you to find the defendant guilty of this charge, the state must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

Element 1 - Intentional malice
The first element is that the defendant acted with intentional malice. A person acts "intentionally" with respect to a result when (his/her) conscious objective is to cause such a result.  <See Intent: Specific, Instruction 2.3-1.>

To act "with malice" means to act with some improper or unjustifiable or harmful motive including, but not limited to, the desire to cause pain, injury or distress to another.

Element 2 - Injury
The second element is that the animal was (maimed / mutilated / tortured / wounded / killed) by the defendant.  <Insert appropriate definition(s):>

  • To "maim" means to seriously injure or disfigure the animal.

  • To "mutilate" means to cut off or remove an essential part of the animal.

  • To "torture" means to inflict intense pain on the animal.

  • To "wound" or "kill" have their ordinary meanings.

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant acted with intentional malice, and 2) the defendant (maimed / mutilated / tortured / wounded / killed) the <identify animal>.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of cruelty to animals, then you shall find the defendant guilty.  On the other hand, if you unanimously find that the state has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt any of the elements, you shall then find the defendant not guilty.

B.  If charged with a violation of § 53-247 (d) or (e):

The defendant is charged [in count __] with cruelty to animals.  The statute defining this offense reads in pertinent part as follows: 

a person is guilty of cruelty to animals who intentionally (injures / kills)1 <insert as appropriate:>

  • any animal while such animal is in the performance of its duties under the supervision of a peace officer.

  • a dog that is a member of a volunteer canine search and rescue team while such dog is in the performance of its duties under the supervision of the active individual member of such team.

For you to find the defendant guilty of this charge, the state must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

Element 1 - Intentional injury or killing
The first element is that the defendant intentionally (injured / killed) the (animal / dog).  A person acts "intentionally" with respect to a result when (his/her) conscious objective is to cause such result.  <See Intent: Specific, Instruction 2.3-1.>

Element 2 - Status of animal
The second element is that <insert as appropriate:>

  • the animal is in the performance of its duties under the supervision of a peace officer.2  <Identify the specific type of peace officer.>

  • the dog is a member of a volunteer canine search and rescue team and such dog was in the performance of its duties under the supervision of the active individual member of such team.  A "volunteer canine search and rescue team" is defined by statute "an individual and a dog (A) appropriately trained and certified to engage in search and rescue operations by a nonprofit canine search and rescue organization that is a member of the National Association of Search and Rescue, or its successor organization, and (B) who jointly engage in such operations at the request of a police or fire department and provide services without compensation."3

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant intentionally (injured / killed) the (animal / dog), and 2) the (animal / dog) was in the performance of its duties (under the supervision of a peace officer / under the supervision of an active individual member of a canine search and rescue team).

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of cruelty to animals, then you shall find the defendant guilty.  On the other hand, if you unanimously find that the state has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt any of the elements, you shall then find the defendant not guilty.
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1 Subsection (d) prohibits intentional injury; subsection (e) prohibits intentional killing.

2 This statute specifically incorporates the definition of "peace officer" found in General Statutes § 53a-3 (9).

3 General Statutes § 5-249, which is specifically incorporated in this statute.

Commentary

General Statutes § 53-247 (b) provides the following exception to culpability:  "The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to any licensed veterinarian while following accepted standards of practice of the profession or to any person while following approved methods of slaughter under section 22-272a, while performing medical research as an employee of, student in or person associated with any hospital, educational institution or laboratory, while following generally accepted agricultural practices or while lawfully engaged in the taking of wildlife."  "[W]here exceptions to a prohibition in a criminal statute are situated separately from the enacting clause, the exceptions are to proven by the defense."  (Internal quotation marks omitted.)  State v. Valinski, 254 Conn. 107, 123 (2000). 

 


 

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