Among the several bills Gov. Dannel Malloy signed on May 18, were two that concern animal cruelty and tree trimming by utilities.
Public Act 16-96
Through this legislation, anyone who “maliciously and intentionally maims, mutilates, tortures, or wounds” an animal as a first offense will be guilty of a Class D felony. Any subsequent offenses will be classified as Class C felonies.

This act will not apply to licensed veterinarians following accepted standards of practice. It will also not be applicable to those following agricultural practices or “lawfully engaging” in the taking of wildlife. This law goes into effect Oct. 1, 2016.
Public Act 16-86
Passage of this act, requires utilities to remove any debris generated as a result of managing vegetation. This will apply only to tree and shrub management requested by the utility itself.

After Jan. 31, 2017, each utility intending to remove or otherwise manage trees and shrubs must provide a detailed plan and estimated time schedule for the work to be done. This plan is to be made publicly available and kept available for the remainder of the calendar year.

These requirements are contained in the regulations that also pertain to the duties of municipal tree wardens who have control over all trees and shrubs on public property. This includes limbs, roots, or parts of trees that extend or overhang over any public road or grounds. The tree warden also has jurisdiction over illegally placed signs or advertisements on or near trees on public property.

In addition, if any foliage constitutes an immediate public hazard, the tree warden shall post a public notice at least 10 days prior to its removal. Anyone objecting to such action may appeal to the tree warden in writing. A public hearing will subsequently be held, and three days after such hearing, the tree warden will make a decision granting or denying the application.

The tree warden may also, with the approval of the selectmen, remove any trees or other plants on public grounds that are found to be home to destructive insects or fungus.