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New Connecticut Law Protects Horse Handlers, Owners

Gov. Dannell Malloy speaks at Locket's Meadow Farm.
Gov. Dannell Malloy speaks at Locket's Meadow Farm. Photo Credit: Contributed

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy wasn't just horsing around when he held a ceremony at Locket’s Meadow Farm in Bethany on Tuesday, July 29, to commemorate the passage of a new state law.

The new law protects owners and handlers of domesticated horses from recent court rulings, by making it clear in state statute that the animals "do not possess a naturally mischievous or vicious propensity."

Malloy introduced the legislation earlier this year in response to rulings by the state Appellate Court and Supreme Court, which in practice may have increased the insurance rates for horse owners and handlers, according to a press release. It also could have caused financial hardship for horse owners and farmers across the state.

The bill was adopted unanimously in the House and the Senate.

“Connecticut has a large population of horse owners and handlers, and as such, I’m happy to sign this legislation, so that we can ensure their operations can continue without possible negative consequences,” said Malloy. “I am proud of Connecticut’s growing agricultural sector, and I remain committed to the growth of this industry and to the hard working farm families of Connecticut.”

Agriculture annually contributes to about $3.5 billion to the state’s economy and accounts for about 28,000 jobs, according to a press release. A recent U.S. Department of Agriculture report indicated the number of farms in the state increased by 22 percent during the last five years, leading New England in the growth rate.

The bill also affects owners of domesticated ponies, donkeys and mules.

Locket’s Meadow Farm is a sanctuary for at-risk animals. The farm offers traditional riding lessons as well as therapeutic lessons for children and adults facing various mental and physical challenges.