Prompted by the recent shooting of two cows in North Stonington, state legislators are proposing a bill that would allow a veterinarian to be named as an animal advocate in court cases regarding cruelty to animals.
In a state that already has child and victims’ advocates, the animal advocate would work “on behalf of an animal whose welfare or custody is the subject of a criminal or court proceeding’’ in the state, according to the bill.
State Rep. Diana Urban, a Democrat, said the shooting of the cows has raised broader issues that should compel the legislature to focus on the matter more closely.
Since 1971, the FBI “has recognized that there is a link between animal cruelty and future violent behavior’’ by criminals, she said.
“They first found it in mass murderers,’’ Urban said, citing the case of convicted killer Ted Bundy, who had tortured animals. “The FBI agrees with me that these can be an early warning sign, and heaven knows that we are looking for early warning signs of future violence right now.’’
The bill, sponsored by Urban and joined by eight other lawmakers, stems from the shooting of the cows on the family farm of Asa Palmer, an 18-year-old who expects to study agriculture and dairy management in college before returning to the local family farm.
“The idea would be to take this seriously as a red flag for future violent behavior,’’ Urban told reporters. “I will tell you that 80 percent of school shooters started with animal cruelty. … You don’t microwave a cat and do this stuff if you don’t have problems.’’
State Rep. Brenda Kupchik, a Fairfield Republican who serves on the bipartisan Animal Welfare Caucus, said, “If you have a state of mind to stab an animal 29 times or shoot a defenseless cat or cow for no reason at all, you are predisposed to commit violence against a human being, and it needs to be taken seriously.’’
Other notorious killers, including the Son of Sam in New York City and Jeffrey Dahmer, have been involved in animal cruelty.
In the Connecticut case, two men have been arrested in the shooting, and a third man is still being sought by police. Henry A. Williamson, 20, of the Pawcatuck section of Stonington and Max R. Urso, 18, of North Stonington were arrested more than a week ago in the shooting of the Ayrshire cow named Angel and a Holstein. Angel’s jaw was damaged so badly that she had to be euthanized.
After learning about the shootings, Urban helped create a fund that would help Palmer buy another cow. At the news conference Thursday, Urban surprised Palmer by announcing that the fund has now grown to more than $11,000.
Palmer, who had no insurance on his cows, said that a cow can cost $1,200 to $1,500.
“Eleven grand is really, really generous,’’ he said, noting that he could now purchase multiple cows.