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LIFE is a choice that you make everyday to change and empower your self.Choose to be true, to be positive, and to be happy. No matter what. Venkat Desireddy.

By Divorce Attorney Marcia Blake, Jul 9 2016 06:03PM

With the recent surge of dogbites, one resulting in the tragic death of a New Haven resident, dog owners and keepers should update themselves on the laws governing dogbites in the state of Connecticut. It is also prudent for keepers and owners obtain insurance coverage specifically for their dogs even if they have not displayed any vicious tendencies. But most importantly, it is advisable that owners and keepers pay keen attention to their dog’s propensities and protect unsuspecting persons from potentially dangerous attacks.

The following is from OLR Research Report. 2004-R-0308:

Connecticut has a variety of laws aimed at controlling dogs. Regarding leashes, it is illegal to allow your dog to roam; create a disturbance; or growl, bite, or otherwise annoy anyone using the highway. (Local governments may create leash ordinances.) A 14-day quarantine is required when a dog bites a person. An animal control officer (ACO) or the Department of Agriculture (DOAg) commissioner may also order a biting dog restrained or killed. A dog's owner or keeper is liable for any damage caused by his dog. Dog bite victims are immune from civil and criminal liability for killing the dog during the attack.


Roaming Dogs

The general statutes do not mandate that dogs be on leashes at all times. But (1) a dog's owner or keeper must not allow it to roam on another person's land or on a public highway, including sidewalks, if it is not under his control and (2) local governments may create leash ordinances. Violating the state roaming law is an infraction punishable by a fine of $92 (CGS § 22-364). Additionally, the Environmental Protection Department requires that owners keep their dogs leashed in state parks.

Vicious Dogs. By law, an owner or keeper of a vicious dog who intentionally or recklessly allows the dog to roam and the dog physically injures another person who was not teasing, tormenting, or abusing it, is subject to a fine of up to $1,000, imprisonment for up to six months, or both. For the penalty to apply, the dog's owner must have been convicted in the preceding year of allowing the dog to roam (CGS § 22-364).


A dog's owner or keeper is liable for any damage caused by his dog to a person's body or property, unless the damage was sustained while the person was committing a trespass or other tort, or teasing, abusing, or tormenting the dog. The law presumes that anyone under the age of seven was not committing a trespass or teasing the dog unless the defendant can prove otherwise (CGS § 22-357). If damage has been caused by two or more dogs at the same time, their owners or keepers are jointly and severally liable for the entire damage (CGS § 22-356).

Reporting and Killing

The victim of a dog bite must report the attack to a state, town, or regional ACO responsible for the town where the attack occurred. The ACO must immediately investigate the attack. Anyone who is bitten by a dog or who shows visible evidence of having been attacked may kill the dog during the attack if it happens off the animal owner's or keeper's premises. The law exempts anyone killing a biting dog in accordance with this law from criminal or civil liability (CGS § 22-358).

Public health regulations require health care providers to report to the local health director or authority anyone they treat or examine who has or is suspected of having a “reportable disease,” which includes rabies. (Conn. Regulations §19a-36-A3)

Another law prohibits anyone from owning or harboring a dog which is a nuisance because of a vicious disposition, excessive barking, or other disturbance. The courts may make any order necessary to restrain or dispose of the dog (CGS § 22-363). The penalty for violating the law is an infraction for the first offense and for subsequent offenses the violator may be fined up to $100, imprisoned for up to 30 days, or both. Section 22-362 of the Connecticut General Statutes makes it a crime to own or keep a dog which habitually goes out on a highway and growls, bites, snaps at, or otherwise annoys any person or domestic animal using the highway or chases or interferes with any motor vehicle on the highway. Violators may be fined between $25 and $50, imprisoned for up to 30 days, or both for the first offense and for subsequent offenses they may be fined between $50 and $100, imprisoned for up to 60 days, or both.

This information was originally written by Joseph Holstead OLR Research Report. 2004-R-0308. Please check specific statutes for updates.

By Divorce Attorney Marcia Blake, Jun 4 2016 04:51PM

Are you or a family member living in the U.S. in an abusive relationship?

If this is you or someone you know, contact a help hotline immediately. The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TDD).

The violence against women act (VAWA) which really should be relabeled, as it protects BOTH MEN and WOMEN who have suffered abuse, permits certain abused family members of U.S. Citizens and permanent residents to self- petition for a green card without the help or knowledge of your abuser. This allows victims to seek both safety and independence from their abuser, who is not notified about the filing.

Immigrants are particularly vulnerable to abuse because we are often separated from family and friends, and may not understand the laws of the United States. For these reasons, immigrants are often afraid to report acts of domestic violence to the police or to seek other forms of assistance. Such fear causes many immigrants to remain in abusive relationships. Know that there is help available!

Men are victims of domestic abuse too.

Although domestic violence is more commonly carried out against women, it is a dangerous myth to believe that domestic violence are only perpetrated by men. Men are victims of domestic violence, but because of the many labels that society imposes on us in terms of gender roles most abused men continue to suffer in silence.

Domestic Violence perpetrated by both men and women as the abuser of immigrants in the US is a growing concern. In addition to the factors keeping the abused from reporting their abusers there is usually the fear of losing everything and being deported. The abusers often use the promise of deportation as a tool to control their victims.

You do not need to stay in an abusive relationship because of fear of deportation! There is help out there that doesn't involve your abuser!

Remember, domestic violence does not get better it escalates. Do not become a statistic. Be strong enough to walk away NOW and save yourself and reduce the long term psychological impact it will have on your children.

Most experts believe that children who are raised in abusive homes learn that violence is an effective way to resolve conflicts and problems. They may replicate the violence they witnessed as children in their teen and adult relationships and parenting experiences or they may become victims themselves!

What are the benefits of VAWA?

1. It allows the abused family member to remain in the United States and eventually obtain lawful permanent residence/green card

2. It provides work authorization

Who is Eligble?

1. An abused noncitizen child or spouse of a US citizen or permanent resident parent

2. An abused noncitizen parent of U.S. citizen

3. A child, whether abused or not, of a parent who was abused by a US citizen or permanent resident spouse.

The Requirements to Qualify for VAWA

1. The abusive family member is or was a US citizen or lawful permanent resident

2. The abused family member resided at some point with the abusive U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident parent, in or out of the U.S.

Help is available from the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TDD). The hotline has information about shelters, mental health care, legal advice and other types of assistance, including information about filing for immigration status. For more information, visit the National Domestic Violence website.

Call my office to discuss your legal options: 203-764-0337

By Divorce Attorney Marcia Blake, May 18 2016 02:54PM

Dealing with separation and divorce is a difficult plight for even the strongest of us but it is especially mind boggling for those who never saw it coming. You’ve provided your family with a safe and happy home for years then suddenly, you are served….s/he wants a divorce.

The unfortunate reality is that many families find themselves in this very situation. Crippled with the questions of why, how, when, can I fix it? The unsuspecting party rarely wants to contend with the legal procedures involved in a divorce. This Blog post serves to offer some navigation tips for the unsuspecting party.

Once you are served with papers it is important that you consult with an attorney to discuss and explore all your options (Yes you have options!). For some, the shortage of money stands as a barrier to retain legal help, for those people, many organizations provide discounted and in some instances free legal service for those who qualify.

Others, determine that they are competent enough to navigate the divorce process on their own. If this is you, please be mindful that there are important filing timelines amongst other things that must be keenly observed. As my colleague puts it, unless you have no money, no kids, no real estate, and a very short marriage, going the DIY route in your divorce is a very bad idea. Still, if you feel confident to go it alone, the Connecticut Judicial Branch provides a comprehensive and very informative directive on DO IT YOURSELF DIVORCES. See,

Whichever route you choose, a divorce involves many important and often times competing interests. In most cases, you must think about child custody, spousal support, property division…who will keep the dog? Who will maintain the mortgage for the family home? Are you going to sell the home? Where will the children go to school? What about the Wedgewood 19th Century Dinnerware your grandmother left you both? These taken together or even separately often leads to a state of unrest and discord.

Tips when served with divorce papers (Some of these tips assumes that you are self-represented)

Show up! File an appearance in the court, it is not enough to let the court decide without you being there. This is not the time to be docile! Too often one spouse harbors the misguided belief that it is just easier to not participate in the process. If you are not present at the table your interests cannot be protected, it is that simple.

Ask questions! If you decided on the DIY route, when you are unsure about a particular course of action, ask questions. There are many attorneys that will charge a consultation fee to answer the questions that you might have lingering.

Take stock of all properties. Real Estate (the marital home, the rental property), the business, the offshore accounts, and all personal property. Assume it is all to be marital property until and unless a legal professional tells you otherwise.

Do not try to intimidate the other party! Too often, parties to a divorce decides to flex their muscles in the mud. They engage in physical confrontations others turn to social media to vent! It is very easy to play the game of scorn, but remember this is NEVER a good idea! And no, you may not change the locks on the door unless you have a court order to do so. He or she has as much right to the marital home as you do until a court says otherwise or you both have an agreement on the issue.

Do not put your children in the midst of it! This is NEVER effective, if anything it works against your ability to maintain a good relationship with your children in the long run.

Be purposeful and intentional about protecting your children. Emotions are high, tempers are flaring, you feel anger and resentment, you want to make him/her pay. These are all common and valid emotions while navigating a divorce but you must do everything possible to reduce your young children’s exposure to any display of such emotions. Protect your children from the emotional turmoil that is sure to ensue from a contested divorce. The long term damages are far reaching and irreversible in many instance. Be mindful of this.

Proceed strategically and do not take cheap shots. Your credibility is always on trial, remember that your actions or inactions also speaks for you. What exactly are you saying to the court when you, in a fit of rage throw his/her personal belongings out on the front porch in the rain?

If you need to, speak to a counselor. A neutral third party can help to give perspective on an issue. They can sometimes help you make sense of things that you are struggling to grasp. You can only benefit.

Be purposeful about living. Do not fall into the mind trap of thinking that your life is over. It is not. As Alan Watts stated, the only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move into it, and join the dance. With that said, be exceptionally kind to yourself!

And, finally remember that this is only a phase (hear me know, believe me later)! It ends, just like there are seasons that comes to a halt making way for the next. A divorce comes to a screeching halt making way for a new life fueled by new dreams and aspirations. But you must first decide to focus on your future and not the past. In any event, proceed with prudence holding your integrity in tact by whatever means necessary.

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Attorney Marcia P. Blake

"You Have Rights. I Protect Them".