CONNECTICUT HUMANE SOCIETY v. FOIC

14079

218 Conn. 757 (1991) | Cited 17 times | Supreme Court of Connecticut | May 21, 1991

The dispositive issue in this appeal iswhether the plaintiff, the Connecticut Humane Society(society), is a public agency within the meaning of

[218 Conn. 758]

     General Statutes 1-18a (a).1 We conclude that thesociety is not a public agency and accordingly affirmthe judgment of the trial court.

The material facts are as follows. The defendant JulieLewin, the Connecticut coordinator for the Fund forAnimals, filed a complaint with the named defendant,the freedom of information commission (FOIC), claimingthat the society's failure to file a schedule of itsmeetings with the secretary of the state and its failureto provide her with notice of its scheduled meetingsand its agenda, following her request, were inviolation of our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). SeeGeneral Statutes 1-21 (a) and 1-21c.2 The society

[218 Conn. 759]

     moved to dismiss the complaint, claiming that it isnot a public agency subject to the FOIA. See GeneralStatutes 1-18a (a). Following hearings, the FOICconcluded that the society is a public agency to theextent that it performs activities authorized by variousstate statutes. See General Statutes 29-108b, 29-108c,29-108e through 29-108g, 53-247 through 53-253.The society appealed to the Superior Court, whichsustained the appeal, concluding that because thesociety does not receive government funds, it is not apublic agency within the meaning of 1-18a (a). Thetrial court further concluded that, even if governmentfunding is not essential to public agency status, thesociety is not a public agency. The FOIC appealed tothe Appellate Court and we thereafter transferred theappeal to ourselves pursuant to Practice Book 4023.

The FOIC claims that the trial court: (1) mistakenlyconcluded that the absence of government funding compelledits conclusion that the society is not a public agencysubject to the FOIA; and (2) improperly substituted itsjudgment for that of the FOIC, concluding that, even ifgovernment funding is not essential, the society is nota public agency.

I

The FOIC first claims that the trial court should nothave concluded that an entity must receive governmentfunding in order to be a public agency subject to theFOIA. We agree.

General Statutes 1-18a (a) provides in pertinentpart: "`[P]ublic agency' or `agency' means any executive,administrative or legislative office of the stateor any political subdivision of the state and any state ortown agency, any department, institution, bureau, board,commission, authority or official of the state . . . ." Incases such as this, where it is unclear whether

[218 Conn. 760]

     a hybrid public/private entity falls within thedefinition set forth in 1-18a (a), we have interpretedthe section to include within its scope an entity thatis the functional equivalent of a public agency. Boardof Trustees v. Freedom of Information Commission,181 Conn. 544, 554-55, 436 A.2d 266 (1980). In determiningwhether an entity is the functional equivalent of apublic agency, we consider the following criteria: "(1)whether the entity performs a governmental function;(2) the level of government funding; (3) the extent ofgovernment involvement or regulation; and (4) whetherthe entity was created by the government."3 Id.,554; see also Hallas v. Freedom of Information Commission,18 Conn. App. 291, 294, 557 A.2d 568 (1989).

In Hallas v. Freedom of Information Commission,supra, 295, the Appellate Court concluded that"[u]nless all four factors [of the functionalequivalency test] are present, the agency does not meetthe test and cannot be considered a public agency."Relying on Hallas v. Freedom of Information Commission,supra, the trial court concluded that because it isundisputed that the society does not receive governmentfunding, one of the four criteria is not satisfied andthat, therefore, the society cannot be considered apublic agency.

In light of the myriad of organizational arrangementsthat may be confronted, under the functional equivalencyapproach, "`each new arrangement must be examined

[218 Conn. 761]

     anew and in its own context.' Washington ResearchProject, Inc. v. Department of Health, Education &Welfare, [504 F.2d 238, 245-46 (D.C. Cir. 1974), cert.denied, 421 U.S. 963, 95 S.Ct. 1951, 44 L.Ed.2d 450(1975)] . . . . A case by case application of thefactors noted above is best suited to ensure that thegeneral rule of disclosure underlying this state's FOIAis not undermined by nominal appellations which obscurefunctional realities." Board of Trustees v. Freedom ofInformation Commission, supra, 554-56. "All relevantfactors are to be considered cumulatively, with no singlefactor being essential or conclusive." RailwayLabor Executives' Assn. v. Consolidated RailCorporation, 580 F. Sup. 777, 778 (D.D.C. 1984),citing Rocap v. Indiek, 539 F.2d 174, 180-81 (D.C. Cir.1976); see also Irwin Memorial Blood Bank of the SanFrancisco Medical Society v. American National Red Cross,640 F.2d 1051, 1055 (9th Cir. 1981); Ciba-Geigy Corporationv. Mathews, 428 F. Sup. 523, 527 (S.D.N.Y. 1977).

We conclude that because the determination of whethera hybrid public/private entity is a public agencysubject to the FOIA requires a balanced case-by-caseconsideration of various factors, the trial courtimproperly concluded that simply because the societydoes not receive government funding, it cannot beconsidered a public agency.

II

The FOIC next claims that, in applying the functionalequivalency test, the trial court improperlysubstituted its judgment for that of the FOIC and,therefore, mistakenly concluded that the society is nota public agency. We disagree.

"The interpretation of statutes presents a questionof law. Connecticut Hospital Assn. v. Commission onHospitals & Health Care, 200 Conn. 133, 139-40,

[218 Conn. 762]

     509 A.2d 1050 (1986)." Board of Education v. Freedom ofInformation Commission, 217 Conn. 153, 158, 585 A.2d 82(1991). "`Although the factual and discretionarydeterminations of administrative agencies are to begiven considerable weight by the courts>; see GeneralStatutes [Rev. to 1987] 4-183 (g); Board of Aldermen v.Bridgeport Community Antennae Television Co., 168 Conn. 294,298-99, 362 A.2d 529 (1975); Westport v. Norwalk,167 Conn. 151, 355 A.2d 25 (1974); 2 Am.Jur.2d,Administrative Law 645, 675; it is for the courts>, andnot for administrative agencies, to expound and applygoverning principles of law. N.L.R.B. v. Brown,380 U.S. 278, 291, 85 S.Ct. 980, 13 L.Ed.2d 839 (1965);International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers v.N.L.R.B., 487 F.2d 1143, 1170-71 (D.C. Cir. 1973),aff'd sub nom. Florida Power & Light Co. v.International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers,417 U.S. 790, 94 S.Ct. 2737, 41 L.Ed.2d 477 (1974); 73C.J.S., Public Administrative Bodies and Procedure69.'" Wilson v. Freedom of Information Commission,181 Conn. 324, 342-43, 435 A.2d 353 (1980).

Because the FOIC's conclusion that the society is apublic agency required an interpretation of 1-18a (a),its decision was a determination of law. Board of Educationv. Freedom of Information Commission, supra. Thetrial court's review of this decision, therefore,required a determination of whether the FOIC actedunreasonably, arbitrarily, illegally or in abuse of itsdiscretion and whether the FOIC's decision is supportedby the evidence. Board of Education v. Freedom ofInformation Commission, 208 Conn. 442, 452,545 A.2d 1064 (1988); New Haven v. Freedom of Information Commission,205 Conn. 767, 773, 535 A.2d 1297 (1988); Board of Trusteesv. Freedom of Information Commission, supra, 548-49.

The trial court concluded that because the societysatisfied only one of the four criteria of the functional

[218 Conn. 763]

     equivalency test, the governmental function prong,and that only in part, the FOIC improperlyconcluded that the society is a public agency. Thetrial court implicitly concluded, therefore, that theFOIC's decision was unsupported by the evidence. Weagree and conclude that, in light of the evidence, thetrial court properly concluded that the society is nota public agency within the meaning of 1-18a (a).

Although the society was chartered by the GeneralAssembly in 1881, the trial court aptly noted that, atthat time, it was common practice for the GeneralAssembly to incorporate private institutions. See S.Cross, Corporation Law in Connecticut (1972) 1.2; seealso Lombardo v. Handler, 397 F. Sup. 792, 794 (D.D.C.1975), aff'd, 546 F.2d 1043 (D.C. Cir. 1976), cert.denied, 431 U.S. 932, 97 S.Ct. 2639, 53 L.Ed.2d 248(1977) (although national academy of sciences createdby government charter, significant that at time ofcreation, Congress exercised exclusive authorizationover all acts of incorporation in District ofColumbia). The mere presence of a government charter,therefore, does not compel the conclusion that thesociety is a public agency. Rocap v. Indiek, supra, 177.

The society has a substantial endowment. Because thesociety determined that it prefers to operate withoutconditions imposed in connection with the acceptance ofstate appropriations, it has not received anappropriation of state funds since 1933. Thus, inmarked contrast to Board of Trustees v. Freedom ofInformation Commission, supra, 554, in which theacademy was almost entirely publicly financed, there isno element of government funding in the present case.

The purpose of the society is to promote humanityand kindness, to prevent cruelty to both man and lower

[218 Conn. 764]

     animals, to provide information and literature to thepublic and to assist in the prosecution of crimes of acruel and inhuman nature. In furtherance of this purpose,the society provides an educational program for schools,in addition to a pet cemetery and general informationon pet care. It also provides for the euthanasia ofunwanted pets. Moreover, agents of the society havestatutory authorization to: (1) prevent cruel treatmentof animals and impose fines or terms of imprisonmentfor interference with such prevention; General Statutes29-108c; (2) detain abandoned or cruelly treatedanimals; General Statutes 29-108e; (3) collect fees forcosts associated with the detention of animals from theowners of the animals; General Statutes 29-108e; seealso General Statutes 29-108f; and (4) kill animalsunder special circumstances. General Statutes 29-108g.The commissioner of public safety is authorized bystatute to appoint agents of the society as specialpolice officers, who have the power to arrest and detainpersons for violating statutes concerning cruelty toanimals. General Statutes 29-108b; see also GeneralStatutes 53-247 through 53-253.

Because law enforcement is traditionally a functionof the government, the society performs a governmentalfunction to the extent that it engages in the lawenforcement activities authorized by statute. See GeneralStatutes 29-108b and 29-108c. Because legislationdesigned to protect animals from cruelty and neglect isrecognized as a valid exercise of the police power;4 Am.Jur.2d, Animals 27; arguably, the society alsoperforms a governmental function insofar as it engagesin the statutorily authorized activities involving thedetention, shelter and euthanasia of animals. SeeGeneral Statutes 29-108e, 29-108g. Nevertheless, thesociety is not required to undertake any of the activitiesauthorized by statute. Moreover, the state still

[218 Conn. 765]

     plays a predominant role in preventing the cruel andinhuman treatment of animals. See, e.g., General Statutes22-272a (approved methods of slaughter), 22-329(prevention of cruelty to dogs and other animals),22-332a (restrictions on use of dogs for medicalresearch), 22-336 (maintenance of dog pounds), 22-342(b) (inspection of kennels), 22-415 (prevention of crueland inhuman treatment of equines).

Local police, dog wardens and the department ofagriculture routinely use the society to investigatecomplaints of animal abuse and neglect. The societyissues warnings and refers continuing instances ofanimal cruelty and neglect to the office of the state'sattorney. The office of the state's attorney and thepolice rely upon the society to hold detained animalsand to provide expertise upon request.

Although the society cooperates with the state in itsefforts to prevent cruel and inhuman treatment ofanimals, there is nothing in the record to indicatethat the state in any way controls or regulates thesociety. Compare Board of Trustees v. Freedomof Information Commission, supra (academy has itsoperations examined and certified by state board ofeducation); Hallas v. Freedom of InformationCommission, supra, 296 (because bond counsel did notoperate under direct, pervasive or continuousregulatory control of government, regulatory prong notsatisfied); see also Forsham v. Harris, 445 U.S. 169,180, 100 S.Ct. 977, 63 L.Ed.2d 293 (1980); RailwayLabor Executives' Assn. v. Consolidated RailwayCorporation, supra, 779. The society is not required toperform any of the activities authorized by statute.Furthermore, performance of the activities is not subjectto governmental review. The society is self-directed andits employees are not government employees. See id.;compare Irwin Memorial Blood Bank of the San Francisco Medical

[218 Conn. 766]

     Society v. American National Red Cross, supra, 1057 (somedegree of government control can be inferred fromPresidential power of appointment to governing body ofRed Cross)

Balancing all the applicable factors, we conclude that,in light of the evidence, the trial court properlyconcluded that the society is not a public agency.

The judgment is affirmed.

1. General Statutes 1-18a (a) provides: "`Publicagency' or `agency' means any executive, administrative orlegislative office of the state or any political subdivisionof the state and any state or town agency, any department,institution, bureau, board, commission, authority or officialof the state or of any city, town, borough, municipal corporation,school district, regional district or other district or otherpolitical subdivision of the state, including any committee of anysuch office, subdivision, agency, department, institution, bureau,board, commission, authority or official, and also includes anyjudicial office, official or body or committee thereof but onlyin respect to its or their administrative functions."

2. General Statutes 1-21 (a) provides in pertinentpart: "Each such public agency of the state shall filenot later than January thirty-first of each year in theoffice of the secretary of the state the schedule ofthe regular meetings of such public agency for theensuing year, except that such provision shall notapply to the general assembly, either house thereof orto any committee thereof." General Statutes 1-21c provides: "The public agencyshall, where practicable, give notice by mail of eachregular meeting, and of any special meeting which iscalled, at least one week prior to the date set for themeeting, to any person who has filed a written requestfor such notice with such body, except that such bodymay give such notice as it deems practical of specialmeetings called less than seven days prior to the dateset for the meeting. Such notice requirement shall notapply to the general assembly, either house thereof orto any committee thereof. Any request for notice filedpursuant to this section shall be valid for one yearfrom the date on which it is filed unless a renewalrequest is filed. Renewal requests for notice shall befiled within thirty days after January first of eachyear. Such public agency may establish a reasonablecharge for sending such notice based on the estimatedcost of providing such service."

3. We derived the functional equivalency test fromfederal case law interpreting the federal Freedom ofInformation Act. See Board of Trustees v. Freedomof Information Commission, 181 Conn. 544, 553,436 A.2d 266 (1980). "Although our Freedom of Information Actdoes not derive from any model act or the federalFreedom of Information Act, other similar acts, becausethey are in pari materia, are interpretively helpful,especially in understanding the necessary accommodationof the competing interests involved. See 2A Sutherland,Statutory Construction (4th Ed.) 51.06, 52.03." Wilsonv. Freedom of Information Commission, 181 Conn. 324,333, 435 A.2d 353 (1980).

The dispositive issue in this appeal iswhether the plaintiff, the Connecticut Humane Society(society), is a public agency within the meaning of

[218 Conn. 758]

     General Statutes 1-18a (a).1 We conclude that thesociety is not a public agency and accordingly affirmthe judgment of the trial court.

The material facts are as follows. The defendant JulieLewin, the Connecticut coordinator for the Fund forAnimals, filed a complaint with the named defendant,the freedom of information commission (FOIC), claimingthat the society's failure to file a schedule of itsmeetings with the secretary of the state and its failureto provide her with notice of its scheduled meetingsand its agenda, following her request, were inviolation of our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). SeeGeneral Statutes 1-21 (a) and 1-21c.2 The society

[218 Conn. 759]

     moved to dismiss the complaint, claiming that it isnot a public agency subject to the FOIA. See GeneralStatutes 1-18a (a). Following hearings, the FOICconcluded that the society is a public agency to theextent that it performs activities authorized by variousstate statutes. See General Statutes 29-108b, 29-108c,29-108e through 29-108g, 53-247 through 53-253.The society appealed to the Superior Court, whichsustained the appeal, concluding that because thesociety does not receive government funds, it is not apublic agency within the meaning of 1-18a (a). Thetrial court further concluded that, even if governmentfunding is not essential to public agency status, thesociety is not a public agency. The FOIC appealed tothe Appellate Court and we thereafter transferred theappeal to ourselves pursuant to Practice Book 4023.

The FOIC claims that the trial court: (1) mistakenlyconcluded that the absence of government funding compelledits conclusion that the society is not a public agencysubject to the FOIA; and (2) improperly substituted itsjudgment for that of the FOIC, concluding that, even ifgovernment funding is not essential, the society is nota public agency.

I

The FOIC first claims that the trial court should nothave concluded that an entity must receive governmentfunding in order to be a public agency subject to theFOIA. We agree.

General Statutes 1-18a (a) provides in pertinentpart: "`[P]ublic agency' or `agency' means any executive,administrative or legislative office of the stateor any political subdivision of the state and any state ortown agency, any department, institution, bureau, board,commission, authority or official of the state . . . ." Incases such as this, where it is unclear whether

[218 Conn. 760]

     a hybrid public/private entity falls within thedefinition set forth in 1-18a (a), we have interpretedthe section to include within its scope an entity thatis the functional equivalent of a public agency. Boardof Trustees v. Freedom of Information Commission,181 Conn. 544, 554-55, 436 A.2d 266 (1980). In determiningwhether an entity is the functional equivalent of apublic agency, we consider the following criteria: "(1)whether the entity performs a governmental function;(2) the level of government funding; (3) the extent ofgovernment involvement or regulation; and (4) whetherthe entity was created by the government."3 Id.,554; see also Hallas v. Freedom of Information Commission,18 Conn. App. 291, 294, 557 A.2d 568 (1989).

In Hallas v. Freedom of Information Commission,supra, 295, the Appellate Court concluded that"[u]nless all four factors [of the functionalequivalency test] are present, the agency does not meetthe test and cannot be considered a public agency."Relying on Hallas v. Freedom of Information Commission,supra, the trial court concluded that because it isundisputed that the society does not receive governmentfunding, one of the four criteria is not satisfied andthat, therefore, the society cannot be considered apublic agency.

In light of the myriad of organizational arrangementsthat may be confronted, under the functional equivalencyapproach, "`each new arrangement must be examined

[218 Conn. 761]

     anew and in its own context.' Washington ResearchProject, Inc. v. Department of Health, Education &Welfare, [504 F.2d 238, 245-46 (D.C. Cir. 1974), cert.denied, 421 U.S. 963, 95 S.Ct. 1951, 44 L.Ed.2d 450(1975)] . . . . A case by case application of thefactors noted above is best suited to ensure that thegeneral rule of disclosure underlying this state's FOIAis not undermined by nominal appellations which obscurefunctional realities." Board of Trustees v. Freedom ofInformation Commission, supra, 554-56. "All relevantfactors are to be considered cumulatively, with no singlefactor being essential or conclusive." RailwayLabor Executives' Assn. v. Consolidated RailCorporation, 580 F. Sup. 777, 778 (D.D.C. 1984),citing Rocap v. Indiek, 539 F.2d 174, 180-81 (D.C. Cir.1976); see also Irwin Memorial Blood Bank of the SanFrancisco Medical Society v. American National Red Cross,640 F.2d 1051, 1055 (9th Cir. 1981); Ciba-Geigy Corporationv. Mathews, 428 F. Sup. 523, 527 (S.D.N.Y. 1977).

We conclude that because the determination of whethera hybrid public/private entity is a public agencysubject to the FOIA requires a balanced case-by-caseconsideration of various factors, the trial courtimproperly concluded that simply because the societydoes not receive government funding, it cannot beconsidered a public agency.

II

The FOIC next claims that, in applying the functionalequivalency test, the trial court improperlysubstituted its judgment for that of the FOIC and,therefore, mistakenly concluded that the society is nota public agency. We disagree.

"The interpretation of statutes presents a questionof law. Connecticut Hospital Assn. v. Commission onHospitals & Health Care, 200 Conn. 133, 139-40,

[218 Conn. 762]

     509 A.2d 1050 (1986)." Board of Education v. Freedom ofInformation Commission, 217 Conn. 153, 158, 585 A.2d 82(1991). "`Although the factual and discretionarydeterminations of administrative agencies are to begiven considerable weight by the courts>; see GeneralStatutes [Rev. to 1987] 4-183 (g); Board of Aldermen v.Bridgeport Community Antennae Television Co., 168 Conn. 294,298-99, 362 A.2d 529 (1975); Westport v. Norwalk,167 Conn. 151, 355 A.2d 25 (1974); 2 Am.Jur.2d,Administrative Law 645, 675; it is for the courts>, andnot for administrative agencies, to expound and applygoverning principles of law. N.L.R.B. v. Brown,380 U.S. 278, 291, 85 S.Ct. 980, 13 L.Ed.2d 839 (1965);International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers v.N.L.R.B., 487 F.2d 1143, 1170-71 (D.C. Cir. 1973),aff'd sub nom. Florida Power & Light Co. v.International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers,417 U.S. 790, 94 S.Ct. 2737, 41 L.Ed.2d 477 (1974); 73C.J.S., Public Administrative Bodies and Procedure69.'" Wilson v. Freedom of Information Commission,181 Conn. 324, 342-43, 435 A.2d 353 (1980).

Because the FOIC's conclusion that the society is apublic agency required an interpretation of 1-18a (a),its decision was a determination of law. Board of Educationv. Freedom of Information Commission, supra. Thetrial court's review of this decision, therefore,required a determination of whether the FOIC actedunreasonably, arbitrarily, illegally or in abuse of itsdiscretion and whether the FOIC's decision is supportedby the evidence. Board of Education v. Freedom ofInformation Commission, 208 Conn. 442, 452,545 A.2d 1064 (1988); New Haven v. Freedom of Information Commission,205 Conn. 767, 773, 535 A.2d 1297 (1988); Board of Trusteesv. Freedom of Information Commission, supra, 548-49.

The trial court concluded that because the societysatisfied only one of the four criteria of the functional

[218 Conn. 763]

     equivalency test, the governmental function prong,and that only in part, the FOIC improperlyconcluded that the society is a public agency. Thetrial court implicitly concluded, therefore, that theFOIC's decision was unsupported by the evidence. Weagree and conclude that, in light of the evidence, thetrial court properly concluded that the society is nota public agency within the meaning of 1-18a (a).

Although the society was chartered by the GeneralAssembly in 1881, the trial court aptly noted that, atthat time, it was common practice for the GeneralAssembly to incorporate private institutions. See S.Cross, Corporation Law in Connecticut (1972) 1.2; seealso Lombardo v. Handler, 397 F. Sup. 792, 794 (D.D.C.1975), aff'd, 546 F.2d 1043 (D.C. Cir. 1976), cert.denied, 431 U.S. 932, 97 S.Ct. 2639, 53 L.Ed.2d 248(1977) (although national academy of sciences createdby government charter, significant that at time ofcreation, Congress exercised exclusive authorizationover all acts of incorporation in District ofColumbia). The mere presence of a government charter,therefore, does not compel the conclusion that thesociety is a public agency. Rocap v. Indiek, supra, 177.

The society has a substantial endowment. Because thesociety determined that it prefers to operate withoutconditions imposed in connection with the acceptance ofstate appropriations, it has not received anappropriation of state funds since 1933. Thus, inmarked contrast to Board of Trustees v. Freedom ofInformation Commission, supra, 554, in which theacademy was almost entirely publicly financed, there isno element of government funding in the present case.

The purpose of the society is to promote humanityand kindness, to prevent cruelty to both man and lower

[218 Conn. 764]

     animals, to provide information and literature to thepublic and to assist in the prosecution of crimes of acruel and inhuman nature. In furtherance of this purpose,the society provides an educational program for schools,in addition to a pet cemetery and general informationon pet care. It also provides for the euthanasia ofunwanted pets. Moreover, agents of the society havestatutory authorization to: (1) prevent cruel treatmentof animals and impose fines or terms of imprisonmentfor interference with such prevention; General Statutes29-108c; (2) detain abandoned or cruelly treatedanimals; General Statutes 29-108e; (3) collect fees forcosts associated with the detention of animals from theowners of the animals; General Statutes 29-108e; seealso General Statutes 29-108f; and (4) kill animalsunder special circumstances. General Statutes 29-108g.The commissioner of public safety is authorized bystatute to appoint agents of the society as specialpolice officers, who have the power to arrest and detainpersons for violating statutes concerning cruelty toanimals. General Statutes 29-108b; see also GeneralStatutes 53-247 through 53-253.

Because law enforcement is traditionally a functionof the government, the society performs a governmentalfunction to the extent that it engages in the lawenforcement activities authorized by statute. See GeneralStatutes 29-108b and 29-108c. Because legislationdesigned to protect animals from cruelty and neglect isrecognized as a valid exercise of the police power;4 Am.Jur.2d, Animals 27; arguably, the society alsoperforms a governmental function insofar as it engagesin the statutorily authorized activities involving thedetention, shelter and euthanasia of animals. SeeGeneral Statutes 29-108e, 29-108g. Nevertheless, thesociety is not required to undertake any of the activitiesauthorized by statute. Moreover, the state still

[218 Conn. 765]

     plays a predominant role in preventing the cruel andinhuman treatment of animals. See, e.g., General Statutes22-272a (approved methods of slaughter), 22-329(prevention of cruelty to dogs and other animals),22-332a (restrictions on use of dogs for medicalresearch), 22-336 (maintenance of dog pounds), 22-342(b) (inspection of kennels), 22-415 (prevention of crueland inhuman treatment of equines).

Local police, dog wardens and the department ofagriculture routinely use the society to investigatecomplaints of animal abuse and neglect. The societyissues warnings and refers continuing instances ofanimal cruelty and neglect to the office of the state'sattorney. The office of the state's attorney and thepolice rely upon the society to hold detained animalsand to provide expertise upon request.

Although the society cooperates with the state in itsefforts to prevent cruel and inhuman treatment ofanimals, there is nothing in the record to indicatethat the state in any way controls or regulates thesociety. Compare Board of Trustees v. Freedomof Information Commission, supra (academy has itsoperations examined and certified by state board ofeducation); Hallas v. Freedom of InformationCommission, supra, 296 (because bond counsel did notoperate under direct, pervasive or continuousregulatory control of government, regulatory prong notsatisfied); see also Forsham v. Harris, 445 U.S. 169,180, 100 S.Ct. 977, 63 L.Ed.2d 293 (1980); RailwayLabor Executives' Assn. v. Consolidated RailwayCorporation, supra, 779. The society is not required toperform any of the activities authorized by statute.Furthermore, performance of the activities is not subjectto governmental review. The society is self-directed andits employees are not government employees. See id.;compare Irwin Memorial Blood Bank of the San Francisco Medical

[218 Conn. 766]

     Society v. American National Red Cross, supra, 1057 (somedegree of government control can be inferred fromPresidential power of appointment to governing body ofRed Cross)

Balancing all the applicable factors, we conclude that,in light of the evidence, the trial court properlyconcluded that the society is not a public agency.

The judgment is affirmed.

1. General Statutes 1-18a (a) provides: "`Publicagency' or `agency' means any executive, administrative orlegislative office of the state or any political subdivisionof the state and any state or town agency, any department,institution, bureau, board, commission, authority or officialof the state or of any city, town, borough, municipal corporation,school district, regional district or other district or otherpolitical subdivision of the state, including any committee of anysuch office, subdivision, agency, department, institution, bureau,board, commission, authority or official, and also includes anyjudicial office, official or body or committee thereof but onlyin respect to its or their administrative functions."

2. General Statutes 1-21 (a) provides in pertinentpart: "Each such public agency of the state shall filenot later than January thirty-first of each year in theoffice of the secretary of the state the schedule ofthe regular meetings of such public agency for theensuing year, except that such provision shall notapply to the general assembly, either house thereof orto any committee thereof." General Statutes 1-21c provides: "The public agencyshall, where practicable, give notice by mail of eachregular meeting, and of any special meeting which iscalled, at least one week prior to the date set for themeeting, to any person who has filed a written requestfor such notice with such body, except that such bodymay give such notice as it deems practical of specialmeetings called less than seven days prior to the dateset for the meeting. Such notice requirement shall notapply to the general assembly, either house thereof orto any committee thereof. Any request for notice filedpursuant to this section shall be valid for one yearfrom the date on which it is filed unless a renewalrequest is filed. Renewal requests for notice shall befiled within thirty days after January first of eachyear. Such public agency may establish a reasonablecharge for sending such notice based on the estimatedcost of providing such service."

3. We derived the functional equivalency test fromfederal case law interpreting the federal Freedom ofInformation Act. See Board of Trustees v. Freedomof Information Commission, 181 Conn. 544, 553,436 A.2d 266 (1980). "Although our Freedom of Information Actdoes not derive from any model act or the federalFreedom of Information Act, other similar acts, becausethey are in pari materia, are interpretively helpful,especially in understanding the necessary accommodationof the competing interests involved. See 2A Sutherland,Statutory Construction (4th Ed.) 51.06, 52.03." Wilsonv. Freedom of Information Commission, 181 Conn. 324,333, 435 A.2d 353 (1980).

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