Bills to Prevent Animal Cruelty Gain NJ Assembly Panel Approval

Five animal welfare bills sponsored by Assembly Democrats Reed Gusciora, Daniel Benson, Gilbert  Wilson, Pamela Lampitt and Bob Andrzejczak to crack down on animal cruelty were unanimously approved by a New Jersey Assembly panel on Thursday.

A-201, sponsored by Gusciora, Benson and Wilson, would authorize the courts to issue an animal protection order against anyone found guilty of abusing an animal or otherwise violating the state animal cruelty laws. The animal protection order would require the person to refrain from interacting with an animal permanently or for a period of time specified by the court.


“As a humane society, we should not tolerate abuses against animals any more than we would against a person,” said Gusciora (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “Sadly, there have been a number of high-profile animal abuse cases in recent years, a good number of which arise from domestic disputes, lending even more support for this legislation. Whether it’s indirect abuse, like starvation, direct abuse such as physical violence or the anger of a disgruntled spouse or partner, this bill will help protect innocent animals.”

A-1023, sponsored by Benson and Lampitt, would allow an animal welfare organization, animal rescue organization, or the operator of a foster home or shelter to take custody of an animal confiscated from its owner while animal cruelty charges are pending.

“This is an important step to help ensure that animals are protected during these sensitive times rather than neglected or discarded in a kill-shelter,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “There are many great animal welfare and rescue organizations out there that would love to provide a caring environment for animals that have been abused or neglected and we should take advantage of this to offer the best outcome for these animals.”

A-2938, sponsored by Andrzejczak, would permit a municipality that does not have a shelter to contract with an animal foster care service for collecting and caring for stray animals found within the municipality. Under the bill, such service must be maintained by a non-profit humane society or other similar association that has continuously engaged in animal foster care for at least one year and whose members or volunteers provide temporary shelter and care for animals pending their permanent adoption or admission to a pound.

A-2961, sponsored by Andrzejczak and Gusciora, establishes financial

penalties for failure to include a bittering agent in antifreeze, which is already required of such products sold in New Jersey.

A3381, sponsored by Gusciora, expands criminal and civil acts of animal cruelty to include the theft or release of a living animal or creature during an act of burglary. Violators found guilty would be subject to a fine of between $250 and $1,000, a jail term of up to six months, or both.

“We’ve seen a number of heartbreaking cases involving families whose pets have been killed, injured or gone missing as a result of a burglary,” said Gusciora. “For many individuals, pets are considered part of the family and can’t simply be replaced if stolen or lost. Even pets that are successfully reunited with their owners may suffer physical or emotional injuries as a result. Hopefully this bill will help prevent the theft or unlawful release of pets during a burglary.”

The bills were approved by the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and now await consideration by the full New Jersey Assembly.

One Comment

  1. Be careful that you don’t allow HSUS to determine what is cruelty. For them using a crate when traveling with an animal is cruelty, having fleas is abusive, having tarter on the teeth is abusive, any skin disease is abuse, any genetic issue is abuse and we all know these are things that can be in any pet or kennel at any time. They also would like to make using a leash abuse, and keeping pets confined abuse. If you have to put your pet to sleep because it has a painful incurable disease they would also consider that abuse especially if you wish to do it at home to ease your pets stress. These laws are very arbitrary and blind to reality. Animal rights is about removing all animals from your life. The Alinsky Rules-for-Radicals tactic of: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy.” is today being used to demonize pet retail stores that sell puppies, dog breeders of every scale, the AKC and the very concept of owning a purebred dog of known characteristics. Some people are even embarrassed to admit they obtained their dog from a breeder because of this ongoing demonization.

    Despite all of this, very few dogs obtained through pet stores or from USDA licensed commercial breeders lead to lawsuits, prosecutions or even returns. In fact the return rate for rescue groups and shelters due to bad behavior because they deal in diseased feral dogs is 47% very high indeed. Whereas for breeders who have take back clauses in their contracts its very low under 1%. This is politics, not animal welfare and local and state legislatures and the courts, ought to see it for what it is: the desire of one group of people to impose their values and beliefs upon another. Banning retail puppy sales would be exactly that.

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