NJ Update: BSL Pending, Help Needed

Immediate help from New Jersey dog owners is needed to defeat legislation that would severely...

Immediate help from New Jersey dog owners is needed to defeat legislation that would severely restrict ownership of "pit bulls" and possibly Rottweilers. A2906 was introduced in October 2002 and fanciers immediately rallied to educate lawmakers about the ineffectiveness of breed-specific legislation. An identical Senate bill, S2381, was introduced in late February. We must act now to stop these bills.

WHAT THE BILLS DO:

  • Require a special license for all "pit bulls" ($150-700) - including "American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Terriers and any dog determined to be a pit bull type." The author has said he intends to include Rottweilers.
     
  • Allow municipalities to require anyone who owns a dog to prove that it ISN'T a pit bull (municipality will visually inspect the dog to determine whether it is a pit bull). Very few municipalities have staff with any breed identification knowledge or experience.
     
  • Require confinement in a permanent enclosure (including a secure pen AND a 6-ft. fence).
     
  • Require pit bulls to be muzzled when off owner's property and leashed (3-feet long or less). Also, the leash must be approved by an animal control officer.
     
  • The municipality must inspect the enclosure and the licensee's property at least monthly.
     
  • Require liability insurance for owners.
     
  • Violators are subject to fine up to $1000/day.
     
  • Seized dogs will be placed in no-kill shelter until properly adopted or until the dog dies of natural causes.

 

OTHER POINTS ABOUT A2906/S2381:

  • NJ state law prohibits labeling a dog "dangerous" based on breed alone. A2906/S2381 is contrary to existing state law.
     
  • NJ has a good dangerous dog law in place the key to solving dangerous dog problems is not to pass arbitrary new restrictions but to enforce the existing law.
     
  • Breed-specific laws are unfair to responsible owners of the restricted breeds. Deeds, not breeds, should be the determining factor.
     
  • Breed-specific laws increase costs for the community. Administrative costs, enforcement costs, and shelter costs will skyrocket under A2906/S2381.
     
  • Uniformly enforced dangerous dogs laws-like the existing NJ state law will force all owners to be responsible, regardless of what breed they own.
     
  • Countless national animal organizations-American Kennel Club, AVMA, ASPCA, National Animal Control Association, National Animal Interest Alliance, and others oppose breed-specific legislation because they know it simply doesn't work. No animal welfare group supports these bills.

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  • Immediately e-mail, call or write your NJ Assemblymember and Senator and urge him/her to oppose A2906/S2381. (To find your legislator's contact information, visit http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/members/legsearch.asp.)
     
  • Contact the sponsors of the bills and tell them New Jersey dog owners oppose A2906/S2381.

    Asm. John J. Burzichelli (D-3)
    State House Box 098
    Trenton, NJ 08625-0098
    609-292-5339
    E-Mail: asmburzichelli@njleg.org.

    Senator Sharpe James (D-29)
    State House Box 099
    Trenton, NJ 08625-0099
    609-292-5339
     
  • Share this information with fellow dog owners in New Jersey.

    DON'T WAIT - WE NEED YOUR HELP NOW!

 

For more information, contact:

AKC Canine Legislation dept.919-816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org.

NJ Federation of Dog Clubs