Sen. Sharpe James has once again introduced his annual version of the Responsible Pit Bull Ownership...
Sen. Sharpe James has once again introduced his annual version of the Responsible Pit Bull Ownership Licensing Act (S801). Nearly identical legislation was introduced and soundly defeated in two previous sessions. S801 would allow a municipality to:
- 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." Licenses may be denied to anyone who has been convicted of a criminal offense or animal cruelty, as well as anyone who lives with someone convicted of those crimes.
- 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.
- Send an animal control officer to 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.
S801 is bureaucratic, costly to enforce, and does little to protect the public from dangerous dogs. Please let New Jersey legislators know that communities are best kept safe when laws address all irresponsible owners, not just those who own a particular breed.
What You Can Do:
- Contact the bill sponsor and voice your opposition to S801.
(For a list of talking points, click here.)
Ask him to withdraw the bill from consideration.
The Honorable Sharpe James
State House Box 099
Trenton, NJ 08625-0099
- Contact your own Senator to express your concerns. To find out who represents you in New Jersey, visit: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/members/legsearch.asp
- Watch AKC's Web site for further updates. S801 will likely be referred to a committee soon, and the Canine Legislation department will post more details at that time.