On Tuesday, January 9, after its 2022-2023 session was adjourned, New Jersey’s new 2024-2025 legislative session was convened.
Several bills of significant concern to the American Kennel Club (AKC) died upon adjournment of the ’22-’23 session. They included Assembly Bill 1965 (courtroom advocates), Assembly Bill 4920 (residential kennels licensing), Senate Bill 1803 (prohibiting declawing of cats, other animals; repeal of consumer protection law), and Senate Bill 4079 (retail sales ban of dogs, cats, and rabbits).
The news was not all good in New Jersey. Despite already having a law that provided an easy and fair process for animal control agencies, including shelters and rescues, to be paid for taking care of animals that are seized for alleged cruelty or neglect; and that also provided for the forfeiture of animals upon a defendant being found guilty of, or liable for, an animal cruelty violation, Governor Murphy signed Senate Bill 981 into law in July. Supported by special interest groups that seek to protect the business interests of shelters and rescues, the new law abandons the interests of reasonableness, fairness, and equity for people under the law. Moreover, the bill disregards Constitutional requirements that protect all U.S. citizens, including New Jersey residents, from overreaching enforcement powers.
As is tradition in New Jersey, the start of a new legislative session sees the reintroduction of most bills from the previous session that remained pending at its close. Those, and other bills of concern in the new session, include Assembly Bill 365 (prohibits ear cropping and tail docking), Senate Bill 282 (courtroom advocates), Senate Bill 297 (retail sales ban of dogs, cats, and rabbits; repeal of consumer protection law), and Senate Bill 1406 (prohibiting declawing of cats, other animals). A number of bills seeking to regulate dog groomers and dog trainers have also been introduced. So far, AKC Government Relations (GR) is tracking 63 dog-related bills in the new session and expects more to be introduced.
Additionally, AKC will continue to advocate for constitutionally sound and reasonable laws that seek to promote and protect the rights of responsible dog owners.
CONTACT YOUR STATE LAWMAKERS IN THEIR HOME DISTRICTS
As the new legislature begins, there’s no better time than now for New Jersey residents to meet with their state Senators and Representatives in their home district. Share with them your expertise as a dog breeder and owner, and concerns about anti-dog, anti-owner legislation. Offer to be a resource for their consideration of dog-related bills.
By working together, we can support good legislation and oppose bad bills, thereby protecting our rights to own, exhibit, breed, and enjoy the dogs we love. If you are not receiving AKC’s legislative alerts by email, visit www.akcgr.org and scroll down to “Sign Up for Alerts”.
For additional information, please contact AKC Government Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org.