As expected, the New Jersey Senate Economic Growth Committee approved Senate Bill 3041 at its meeting on Monday, March 6. The bill is now likely to be considered and voted on by the full Senate on Monday, March 13. It is imperative that concerned New Jersey fanciers and enthusiasts contact their state senator and Senate President Sweeney and respectfully express opposition to S 3041 as currently written.
Click here to see AKC’s previous alert on S 3041.
HISTORY: S 3041 was originally Senate Bill 63. S 3041 was quickly introduced and passed by the Senate Economic Growth Committee as a means to meet necessary legislative deadlines.
The American Kennel Club and a broad coalition of animal welfare groups have strongly opposed SB 63 since its introduction in January 2016. While SB 63 has been significantly amended several times since its introduction, the AKC remains deeply concerned with aspects of both bills.
AKC’S CONCERNS WITH S 3041:
- AKC remains deeply concerned that S 3041 and its predecessor S 63 have not been assigned to or considered by a legislative committee with any animal or husbandry expertise. The AKC believes that legislation with far-reaching impacts on New Jersey, its dogs, and their breeders and owners should receive the fair consideration of legislators recognized for their expertise on such matters before being moved for a final vote.
- In the most recent iteration, S3041/S36 defines anyone who sells more than ten dogs or cats over the course of a year as a “pet dealer”. The term “pet dealer” also includes pet shops, commercial kennels, and boarding kennels. It establishes protocols for enforcement by local counties and municipalities. Some of these standards include specific engineering requirements that are neither possible nor in the best interest of pets in residential settings.
- The AKC is concerned that this arbitrary threshold will regulate far too many fanciers and enthusiasts. Additionally, because most municipalities do not allow commercial enterprises such as animal “dealers” in residential zones, a large litter produced by someone who may breed a litter once a year or even once in a lifetime and sells the puppies may suddenly find that they are in violation of state and local zoning laws.
- Therefore, we continue to recommend that the measure be clarified to express the stated intent of the sponsor that small, hobby breeders be exempt from the dealer licensing requirements.
- The current version of the legislation allows for more health and welfare violations by pet dealers than previous versions before being restricted from supplying pet dealers with animals, and extends the allotted timeline for scrutiny to three years. We recommend the legislation revert to previous versions which differentiated between direct animal welfare violations (which impact the health and welfare of the pet) and indirect violations (which do not impact health and welfare of pets, but pertain to paperwork and similar violations), and which extended the timeline to scrutinize reports to only two years.
- The bills continue to contain more than two pages of “findings” that assail the reputations of dog breeders with broadly-discredited conjecture, questionable statistics, and out-of-date USDA information. The use of such biased and discredited information undermines responsible owner-breeders and will likely serve as the justification for additional regressive legislation that will earn New Jersey the title of the most unfriendly state to dog owners.
- The AKC believes New Jersey can do better than using biased, discredited and misleading anti-breeder language. Instead, we recommend the adoption of the following alternative preamble to fairly explain the justification for the legislation:
- The legislature determines it is in the best of the state and its citizens to support consumer protections for the purchase of pets, support practices that improve the health and welfare of all pets and related public health practices, and to better monitor the sources of pets imported into and transferred to consumers in New Jersey.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: It is imperative that all concerned New Jersey residents contact their State Senators and express their concerns with SB 3041. Please feel free to use the talking points above when composing your communication. Please also cc. Senate President Steven Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto in your emails to your state senator.
Go to http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/members/legsearch.asp to find your New Jersey State Senator.
Senate President Steven Sweeney – SenSweeney@njleg.org
Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto – AsmPrieto@njleg.org