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The Township Committee of Shamong, New Jersey, is expected to consider amended proposed changes to its animal ordinances at its upcoming Wednesday, November 7, 2018, meeting.  Due to the successful outreach of concerned local stakeholders, the Township Committee eliminated some troublesome provisions of earlier proposals, including a ban on future breeders and kennels and pet store sourcing restrictions.

However, the American Kennel Club (AKC) remains deeply concerned that the amended proposal contains ownership and breeding limits.  The AKC encourages all concerned residents to contact the members of the Township Committee and urge them to remove these provisions prior to final consideration of the proposal.

BACKGROUND:
In an effort to address a local animal control issue, the Shamong Township Committee was originally expected to vote on significant changes to its animal ordinances, including future prohibitions on kennels and breeders with five or more intact females, at its September meeting.  Due to the successful outreach by many local concerned breeders and owners who expressed deep concerns with the far-reaching and unintended consequences of the original proposal, the Township Committee unanimously tabled its consideration.  Since then, officials have worked with stakeholders to develop a more reasonable proposal aimed at meeting the Township’s goals without infringing on the rights of responsible breeders and owners.

WHAT THE PROPOSAL WILL DO:
As current worded, the proposal would:

  • Increase individual dog license fees, from $10 to $12.
  • Limit individuals to keeping no more than 25 dogs, and impose a 60-day “grace” period during which anyone with more dogs than allowed by the proposal would be required to reduce their number of dogs accordingly.  The AKC opposes ownership limits, and believes that restricting residents’ liberties by imposing numerical ownership limits does not address issues of irresponsible dog ownership and improper dog care. Instead, the AKC supports reasonable and enforceable laws that protect the welfare and health of all dogs without restricting the rights of owners or breeders who meet their responsibilities.  Additionally, because it may lead to needless euthanizations and/or a deprivation of property, the AKC views the 60-day “grace” period as draconian.  If an ownership limit is enacted, the AKC believes it a humane imperative that all dogs currently owned by residents be “grandfathered”, with a reduction in the number owned to be accomplished over time through the natural life cycle or the owner’s transfer of the animals, until the owner meets the newly-imposed limit.
  • Require individuals having 15 or more dogs to register annually with the Township. In addition to the individual dog license fees, registrants would have to pay a $250 registration fee and a $250 first inspection fee.  Registrations may be issued only after inspection by a licensed health department inspector.  If unacceptable conditions are found, applicant will have 30 days to correct conditions and reapply.  Failure to pass a second pre-registration inspection will result in no registration issued.
  • Require at least annual inspection of each registrant’s facilities. It also empowers the Township to inspect any premises, regardless of whether owned by a registrant, if they receive a complaint that animals are being kept in violation of this ordinance.
  • Restrict females from producing more than six litters in their lifetime. While AKC recognizes this limit is high and that breeders rarely, if ever, breed a bitch this frequently, the AKC believes that a better approach is to allow owners, in consultation with their dogs’ veterinarians, to make decisions regarding their dogs’ health, including whether a dog should be bred.
  • Mandate compliance with state requirements regarding facilities and operations standards for kennels, pet shops, shelters, and pounds, regardless of whether dogs are maintained in a home-based kennel or in a separate kennel facility.
  • Impose additional recordkeeping, primary enclosures, veterinary care, and dental care requirements.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Concerned Shamong residents as well as concerned New Jersey breeders, owners, fanciers, enthusiasts, and clubs are strongly encouraged to contact the Shamong Township Mayor, Deputy Mayor, and Township Committee members and encourage them to not enact the dog ordinance proposal as currently worded.  Instead, urge them to continue working with all stakeholder groups in developing appropriate legislative solutions.  Please use the talking points above.

Shamong residents: AKC encourages you to use the following to start your communications to Township officials: “My name is _______.  I am a Shamong resident, a voter, and I urge you to oppose the proposed animal ordinance changes for the following reasons.”  Then use the talking points, above, in your communications.

Mayor Michael Di Croce
Shamong Municipal Building
105 Willow Grove Road
Shamong, NJ  08088
Phone:  609-268-2377, 609-268-6331
Fax:  609-268-2701
Email:  mdicroce@shamong.net

Deputy Mayor Tim Gimbel
Phone:  609-268-2377
Fax:  609-268-2701
Email: tgimbel@shamong.net

Committeeman Michael Cooney
Phone:  609-268-2377
Fax:  609-268-2701
Emails: mikecooney@shamong.net

Committeeman Sean Gray
Phone:  609-268-2377
Fax:  609-268-2701
Email: sgray@shamong.net

Committeeman Martin Mozitis
Phone:  609-268-2377, 609-752-5665 (Cell)
Fax:  609-268-2701
Email: mmozitis@shamong.net

The American Kennel Club will provide additional updates on the Shamong Proposal as developments warrant.  For more information on this or other pending legislation in New Jersey, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at doglaw@akc.org.

 

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