New Jersey Assembly Bill 1365 seeks to prohibit the “harassing or taking” of wildlife at competitive events. Because the bill could impact clubs offering AKC-sanctioned performance events in New Jersey, including those that offer sporting, hound, earthdog, and herding events, it is imperative that AKC-affiliated clubs in New Jersey, and breeders, owners, and performance dog enthusiasts, contact the members of the New Jersey Assembly Agriculture Committee and respectfully urge them to amend A.1365 prior to passage.
As currently worded, A.1365 would make it unlawful (1) to harass or take covered wildlife at a competitive event; and (2) for any person to organize, sponsor, promote, conduct, or participate in a competitive event at which the participants harass or take covered wildlife. The bill’s expansive definitions of “competitive event” and “harass” could result in prohibiting some AKC-sanctioned Performance events from being conducted in New Jersey.
AKC REQUESTS CLARIFYING AMENDMENT TO A.1365
The American Kennel Club’s position on the use of dogs in sporting, working, and competition activities is clear: We encourage and strongly support the interaction and mutual enjoyment of owners and dogs in sporting activities such as hunting and field trials; in working circumstances such as herding, tracking, and pulling; and in competition events such as dog shows, obedience trials, agility trials, and other performance events and tests.
A.1365 is similar legislation filed in multiple states that would ban competitive events involving dogs bred for AKC performance Events and related activities. Substantively similar legislation was filed in New York in 2019 as Assembly Bill 772, which also could have impacted AKC performance events. Thankfully, after successful outreach by AKC and allied organizations to that bill’s sponsor, that legislation and its successor were amended by (1) clarifying that hunting contests where the sole objective is taking the largest number of game or wild birds would be prohibited, and (2) any prohibition would not apply to field trials, dog training areas, or canine performance events.
It is imperative that A.1365 be similarly amended to protect AKC-sanctioned events and related activities, including clarification that pen-raised quarry not be subject to the prohibition.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
AKC-affiliated clubs, breeders, owners, and performance enthusiasts are strongly encouraged to contact the members of the Assembly Agriculture Committee and respectfully urge them to amend A.1365 before its upcoming hearing on Wednesday, January 27, 2021.
The public may submit written testimony electronically in lieu of oral testimony, which will be included in the committee record and distributed to all the committee members. Written testimony should be submitted to OLSAideAAN@njleg.org.
If you are interested in only registering your position with the committee, please fill out the Registration Form located on the New Jersey Legislature Home Page under the applicable Committee heading.
Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, Chair
802 West Park Avenue
Ocean Twp., NJ 07712
Assemblyman Adam J. Taliaferro, Vice Chair
Assemblyman John Armato
Assemblyman Ronald Dancer
Assemblyman Parker Space
Assemblywoman Lisa Swain
Due to the public health emergency, the State House Annex remains closed to visitors. The public may not attend the committee meeting in person but may view and participate in the meeting via the New Jersey Legislature home page at https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/. The committee will take oral testimony on bills, by telephone and video. For those individuals who wish to testify, please check the box “Do you wish to testify?” on the Registration Form. Instructions for testifying before the committee will be forwarded to you after you submit your Registration Form. The form must be submitted by 3:00 PM on January 26, 2021.