Earlier this week, the New Jersey Assembly Judiciary Committee amended Assembly Bill 1965 and unanimously reported the bill out of committee. The bill seeks to create an animal advocates program in the state. Click here to read more information about A.1965.
- Remove section 1 of the bill in its entirety. Section 1 featured problematic findings that sought to justify providing animals certain policy protections and considerations traditionally reserved for humans, which would have undermined the traditional legal classification of animals as property and limit the rights of responsible animal owners. The American Kennel Club (AKC) and a board coalition of animal interest groups requested the removal of section 1.
- Impose a two-year trial period to the proposed animal advocates program.
While we appreciate the amendments brought forward by the committee chair and primary bill sponsor Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, AKC continues to oppose A.1965. We believe an animal advocates program that provides representation of interests similar to guardians ad litem for children and other people lacking legal capacity may implicitly yet fundamentally impact the legal status of animals in New Jersey. Moreover, New Jersey statutes do not feature an explicit declaration that animals are considered personal property. This is in stark contrast to Connecticut law, which explicitly declares dogs as personal property. Connecticut’s animal advocates program is the model upon which the much more expansive A.1965 is based.
AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) will continue to provide updates on A.1965 and other New Jersey legislation as developments warrant. For more information, contact AKC GR at email@example.com.