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As expected, yesterday the New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee approved Senate Bill 2868.  The bill seeks to create court-appointed legal advocates for animals, but features language that explicitly undermines the traditional legal classification of animals as property and limits the rights of animal owners.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) strongly condemns animal cruelty and believes that the creation of court-appointed animal advocates is likely to result in legal and pragmatic issues regarding who is responsible for an animal and will ultimately impact the ability of dog owners to freely choose the most appropriate course of care and treatment for their pets.

Click here to read AKC’s Laws That Provide Court-Appointed Animal Advocates Could Undermine Animal Welfare.  

Before yesterday’s hearing, AKC requested that S.2868 not be passed by the committee, or in the alternative to remove the bill’s animal rights-based findings and clearly state that the provisions of the bill not impact the legal classification of animals as property.  The AKC appreciates the many dog clubs and individuals who joined AKC in opposing S.2686, which outnumbered those who expressed direct support of the bill by over 6-to-1.  Nevertheless, the committee disregarded those concerns and approved the bill without amendments.

Click here to read AKC’s Understanding the Difference Between Animal Rights and Animal Welfare.

S.2868 has not been assigned to any additional senate committees for consideration at this time.  AKC’s Government Relations Department (AKC GR) will continue to work in opposing S.2868, and will provide additional updates as developments warrant.

For more information, contact AKC GR at