Thursday, August 6, 2015
The New Jersey Senate’s Economic Growth Committee will consider five proposals dealing with dogs on Monday, August 10. The American Kennel Club encourages all dog owners in New Jersey to review the proposals and contact the members of the committee with any concerns you may have.
- Assembly Bill 2389 and Senate Bill 224 seek to prohibit those convicted of animal cruelty offenses from owning domestic companion animals by allowing courts to order the forfeiture of any domestic companion animal owned by the offender and to order the offender to refrain from acquiring or owning any domestic animal for at least two years. Additionally, the bills seek to prohibit those convicted of animal cruelty offenses from working or volunteering at animal-related enterprises. Should the bills become law, owners or operators of animal-related enterprises—which include animal care and veterinary operations, training facilities, kennels, shelters, pet shops, and other facilities—are required to pay for background checks to be performed on both current and prospective employees and volunteers to determine whether such individuals have been convicted of an animal cruelty offense. Additionally, the bills effectively create an animal cruelty offender registry by requiring the Commissioner of Health to add the names of animal cruelty offenders to an existing list of individuals not eligible to serve as certified animal control officers. The list must be made available online must be updated regularly.
- Senate Bill 466 also seeks to prohibit individuals who violate any animal cruelty law from owning, keeping, or harboring animals, and requires the Department of Health to maintain a website list of those individuals. SB 466 does not provide a time limit for which a prohibition of ownership of animals would be effective. Further, under the provisions of the bill, if an enforcement official is made aware that a person whose name appears on the list of offenders is owning or keeping an animal, the enforcement official is required to seize the animal and to petition a court for disposition of the animal.
- Senate Bill 2625 seeks to require registration of animal importers and licensing of animal grooming facilities and animal training facilities. The bill defines animal importer as, “a person who brings any cat or dog into the State from any other state or sovereign entity for the purpose of offering the cat or dog for sale, adoption, or transfer in exchange for any fee, sale, voluntary contribution, service, or other consideration”, and includes any commercial or nonprofit animal rescue, adoption, or humane relocation or delivery organization that is not otherwise required to be licensed by the Department of Health. The bill requires the Commission of Health to develop rules and regulations establishing the procedures and registration and reporting requirements for animal importers, and the procedures and reporting requirements concerning the importation of cats and dogs into the State. Animal importers conducting sales or adoption events in locations open to the public are required to provide notice to the Department of Health. Additionally, those who own, operate, or plan to establish a grooming or training facility would be required to obtain a license from the municipal clerk in the municipality where the facility is (to be) located; and the Commissioner of Health will be charged with developing rules and regulations for such facilities.
- Senate Bill 3061 seeks to limit the tethering of, and outdoor shelter for, dogs. In addition to equipment requirements, owners are prohibited from allowing a dog to be tethered for more than 30 minutes under certain circumstances. Owners are also prohibited from keeping a dog outdoors for more than 30 minutes unless the dog is provided easy access to a proper outdoor shelter. These time limitations do not apply if an owner remains outside with a dog. The bill allows an enforcement official who has reasonable cause to believe that a dog is at risk of imminent harm due to a violation of the tethering or outdoor shelter requirements to immediately enter the private property where the dog is located and take custody of it. The bill defines fines for violations, which courts may reduce by amounts owners spend to bring outdoor shelters into compliance.
Please note that each of the bill explanations provided here are only brief synopses of the proposals. Each bill attempts to extensively address their issues. New Jersey residents are encouraged to read each bill in its entirety.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
New Jersey dog owners are encouraged to contact the members of the Senate Economic Development Committee and respectfully express support or any concerns you may have with the proposals.
Senate Economic Development Committee
State Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, Chair
Phone: (908) 624-0880 (Union)
Phone: (908) 327-9119 (Elizabeth)
To access form to email State Senator Lesniak, go to his member page and click “Contact Your Legislator(s)”
For more information about these and other New Jersey legislative issues impacting dogs, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720, or email email@example.com.
The New Jersey Senates Economic Growth Committee will consider five proposals dealing with dogs on Monday, August 10. The American Kennel Club encourages all dog owners in New Jersey to review the proposals and contact the members of the committee with any concerns you may have.