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The American Kennel Club is alarmed by the provisions of New Jersey Assembly Bill 2649. The proposal attempts to replace New Jersey's already comprehensive and reasonable animal cruelty laws and humane care standards with an unnecessary, confusing, and haphazard system that will not only affect the health of the general public, but will also threaten the due process rights of individual animal owners.

The AKC believes that dog owners bear a special responsibility to their canine companions to provide proper care and humane treatment at all times. We take animal cruelty cases seriously—in fact, anyone convicted of animal cruelty involving a dog will have all AKC privileges suspended. The AKC also supports reasonable and enforceable laws that govern dog ownership, as is currently provided by New Jersey's regime of common-sense laws and regulations. Among AB 2649's 56 pages, its most egregious proposals include the following:

  • Any person, regardless of their lack of knowledge, training, or expertise, could accuse another person of animal cruelty, while receiving immunity from prosecution for cruelty themselves. Without providing redress for someone who has been unjustifiably and vindictively accused of animal cruelty, this provision is ripe for abuse.
  • The use of a living bird or other animal in events would be considered animal abuse. This would effectively make illegal many performance events, including Earthdog, Coonhound, and Sporting dog hunt tests and field trials.
  • The definition of “minimum care” required for the care of animals will be lessened to include “veterinary care deemed necessary by a reasonably prudent person”. AKC believes that veterinary care in all cases should be administered with a professional standard of care with the highest levels of professionalism and competence, as deemed necessary by a licensed veterinarian.
  • The definition of “cruelly restraining a dog” specifically bans the tethering of dogs with less than 15 feet of tether. This provision does not expressly provide an exemption for dogs being groomed on grooming tables in any setting, including grooming salons and dog shows. With substantive animal cruelty provisions already in place, New Jersey state and local governments need to enforce existing law in cruel tethering cases. Irresponsible owners who are not providing humane treatment for their animals can and should be prosecuted under current law.

What You Can Do:

Contact your representative in the New Jersey General Assembly and express your opposition to AB 2649. To find your Assemblymember, click here.

For more information, contact AKC's Canine Legislation Department at (919) 816-3503, or e-mail

The American Kennel Club is alarmed by the provisions of New Jersey Assembly Bill 2649. The proposal…