New Jersey Committee to Consider Dog Bills on Thursday, May 19th
Posted By AKC
The New Jersey Assembly’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee will consider two dog-related bills on Thursday, May 19. The American Kennel Club (AKC) 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 308 seeks 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 bill seeks to prohibit those convicted of animal cruelty offenses from working or volunteering at animal-related enterprises. Should the bill be enacted, 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 and be updated regularly.
AKC Opinion in AB 308: The AKC appreciates efforts to ensure that those found to have committed animal cruelty crimes are appropriately punished, and that chances of recidivism are reduced. As currently written, AB 308 allows for a court, following conviction, to appoint a receiver to whom ownership and custody of an animal is transferred, but it does not require that non-possessory co-owners trump all other parties that may serve as receiver. The AKC believes the bill should be amended to ensure the property rights of co-owners not party to the underlying criminal incident are protected.
- Assembly Bill 3421 seeks to create an animal abuser registry.
AKC Opinion on AB 3421: Animal abuser registries, as provided for in both AB 3421 and AB 308, are easily evaded. For example, an individual convicted of animal cruelty could easily evade tracking by providing fake or altered names, or by not provided updated addresses to those requiring identification. The AKC believes a more effective use of the state’s resources would be focus on and utilize enforcement activities that have been proven effective at punishing and deterring criminals.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: New Jersey dog owners are encouraged to contact the members of the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and respectfully express support or any concerns you may have with the proposals.
Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak, Committee Chairman –AsmAndrzejczak@njleg.org
Assemblyman Adam Taliaferro, Committee Vice Chair –AsmTaliaferro@njleg.org
Assemblyman Ronald S. Dancer – AsmDancer@njleg.org
Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling – AsmHoughtaling@njleg.org
Assemblyman Parker Space – AsmSpace@njleg.org
For more information, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at 919-816-3720 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.