Andrzejczak & Benson Bill to Crack Down on Animal Cruelty Offenders Gets Assembly Panel OK

Legislation Assembly Democrats Sgt. Bob Andrzejczak and Daniel Benson sponsored to establish a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment for harming a police or rescue animal was released Monday by an Assembly committee.

The bill (A-991) would establish a mandatory minimum term of three months of imprisonment for harming or threatening to harm a search and rescue dog or an animal owned or used by a law enforcement agency.

“New Jersey residents who put themselves in harm’s way in order to serve and protect the people of this state deserve our utmost respect, and that includes all members of our canine and mounted patrol units,” said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland). “This legislation will go a long way toward ensuring that those who deliberately injure animals in our emergency and rescue services get the punishment they deserve.”

“Animal cruelty of any kind is absolutely despicable, but there is something particularly deplorable about crimes against some of New Jersey’s most loyal and hardworking civil servants,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “With this bill, we declare that the abuse of animals who serve our communities simply will not be tolerated.”

Under current law, any person who purposely kills a search and rescue dog or an animal owned or used by a law enforcement agency faces a minimum of five years of imprisonment.

The bill was released by the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.