(TRENTON) – The Assembly Agriculture Committee released on Thursday legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Bob Andrzejczak and Patrick Diegnan to bolster state law concerning animal cruelty offenses.
The bill (A-3034) would provide for the cost of care for some animals involved in animal cruelty violations and establish a procedure for the alleged violator to pay for the care.
“The abusive treatment of animals is plain cowardice,” said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland). “Individuals who commit such acts should and will be held accountable for their actions. It’s time to strengthen New Jersey statutes and make perpetrators pay for their unspeakable mistreatment of animals.”
The bill provides for the cost of care for some animals involved in animal cruelty violations and establishes a procedure, when the owner is the alleged violator, for the owner of the animal to pay for the cost of care of the animal. Specifically, the bill directs:
1)the animal care facility at which the animal was impounded to issue, no later than seven days after admittance, a custodial care notice with the information required including an itemized accounting of the actual costs of caring for the animal during the first seven days of the impoundment and the projected costs of care for each animal for the next 30 days;
2)the individual charged with these costs to pay the amount set forth in the notice and every 30 days after until the full and final disposition of the animal cruelty violation or request a court hearing to contest the reasonableness of the specified expenses;
3)the animal care facility to assume ownership of the animal if no hearing is requested and the individual does not pay the expenses as required under the bill;
4)after assuming ownership, the animal care facility will be authorized to offer the animal up for adoption or take any other action as it would for any other impounded animal.
“Those who commit crimes against animals should be made to pay for their medical and hospitalization bills,” said Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “It is only right to make sure unscrupulous owners do right by the animals they harm.”
In addition, the bill prohibits any impounded animal to be sold, euthanized, offered for adoption or otherwise disposed of by the shelter, pound, kennel or animal care facility if the owner pays for the expenses of care. Unless, in the opinion of a licensed veterinarian, the animal is experiencing intractable and extreme pain and is beyond any reasonable hope of recovery.
The measures were released from the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. It will now head to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.