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Burzichelli, Spencer, Fuentes & McKeon Bill to Prevent Animal Abuse & Neglect Signed Into Law

Legislation Was Inspired by Patrick, the Newark Pitbull Who Was Nearly Starved to Death and Thrown Down a Garbage Shute

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats John Burzichelli, L. Grace Spencer, Angel Fuentes and John McKeon to crack down on animal abuse and neglect has been signed into law

The new law (A-798) was inspired by the treatment of Patrick, a pit bull in Newark who was starved to an extremely emaciated condition, placed in a garbage bag, and dropped down a garbage chute in an apartment complex in the city. The dog has since been cared for and recuperated after a maintenance person in the building collecting garbage noticed movement in one of the garbage bags and found the dog still alive inside.

“Patrick’s case gripped our state because of the utterly inhumane treatment this innocent animal received,” said Burzichelli (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem). “No living creature should ever have to be subjected to that. Hopefully this law will make anyone think twice before treating an animal in such a way.”

“Patrick’s case was heartbreaking and absolutely needless,” said Spencer (D-Essex). “It should never have come to this. “Whether it’s the inability to care for an animal or simply a complete lack of compassion, this type of inhumane treatment will not be tolerated.”

Specifically, the law makes it a crime of the fourth degree for needlessly killing an animal or creature by depriving them of “necessary care” such as proper food, drink, shelter, or protection from the weather. Anyone found guilty of violating this provision will be subject to a fine ranging from $1000 – 3000, up to 18 months imprisonment or both.

“It was inspiring to see the outpouring of support Patrick received after being rescued and thankfully he’s doing better now,” said Fuentes (D-Camden/Gloucester). “It’s my hope that this law will send a message loud and clear that we are not going to tolerate the utterly inhumane treatment of any living creature.”

“Patrick’s case was simply heartbreaking and anyone who commits such crimes should have the full weight of the law thrown at them,” said McKeon (D-Essex/Morris). “There is no place in our modern society for such inhumane treatment and disregard for any living creature.”