Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Reed Gusciora cracking down on animal cruelty by ensuring that domestic animals are provided with necessary care was advanced by an Assembly panel on Monday.
“Failing to provide necessary care to an animal should unquestionably be a criminal offense,” said Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “It seems that every time you turn around these days, there’s another report of an animal being starved nearly to death or neglected beyond the point of cruelty. It’s not unreasonable to ask people to provide enough food, drinking water, shelter, needed veterinary care and exercise for animals under their care.”
The bill (A-2694) would amend animal cruelty law to clarify that failure to provide necessary care is a criminal offense and a civil offense under the state’s animal cruelty laws. Under the bill, this care is defined as care sufficient to preserve the health and well-being of a domestic companion animal.
Except for emergencies or circumstances beyond a person’s reasonable control, care of the animal, should include: (1) food of sufficient quantity and quality to allow for normal growth or maintenance of body weight; (2) open or adequate access to drinkable water of an appropriate temperature in sufficient quantity to satisfy the needs of the animal; (3) access to an enclosed non-hazardous structure sufficient to protect the animal from the weather that has adequate bedding to protect against cold and dampness; (4) adequate protection from extreme or excessive sunlight and from overexposure to the sun, heat and other weather conditions; (5) veterinary care deemed necessary as a result of animal cruelty; and (6) reasonable access to a clean and adequate exercise area.
“If you cannot provide essential basic care for an animal, than you should not own one,” added Gusciora. “This is a compassionate, but sensible, measure to help combat abuse and inhumane treatment.”
The measure was approved by the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and now awaits consideration by the full Assembly.