(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Reed Gusciora expanding criminal acts of animal cruelty to include the theft or release of a living animal or creature during an act of burglary cleared the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday.
“If an individual committing a criminal act of burglary harms or does potential harm to an animal, they should not be let off the hook,” said Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunderton). “For so many of us, pets are far more than just animals. They are a part of the family. And I hope this bill will bring some relief to those who have suffered from the heartache and emotional distress of having a pet killed, injured or gone missing as a result of a burglary.”
Under the bill (A-1334), violators will be considered guilty of a disorderly persons offense and be subject to a fine of between $250 and $1,000, or a jail term of up to 6 months, or both.
Additionally, the bill expands these same acts to be subject to a civil penalty of $250 to $1,000, as well as the costs for the civil action.