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Gusciora Bill to Increase Protection against Animal Abuse Advanced by Assembly Panel

Measure Will Allow Court to Issue Animal Protection Orders Against Abusers

Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) to provide stricter protections for animals in danger of abuse was approved by the Assembly Agriculture Committee on Thursday.

“As a humane society, we should not tolerate abuses against animals any more than we would against a person,” said Gusciora. “We’ve seen a number of high profile animal abuse cases in recent years, a good number of which arise from domestic disputes, lending even more support for this legislation. Whether it’s indirect abuse, like starvation, direct abuse such as physical violence or the anger of a disgruntled spouse or partner, this bill will help protect innocent animals.”

The bill (A-347) would authorize the courts to issue an animal protection order against any person found guilty of abusing an animal or otherwise violating the state animal cruelty laws. The animal protection order would require the person to refrain from interacting with an animal permanently or for a period of time specified by the court.

The animal protection order may apply to a specific animal with which the individual has contact, or any other animal, as determined to be appropriate by the court.

Any person who knowingly violates a condition of an animal protection order issued pursuant to this section, and, as a result, causes injury to the animal that is the subject of the animal protection order, shall be guilty of a disorderly persons offense.

The measure now awaits consideration by the full Assembly.