JOHNSON: RECENT ANIMAL CRUELTY CASE HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR TOUGHER PENALTIES

(ENGLEWOOD) – Assemblyman Gordon Johnson on Tuesday said he would push this fall for a new law barring pretrial intervention admission for any person who is charged with an animal cruelty offense.
Johnson said the ongoing case of a Randolph man who shot his family’s parrot to death for squawking during a NASCAR telecast is further proof of the need for the law.
According to news reports, the man charged in the incident, Dennis Zeglin, has been admitted into the Pretrial Intervention program for first-time offenders. The charge would be dismissed and the man won’t have a record if he successfully serves three years on probation and completes 100 hours of community service with a humane center.
“We know that there is a demonstrated link between animal abuse often eventually leading to human violence, so all such cases must be taken seriously,” said Johnson (D-Bergen). “Animal cruelty is not a victimless crime, and we cannot lightly brush it off just because it involved an animal. We have many serious issues to deal with, but I view this is a public safety issue and hopefully we can make progress on this in the coming months.”
Johnson, chairman of the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee, has sponsored a bill (A-2735) that would prohibit a prosecutor from recommending or consenting to admission into a pretrial intervention program of any person who is charged with an animal cruelty offense.