Bills to Establish Minimal Penalties, Court-Ordered Mental Health Counseling for Animal Cruelty Offenses, and Revises NJ Law for Euthanizing at Impounds
(TRENTON) – The Assembly Agriculture Committee released on Monday a group of measures sponsored by Assembly Democrats Nelson Albano, Bob Andrzejcak and Marlene Caride to bolster state law concerning animal cruelty offenses.
Among six measures is legislation that would make animal abusers pay for an animal’s medical costs; require mental health counseling for perpetrators; establish a new offense for cruelly restraining a dog; address improper euthanizing of animals as a criminal act; create minimal criminal penalties and revise to strengthen current law pertaining to animal cruelty offenses.
The sponsors note the court-ordered mental health counseling will be mandatory and paid for by the violator. The bill (A-3900) also would allow the court to also impose restrictions on ownership.
“We have seen more and more cases of animal abuse and neglect in the news today,” said Albano (D-Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland), a sponsor of all six measures. “These measures will help us let individuals who abuse animals know that this type of behavior will not be tolerated. These perpetrators must also foot the bill for all medical costs of the animal they have abused.”
“The abusive treatment of animals is plain cowardice,” said Andrzejcak (D-Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland), a sponsor of the legislation establishing criminal penalties for animal cruelty offenses. “Individuals who commit such acts should and will be held accountable for their actions. It’s time to strengthen New Jersey statutes and appropriately fine or jail abusers for their unspeakable mistreatment of animals.”
“It is the pet owner’s responsibility to ensure proper care and treatment of an animal,” said Caride (D-Bergen, Passaic), co- prime sponsor of A-3900 with Assemblyman Albano. “Anything less than that is simply criminal.”
The following measures were discussed and released Monday:
- A-3554: would establish cruelly restraining a dog as a disorderly persons offense;
- A-3557: would provide for the cost of care for some animals involved in animal cruelty violations and establish a procedure for the alleged violator to pay for the care;
- A-3900: would establish court-ordered penalties for animal cruelty offenses; require the court to order mental health counseling any person found guilty or liable in an act of animal cruelty;
- A-3901: would establish minimal criminal penalties for animal cruelty offenses;
- A-3903: would revise current animal cruelty offenses concerning abuse in current law; and
- A-3907: would establish criminal animal cruelty offenses of improper euthanizing of an animal; updates civil penalties.
The measures were released from committee; and will now head to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.