New Jersey Stands to Become Just the Second State with a Public Database of Animal Abusers
(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Troy Singleton to help improve animal welfare in New Jersey by creating a statewide animal abuse registry received final legislative approval Monday and now heads to the governor’s desk.
“This is a tremendous tool to have for law enforcement, local shelters and animal rescue groups,” said Singleton (D-Burlington). “Many organizations that help find good homes for animals have no way of knowing if a potential adopter has abused animals in the past. This registry will hold bad actors accountable and provide peace of mind to the many well-intentioned groups out there looking for good homes for stray and abandoned animals.”
The bill (A-3421) would require the state Department of Health to establish a public animal abuser registry on its website and would also bar anyone found guilty of an animal cruelty offense from becoming an animal control officer.
If enacted, New Jersey is believed to be only the second state, behind Tennessee, that would have a public animal abuse registry.
The bill also stipulates that within 90 days after the effective date of the bill, the courts, the Department of Law and Public Safety, and any other governmental or official administrative entity maintaining records of an animal cruelty violation, is to provide written notice of the violation and the name of the person convicted of the violation to the Commissioner of Health for the purposes of establishing the animal abuser registry.
The bill also expands the offenses to be considered as disqualifying offenses and authorizes the Commissioner of Health to use the animal abuser registry, once established, to update and maintain the list of persons ineligible to be animal control officers.
The legislation, which is also sponsored by Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt and Jamel Holley, would take effect on the next January 1st following the date of enactment.
The bill was approved 65-0 by the Assembly, and 36-0 by the Senate on Jan. 8.