A measure sponsored by Assemblywoman Connie Wagner to protect pets during domestic disputes was unanimously approved by the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
“We’ve heard so many stories of pets being abused or even killed as retaliation against a partner when a relationship goes sour,” said Wagner (D-Bergen). “Often times it’s done without thinking as an attempt to hurt the other partner, but whether it’s intentional or not, animals should not have to suffer. This is a humane measure designed to protect innocent pets from being the victim of a domestic dispute.”
The bill (A-1633) would provide the courts with authorization to include animals in a domestic violence restraining order during a situation where a person abuses or threatens to abuse an animal as part of a domestic dispute.
This bill would authorize a court to issue an order directing the care, custody, or control of any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by either party or a minor child residing in the household.
The bill is modeled on a recently enacted Maine law. Currently, animals are not directly addressed by domestic violence law in New Jersey.