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NJ: Van Drew Bill Strengthening Animal Cruelty Laws Signed

Discussion in 'Dog Ordinances & Laws' started by Vicki, Aug 8, 2017.

  1. Vicki

    Vicki Administrator Staff Member

    Van Drew Bill Strengthening Animal Cruelty Laws Signed

    TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Jeff Van Drew that would strengthen New Jersey’s animal cruelty laws by making it a crime to leave pets exposed outdoors to excessively hot or cold temperatures without proper shelter was signed into law today by the Governor.

    “Most owners treat their pets well but, unfortunately, we continue to see devastating cases of animal cruelty each year. Leaving dogs, cats or other pets to suffer outdoors in scorching or freezing temperatures, or keeping them chained in a restrictive way or for hours on end is cruel and could result in injury or death,” said Senator Van Drew (D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic). “Those responsible for this kind of abuse should face punishment consistent with the severity of the crime. This measure strengthens our laws and hopefully will deter people from subjecting animals to harsh conditions without regard for their health and welfare.”

    A number of municipalities, including Wildwood Crest and Lower Township, have adopted ordinances regulating the chaining or tethering of dogs. The original ordinance was inspired by a dog named Joe who froze to death after being left chained in a yard in the winter. In addition, two dogs died in Atlantic County in January 2016 as a result of being left outside in freezing temperatures, including a puppy found frozen inside a doghouse, according to reports.

    The new law, (S-1640) would make it a violation of the State animal cruelty laws to leave a cat, dog, or other domestic companion animal unattended outdoors without proper shelter for an extended period under certain conditions. Those conditions are: when the outside temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or less, or during precipitation-related events such as snow, or when the temperature is 90 degrees Fahrenheit or more or the animal is exposed to direct sunlight, hot pavement or heat, without readily available access to shelter at an appropriate temperature. The law also defines appropriate shelter for pets.

    The law would also make cruelly restraining a dog an criminal offense under the state’s animal cruelty laws, and defines the conditions that would be prohibited, including in a manner that exposes a dog to adverse environmental conditions, leaves it without access to water for an extended period of time, in which it is tethered overnight, with a tether shorter than 15 feet in length, or by means of a choke collar, among others.

    In the case of evacuation, the law directs that a pet be evacuated with its owner, if possible. Otherwise, the law requires the animal to be delivered to an animal kennel, shelter, or other suitable animal care facility, or secured in an indoor area constructed to be as protective of the animal as possible under the circumstances and local emergency responders should be alerted to the animal’s location.


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