Jackson Township’s New Animal Cruelty Law Allows for Ritual Slaughter of Animals

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JACKSON-Jackson Township this week will vote on an ordinance that will prohibit the cruelty of animals but offers an exemption in the case of slaughtering creatures during religious rituals.

The new ordinance defines what is and what is not cruelty to animals in the community and is an apparent response to the recent ritual slaughter of chickens during this month’s Kapparot celebration in which observing Orthodox Jews often wave live chickens over their heads to atone for their sins.  Those chickens are then slaughtered and are supposed to be given to the poor as food.

The ritual faced criticism from online protestors this month after many chickens in some locations faced inhumane treatment, left to die or discarded in plastic trash bags, not properly slaughtered or given to the needy.

The township ordinance, if passed would allow the ritual to take place within Jackson Township city limits in the future.   This ordinance comes before the council just days after elected officials met with lawyers from Agudath Israel of America in a private meeting, closed to the public.

“Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit, abridge, or in any way hinder the religious freedom of any person or group. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, in order to protect freedom of religion, ritual slaughter and the handling or other preparation of livestock for ritual slaughter are exempted from the terms of this chapter. For the purposes of this section the term “ritual slaughter” means slaughter in accordance with section 98-61(T)(2) of this title,” the religious exemption reads.

The full ordinance can be read here:


WHEREAS, Chapter 98 “Animals” of the Township of Jackson Municipal Code does not
provide for the humane and ethical treatment of animals; and

WHEREAS, the Governing Body of the Township of Jackson finds that the general public,
health, safety, and welfare is preserved and sustained by the provision of humane and ethical treatment of
animals; and

WHEREAS, the Governing Body of the Township of Jackson recognizes that establishing a
procedure to be followed regarding the humane and ethical treatment of animals provides for a framework
of understanding for the betterment of public health, safety, and general welfare of our citizens; and
WHEREAS, it is a further purpose of the article to exercise the municipal police power implicit

in the New Jersey Constitution and granted pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2 and, inter alia, to promote the
welfare of the municipality and its inhabitants; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED, by the Township Council of the Township of
Jackson, County of Ocean, and State of New Jersey as follows:

Chapter 98 “Animals” of the Township of Jackson Municipal Code is hereby amended by adding
Article X as follows:

Part 1: General Provisions
98-56 Short Title
98-57 Findings
98-58 Legislative Purpose and Intent
98-59 Definitions
Part 2: Prohibited Activities
98-60 Cruelty to Animals
98-61 Specific Activities That Constitute Cruelty to an Animal
98-62 Exemption of Ritual Slaughter
98-63 Shooting, Molesting Birds Prohibited; Exceptions.
98-64 Exemptions for Individuals or Entities Holding Licenses or Permits
98-65 Violations and Penalties

§ 98-56 SHORT TITLE.
This article may be cited as the “Humane and Ethical Animal Rules and Treatment (HEART) Ordinance”.

§ 98-57 FINDINGS.
(A) The Council finds that the Township shall endeavor to protect animals in the Township. Nothing
herein shall be interpreted as expanding the scope of the Township’s liability under the New Jersey Tort
Claims Act or Common Law.

(B) The Council further finds that the people of Jackson should treat animals as more than just lifeless
inanimate chattel property and recognizes that the relationship between human beings and animals is a
special relationship that improves people’s lives and reflects basic humanitarian beliefs.

(A) The focus of this article is the prevention of cruelty, harm, suffering, abandonment or death of
(B) This Ordinance shall be read in conjunction with N.J.S.A. 4:22-15 et. seq. In the event an
inconsistency arises between the Chapter and the statute, the statute shall prevail.

For the purpose of this article, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or
requires a different meaning:
representing more than 72,000 Veterinarians, the goal of which is improving animal and human health
and advancing the Veterinary medical profession.
ANIMAL. Any living nonhuman mammal, bird, reptile, or amphibian including, but not limited to, bats,
Companion Animals, Companion Birds, Domestic Animals, Exotic or Wild Animals, Livestock, pigeons,
Poultry, woodchucks, rabbits and skunks. For the purpose of this article, insects and arachnids are not
included in the definition of ANIMALS.
CRUELTY. Cruelty shall be definedpursuant to N.J.S.A. 4:22-17.
EUTHANASIA. The killing of an Animal in a manner commonly recognized as humane and acceptable
by local Veterinarians pursuant to AVMA standards.
EXTREME CRUELTY. A Person is guilty of Extreme Cruelty to Animals if a Person intentionally or
maliciously tortures, mutilates, injures or kills an Animal, or if a Person poisons an Animal.
LAWFUL JUSTIFICATION. A strictly construed defense to a charge of Cruelty based on an immediate
need to defend a threatened Person or Animal from an imminent attack by an Animal apparently capable
of causing death or serious bodily injury to the threatened individual or Animal.
POULTRY. Any bird that is kept as a pet or any bird that is commonly used by humans for eggs or meat.
Companion Birds are not considered Poultry in this article.
VETERINARIAN. A Doctor of Veterinary Medicine licensed to practice in the State of New Jersey.


Nothing herein shall be construed to preclude a conviction for Extreme Cruelty under state law.(A)
Cruelty is any act or inaction that causes, is known to cause or is calculated to cause physical or
psychological pain, injury, damage or harm to an Animal.
(B) Any Person may be cited for Cruelty hereunder whether or not said Person owns the subject Animal.
(C) Cruelty is applicable to all Animals within the Township limits of Jackson.
(D) Personal observation of Cruelty by a Township official or Police Officer is not required, and such
officers may issue citations, file criminal complaints or assist any other Person in filing a criminal
complaint if an Animal has been treated cruelly. A charge of Cruelty under this article is not a lesser
included offense for a charge of Cruelty under state law.
(E) In addition to criminal charges for Cruelty, the Township may avail itself of the remedies of Seizure,
Confiscation and Protective Custody provided under this article.
(F) Any Person who treats an Animal in any way that would lead a reasonable Person to conclude that
such Animal has been subjected to harm without Lawful Justification is guilty of Cruelty.
(G) Any charges for medical care paid by the Township for an Animal suspected of being a victim of
Cruelty may be collected by the Township through any legal process.

Such acts, including but not limited to, shall constitute cruelty to animals as follows:
Any Person who acts intentionally, willfully, needlessly, recklessly or maliciously is guilty of cruelty
when engaged or attempting to engage in the following behavior:
(A) Killing or attempting to kill an Animal. Exceptions include:
(1) Humane Euthanasia performed by a Veterinarian pursuant to AVMA standards;
(2) Killing a bird if such bird is Poultry owned by that Person and will be used for food;
(3) Killing a rabbit if such rabbit is owned by that Person and will be used for food;
(4) Killing mice, rats, moles or voles that are not a Domestic Animal or otherwise claimed as a pet by any
Person; and
(5) Reasonably necessary taking of Animals by a governmental entity or contractor of a governmental
entity for bio-disease management including, without limitation, selection of birds to determine the
existence of or monitor the spread of avian flu, or idling eggs.
(B) Failing to provide necessary sustenance, including food and water, to an Animal under that Person’s
Custody or control.
(C) Failing to provide adequate shelter.
(D) Poisoning, attempting to poison or allowing an Animal access to poisonous substances such as
antifreeze, baiting any Animal with any substance soaked, treated or prepared with any harmful or
poisonous material unless such actions are undertaken by a licensed professional exterminator.
(1) A Person may use poison to kill mice, rats, moles or volesbut only within a Person’s own enclosed
(2) Except when applied by a licensed exterminator, no poison may be used outside, even on a Person’s
own property, or in any way in which a poisoned animal, including mice, rats, moles or volescan
consequently poison other Animals.
(E) Abusing an Animal which includes, but is not limited to, maiming, mistreating, disfiguring, torturing,
beating, having sexual contact with, hurting, burning, scalding or cruelly setting upon any Animal.
(F) Using a prod, stick, electrical shock, chemical, physical force, starvation, pain or discomfort on an
Animal in order to make it perform for entertainment purposes.
(1) Generally accepted methods of animal training that do not cause undue physical and emotional
suffering, including the training of Livestock, Companion Animals, Guard Dogs, hunting dogs, police
dogs and Service Animals shall not constitute Cruelty.
(G) Using a whip or riding crop in a manner that purposely causes injury to the Animal.
(H) Chaining an Animal to a stationary post, pole, or other immovable object by means of any
instrumentality or other extension device including, but not limited to, a chain, tether, coil or rope and
leaving such Animal unattended for more than one hour in a 24-hour period.
(I) Abandonment of an Animal. Any Person who relinquishes possession or control of an Animal in a
location where any reasonable Person would know the Animal has little chance of finding food, Potable
Water, and shelter is guilty of Cruelty. Abandonment also includes dumping or releasing an Animal
anywhere or leaving an Animal behind when a Person moves.
(J) Use of a Spring-Loaded Trap. Spring Loaded Traps are absolutely prohibited in the Township unless
used on mice or rats inside a Household or inside a commercial property.
(K) Improper use of a Live Trap. Any person who leaves an Animal in a Live Humane Trap for more than
6 daylight hours or 12 nighttime hours.
(L) Overworking an Animal
(M) Overloading as provided for in N.J.S.A. 4:22-17(a)(1).
(N) Driving while overloaded as provided for in N.J.S.A. 4:22-17(a)(1).
(O) Overdriving as provided for in N.J.S.A. 4:22-17(a)(1)
(P) Animal Fighting. No Person shall promote, stage, hold, manage, conduct, carry on, train for or attend
a game, show, exhibition, contest or fight in which one or more Animals is injuring, killing, maiming or
destroying itself or other Animals or attempting to injure, kill, maim, or destroy other Animals or people.
(1) Any Person who attends or observes any Animal fight is vicariously criminally liable under this
article, whether or not that Person paid for entry to the event.
(2) The owner of any premises used for Animal fighting is in violation of this article.
(3) Any Person who profits in any manner from an Animal fight, including but not limited to on-site
vendors or purveyors of illegal gambling concerning an Animal fight, is in violation of this article.
(4) Any person who sells, receives, possesses, transports, loans or gives away any Animal used for
fighting or Animal Fighting Paraphernalia is in violation of this article.
(5) No Person shall provoke or entice an Animal from the property of its Owner for the purpose of
engaging the Animal in an Animal fight.
(Q) Teasing or Taunting Animals. No Person shall tease or taunt any Animal with the intent, purpose or
effect of provoking a reaction from the Animal.
(R) Artificially coloring an Animal. No person shall dye or artificially color an Animal under the age of
12 weeks or use any dyes or coloring substance that could be harmful to the Animal.
(S) Failing to report an Injury to an Animal caused by a Motorist. A Motor Vehicle Operator who strikes
or runs down an Animal shall immediately call 911 and provide the facts regarding the accident and, if
possible, the injuries sustained by the Animal.
(T) No method of slaughtering or handling in connection with slaughtering shall be deemed to comply
with the public policy of the Township unless it is humane. Either of the following two methods of
slaughtering and handling are hereby found to be humane:
(1) in the case of cattle, calves, horses, mules, sheep, swine, and other livestock, all animals are rendered
insensible to pain by a single blow or gunshot or an electrical, chemical or other means that is rapid and
effective, before being shackled, hoisted, thrown, cast, or cut; or
(2) by slaughtering in accordance with the ritual requirements of any recognized faith, by a recognized
practitioner, as protected by Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah, 508 U.S. 520, 537, 113
S.Ct. 2217, 124 L. Ed.2d 472 (1993), prescribing a method of slaughter whereby the animal suffers loss
of consciousness by anemia of the brain caused by the simultaneous and instantaneous severance of the
carotid arteries with a sharp instrument and handling in connection with such slaughtering.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit, abridge, or in any way hinder the religious freedom
of any person or group. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, in order to protect freedom
of religion, ritual slaughter and the handling or other preparation of livestock for ritual slaughter are
exempted from the terms of this chapter. For the purposes of this section the term “ritual slaughter” means
slaughter in accordance with section 98-61(T)(2) of this title.
(A) Within the Municipal Limits of the Township of Jackson it shall be unlawful for any person to kill,
trap, hunt, shoot orattempt to shoot, willfully injure,or maim any bird or Wild fowl; or to rob any bird or
Wild fowlnest of its eggs, without a license issued by the State of New Jersey.
(B) Birds congregating in such numbers in a defined area within the Municipality as to constitute a
Public Nuisance or endanger the health of the public or damage property may be removed bypersons
authorized and/or qualified to performsuch removal by the Municipality. Feral or Wild birds may be
deemed a Public Nuisance, and as such may beremoved by suchauthorized and/or qualified persons
regardless of number in a particular locality.
(C) Unless otherwise posted, it shall be unlawful for any person other than an Animal Control Officer to
feed Wild or Feral birds on any public property located within the Municipality limits.
(D) Exceptions would include state organized specific hunts with all requirements set within such hunt.
Notwithstanding the provisions of this Chapter to the contrary, any person or entity holding the following
licenses or permits shall be exempt from the provisions of this Chapter if the provisions of this Chapter
are more restrictive than activity or inactivity that is permitted by the holder of the license or permit:
(A) License or Permits from the United States Department of Agriculture
(1) Animal Welfare Act Exhibitor
(B) License or Permits from the United States Department of the Interior
(1) Depredation Permit
(C) License or Permits from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
(1) Exotic and Nongame Wildlife Species Possession Permit, Zoological Holding
(2) Exotic and Nongame Wildlife Species Possession Permit, Animal Exhibitor
(3) Captive Game Permit
(4) Depredation Control Permit
Whomever violates any section of this Chapter for which no penalty is otherwise provided and upon
conviction, shall be deemed guilty of a violation of this Ordinance and shall be fined not more than
$500.00 for each offense, , imprisoned for not more than thirty (30) days, or both, in the discretion of the
court. With respect to violations of Section 98-63, each offense shall be treated individually as relates to
the number of birds and/or eggs impacted by the offense(s).

__________________ _______________________
Date Mayor Michael Reina
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, that the foregoing ordinance was introduced and passed
on first reading at a regular meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Jackson, in the County
of Ocean, State of New Jersey, held on October 29, 2019 and will be considered for second reading and
final passage at the regular meeting of said Township Council to be held on November 12, 2019 at 7:30
p.m., or as soon thereafter as this matter can be reached, at the meeting room of the Municipal Building in
said Township at which time all persons interested shall be given an opportunity to be so heard
concerning this ordinance. Prior to second reading, a copy of this ordinance shall be posted on the bulletin
board in the Municipal Building and copies shall be made available at the Township Clerk’s Office in
said Municipal Building to members of the general public who shall request such copies.
I, Janice Kisty, Municipal Clerk of the Township of Jackson in the County of Ocean, State of New
Jersey hereby certify that the above is a true copy of Ordinance No. 29-19 adopted by the Township
Council on the _________ day of _________, 2019.
Janice Kisty, RMC
Township Clerk