Revision to Law Helps Protect Pets From Abusive Owners in New Jersey

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TRENTON, NJ – A bill was passed in the Senate by a vote of 36-0 to revise the current law prohibiting confinement and cruel tethering of dogs and establishes procedures for the seizure, forfeiture and care of animals in animal cruelty cases.

Revision of the law states that unless a dog is accompanied or within view of their owner, it is prohibited to tether a dog on unoccupied or vacant property, exposing them to accumulated debris, waste, precipitation or flooding, or in any manner that is harmful to their health.

Animal seizure procedures now specify that notice must be sent no later than 7 days after the seizure to the address from which the animal has been taken from, as well as their previous owner’s address.

“This law will provide protection to pets who are the victims of neglectful or abusive owners. One of the primary goals of the legislation is to prevent an abusive owner from automatically regaining custody,” said Senator Patrick Diegnan, Jr. “For example, under present law, an individual who participates in dogfighting or other unimaginable behavior is presumed to be the owner until a court rules otherwise.”

“This bill would help address cost of care issues, and require anyone found guilty of abuse and has had their animals seized from their possession to pay for the animal’s care,” said Senator Vin Gopal. “This way, costs will no longer be passed onto local and State agencies.”