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Legislation

SENATE BUDGET AND APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE
 STATEMENT TO
SENATE COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR
SENATE, No. 3558
STATE OF NEW JERSEY DATED: DECEMBER 14, 2017

The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee reports favorably a Senate Committee Substitute for Senate Bill No. 3558.

This substitute bill revises the way animal cruelty law is enforced in the State by transferring the power of humane law enforcement from the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NJSPCA) to the county prosecutor in each county, and requiring the designation of a municipal humane law enforcement officer in each municipality with an existing police department.

The substitute bill requires the county prosecutor of each county to designate an animal cruelty prosecutor, and allows for the designation of any assistant prosecutor, to investigate, prosecute, and take other legal action as appropriate for violations of the animal cruelty laws of the State. The county prosecutor also is required to either designate, in consultation with the county sheriff, a county law enforcement officer to serve as the chief humane law enforcement officer of the county, or enter into a memorandum of understanding with the county society for the prevention of cruelty to animals authorizing the county society, under the supervision of the county prosecutor, to assist with animal cruelty law enforcement and designate humane law enforcement officers to assist with investigations, arrest violators, and otherwise act as officers for detection, apprehension, and arrest of offenders against the animal cruelty laws of the State.

The substitute bill provides for a county prosecutor to also be responsible for designating a county society for the prevention of cruelty to animals. The charter system applicable to county societies under current law is abolished by the substitute. A county society chartered by the NJSPCA at the time of the substitute’s enactment will then become the county society designated by the county prosecutor. If a county society chartered prior to enactment does not wish to be designated as the county society, or if there is no chartered county society in the county, the county prosecutor is required to select a non-profit corporation that is organized to promote the interests of, and protect and care for, animals to be designated as the county society for the prevention of cruelty to animals. Following abolishment of the charter system, the substitute does not require a chartered county society to surrender any assets to the State or any political subdivision or other entity thereof. A county society so designated by a county prosecutor is responsible for efficiently providing or locating humane shelter and care for any animals at the request of a municipal humane law enforcement officer, a county prosecutor, or a county sheriff.

This substitute bill requires the governing body of each municipality with a police department to designate at least one municipal humane law enforcement officer who is responsible for animal welfare within the jurisdiction of the municipality, and who is required to enforce and abide by the animal cruelty laws of the State and ordinances of the municipality. An animal control officer or police officer may be appointed to serve concurrently as a municipal humane law enforcement officer, and a municipal humane law enforcement officer may be appointed concurrently by more than one municipality, so long as the officer is able to carry out the duties and responsibilities required of each position held. Under current law, animal control officers may be empowered by a municipality to enforce, investigate, and sign complaints concerning any violation of the animal cruelty laws of the State or ordinances of the municipality, and to act as an officer for the detection, apprehension, and arrest of offenders against the animal welfare and animal cruelty laws of the State and ordinances of the municipality. This substitute instead grants those powers to the municipal humane law enforcement officer. A municipal humane law enforcement officer may be authorized by a municipality to use a firearm in the furtherance of the officer’s duties, if the officer has completed a firearms training course approved by the Police Training Commission and twice annually qualifies in the use of a revolver or similar weapon.

All third and fourth degree criminal offenses under the animal cruelty laws of the State received by a municipal humane law enforcement officer are required to be referred to the county prosecutor for investigation and prosecution, as appropriate. Civil and disorderly persons offenses under the animal cruelty laws of the State may be handled by the municipality in which the violation occurred or in which the offender resides, or may be referred to the county prosecutor.

This substitute bill requires a municipal humane law enforcement officer, and a county society for the prevention of cruelty to animals that has entered into a memorandum of agreement with the county prosecutor, to report annually to the animal cruelty prosecutor on the number of complaints received for each offense under chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes, and the number of cases referred to the county prosecutor in the previous year. The animal cruelty prosecutor is required to report annually, to the Attorney General, the information provided by municipal humane law enforcement officers and the county society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, as applicable, as well as the number of complaints investigated, the number of complaints prosecuted or otherwise litigated, the number of animals adjudged forfeited, the number of animals returned to the owner, and the amount of proceeds collected from fines for violations of chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes.

The substitute bill requires the Attorney General to take any action necessary to facilitate the reincorporation of the NJSPCA as a non-profit corporation independent of the State. The State will not assume responsibility for any debts, liabilities, or other obligations of the NJSPCA.

The substitute bill repeals the provisions of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes which relate to the administration, authority, and duties of the NJSPCA and county societies, as well as the provisions relating to the authority and duties of an animal control officer with respect to animal cruelty law enforcement which is transferred to the municipal humane law enforcement officer under the substitute.

FISCAL IMPACT:

The Office of Legislative Services (OLS) estimates that counties and municipalities may incur increased expenditures, indeterminate in amount, from assuming responsibility for enforcement of animal cruelty and welfare laws. Costs will vary based upon the manner in which county and municipal prosecutorial and law enforcement personnel exercise the duties and responsibilities of animal cruelty prosecutor and humane law enforcement officer, respectively. The marginal costs of assuming these duties may be insignificant in amount, depending on whether the county prosecutor or municipality, as the case may be, designates existing law enforcement staff, e.g., county sheriff’s officer or municipal police officer, as chief humane law enforcement officer, or enters into an agreement with a county-level animal cruelty prevention society for assistance in enforcing animal cruelty laws. Municipalities in which there is no municipal police department bear no responsibility to designate a humane law enforcement officer; in those cases the county must assume that role, either directly or through the county-level animal cruelty prevention society.

The OLS also notes that there may be increased county and municipal revenue of indeterminate amounts from fines, charges, and restitution associated with violations of animal cruelty and welfare laws. Increased county revenues are dedicated to the purpose of protecting animals in the county

SENATE, No. 2689
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
218th LEGISLATURE
INTRODUCED JUNE 11, 2018
Sponsored by:   Senator  JOSEPH P. CRYAN , District 20 (Union)

SYNOPSIS

Revises effective dates of various provisions of P.L.2017, c.331 concerning animal cruelty law enforcement.  

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

As introduced.  

An Act concerning the enforcement of animal cruelty laws and amending the effective date of P.L.2017, c.331.

Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

1. Section 36 of P.L.2017, c.331 is amended to read as follows:

36.  [This] Sections 1 through 24 and 30 through 32 of this act shall take effect on the first day of the [seventh] 13th month following the date of enactment, [except that] section 35 of this act shall take effect on the first day of the seventh month following the date of enactment, sections 25 [, 26, 27, and 28] through 29 of this act shall take effect on the first day of the fourth month following the date of enactment, [sections 33, 34, and 36] the remainder of this act shall take effect immediately, and the Attorney General and any county prosecutor or governing body of a municipality may take any administrative action in advance [thereof] of those dates as shall be necessary for the implementation of this act.

2. This act shall take effect immediately.

STATEMENT

This bill would revise the effective dates of various sections of P.L.2017, c.331 (C.4:22-14.1 et al.).  That 2017 law revised the way in which animal cruelty law is enforced in the State by, among other things, transferring the power of humane law enforcement from the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NJSPCA) to the county prosecutor in each county, and requiring the designation of a municipal humane law enforcement officer in each municipality with an existing police department.

Specifically, the bill would delay the effective dates of most of the sections of P.L.2017, c.331 from the first day of the seventh month after the date of enactment of P.L.2017, c.331 (i.e., August 1, 2018) to the first day of the 13th month after that enactment date (i.e., February 1, 2019).  The date of enactment of P.L.2017, c.331 was January 16, 2018.

In addition, under this bill, sections 25 through 28 of P.L.2017, c.331 would continue to have the effective date of May 1, 2018 (thus, they have already taken effect and would continue to be in effect under the bill).  Section 29 (which pertains to applications for designation as a humane law enforcement officer of a county society for the prevention of cruelty to animals) of P.L.2017, c.331 would take effect on the first day of the fourth month after the date of enactment of P.L.2017, c.331 (i.e., retroactively under the bill to May 1, 2018), section 35 (which repeals certain sections of existing law concerning the NJSPCA and concerning certain animal cruelty law enforcement powers of animal control officers) would take effect on August 1, 2018, and the remainder of P.L.2017, c.331 would continue to have the existing effective date of January 16, 2018.

Thus, to summarize, under the bill, the revised effective dates for the various sections of P.L.2017, c.331 would be as follows, listed in chronological order of when they already took effect or will take effect in the future because of this bill:

Section 33 (which prohibits the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals from taking certain actions with regard to the charters of county societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals, and provides that the act should not be construed to require county societies to surrender any of their assets) took effect on January 16, 2018, and would remain in effect under the bill.

Section 34 (which pertains to certain responsibilities of the Attorney General under the act) of P.L.2017, c.331 took effect on January 16, 2018, and would remain in effect under the bill.

Sections 25 (which pertains to municipal responsibilities under the act), 26 (which pertains to applications for designation as a municipal humane law enforcement officer), 27 (which pertains to continuing eligibility of former humane law enforcement officers or agents), and 28 (which pertains to county prosecutor responsibilities under the act) of P.L.2017, c.331 took effect on May 1, 2018, and would remain in effect under the bill.

Section 29 (which pertains to applications for designation as a humane law enforcement officer of a county society for the prevention of cruelty to animals) of P.L.2017, c.331 would take effect (retroactively under the bill) on May 1, 2018, instead of on August 1, 2018.

Section 35 (which repeals certain sections of existing law concerning the NJSPCA and concerning certain animal cruelty law enforcement powers of animal control officers) of P.L.2017, c.331 would continue under this bill to take effect on August 1, 2018.

Sections 1 through 24 and 30 through 32 of P.L.2017, c.331 would take effect on February 1, 2019, instead of on August 1, 2018.

https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2018/Bills/S3000/2689_I1.HTM  

https://legiscan.com/NJ/bill/S3611/2018

N.J.S.A Title 4
Chapter 19 - Dogs
Chapter 22 - Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals
New Law Advisory (Stafford Township)
August 7th, 2017
Effective Immediately

Township of Stafford
Department of Animal Control
260 East Bay Avenue
Manahawkin, NJ 08050
Phone: (609) 597-1000 Ext. 8525
Fax: (609) 978-1841

The new law supplements Title 4 of the revised Statutes, providing definitions for a variety of terms and establishes additional animal cruelty offenses, and procedural requirements, and the requisite penalties. We encourage all pet owners of Stafford Township to become familiar with these laws, and the requirements.

Title 4 Chapter 22 - Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Definitions:

“Adverse environmental conditions” means:

(1) when the ambient temperature is 32’ degrees Fahrenheit or below in the immediate vicinity of a dog, domestic companion animal, or service animal, or there are other cold weather or precipitation-related environmental conditions, including but not limited to, wind, rain, snow, ice, sleet, or hail that a person should reasonably know would pose an adverse risk to the health and safety of the animal.

(2) when the ambient temperature is 90’degrees Fahrenheit or above in the immediate vicinity of the dog, domestic companion animal or service animal, or the animal is exposed to direct sunlight or hot pavement or any other hot surfaces that a person should reasonably know would pose an adverse risk to the health and safety of the animal.

“Domestic companion animal” means any animal commonly referred to as a pet that was brought, bred, raised, or otherwise acquired, in accordance with local ordinances and State and federal law, for the primary purpose of providing companionship to the owner, rather than for business or agricultural purposes.

“Proper shelter” means a structure or other type of protection that conforms to the standards and requirements set forth in section 5 of this act.

“Tether” means to fasten a dog with a cable, chain, rope, or other similar object to a stationary object, including but not limited to, a doghouse, tree, stake, pole, fence, wall, or a device that is mobile.

“Unattended” means that a dog, domestic companion animal, or service animal is outdoors and a person is not also outdoors with the animal, or that the animal is indoors and a person is not also indoors with the animal.

“Necessary Care” means care sufficient to preserve the health and well-being of an animal, including but not limited to: food of sufficient quality and quantity to allow for normal growth and maintain body weight, adequate access to water, access to adequate protection from the weather, and veterinary care to alleviate suffering and maintain health.

2. (2- New section)

a. it is unlawful to expose any dog, domestic companion animal, or service animal to “adverse environmental conditions for more than 30 minutes, unless the animal has continuous access to proper shelter, defined in section 5.

b. if an order of evacuation due to weather or other emergency conditions is issued, owners shall make every effort to evacuate with their animal and shall not leave the animal indoors or outdoors while unattended and tethered.

(1) deliver the animal to safe haven not impacted by the emergency

(2) secure animal in an indoor area that is clear of hazards and is as protective of the animal and alert local emergency responders to the animal’s location.

3 (new section)

a. it is unlawful for any person to cruelly restrain a dog. b. a person cruelly restrains a dog if the person tethers a dog:

(1) which is a nursing female, or is less than 4 months old;

(2) outdoors between the hours of 11pm and 5 am;

(3) is an unoccupied building or upon vacant property

(4) In a manner that does not permit the dog continuous access to water for more than 30 minutes;

(5) in a manner that exposes the dog to adverse environmental conditions for more than 30 minutes;

(6) by means of a choke collar, prong collar, head harness, or any other type other than a properly fitted body harness or buckle type collar;

(7) by using a chain with metal links, or tether which weight is attached

(8) tether on which more than one dog is restrained;

(9) with a tether that is less than 15ft in length;

(10) with a tether that permits the dog to reach another dog, object, or location that poses a risk of entanglement, strangulation, drowning, or other harm to the health or safety of the dog, including but not limited to, another dog’s tether or window sill, fence, wall, porch, terrace railing, vehicle, pole, pool, or public road or highway.

4. (New section)

a. It is unlawful to confine any dog, domestic companion animal, or service animal in any structure, room area, or container that does not comply with the requirements of “proper shelter” (see section 5)

b. (1)A person can confine an animal temporarily in a carrier or crate for the purpose of transport (2b) as long as the head of animal cannot touch the ceiling of the carrier or crate when the animal is in normal standing position, and the animal can easily turn around in a full circle and lie down on its side.

(2) a person may confine temporarily for the purpose of (a) transport (b) any exhibition, show, contest, class, training session, (c) if the dog is used or being trained, to hunt wildlife in a lawful manner.

5. (New section)

a. Proper shelter shall be a structure or other type of protection that meets, at minimum, the following standards and requirements:

(1) it provides at all times (a) adequate ventilation to allow the animal to remain dry and maintain normal body temperature (b) access to water in a liquid state, (c) exposure to natural or artificial light in regular cycle of day and night, (d) sufficient space so the animal can easily turn around in a full circle and lie down on its side with limbs outstretched, and (e) head of the animal cannot touch the ceiling;

(2) maintained to minimize any accumulation of waste, debris, precipitation, or other moisture inside;

(3) prevent the sagging or collapse of any part, and is maintained in good repair with no exposed sharp edges;

(4) remains upright at all times;

(5) in the event of adverse environment conditions for 32’ degrees and below(a) it must be a structure with solid roof, walls, with a single opening no larger than necessary, and the floor is not on the ground, (b) insulation, dry bedding, and windbreak entrance to keep animal dry and maintain body temperature.

(6) in the event of adverse environmental conditions defined in paragraph 2 of 90’ degrees, the shelter must provide the animal with adequate shade or other cooling area by natural or artificial means;

Proper Shelter shall not include (1) crawl space under a building, part of a building such as under steps, a deck, or stoop; (2) under a vehicle. (3) the inside of vehicle (4) any structure made from pressure treated wood with chemicals, cardboard, or floor consisting of wire, chain-link with openings that a paw, hoof, or foot can pass through.

8. (New section) Fines and Penalties

a. A violation of section 2, 4, or 5 of this act will constitute failing to provide necessary care pursuant to 4:22-17 & 26, and a violator will be subject to the applicable penalties.

b. A person who violates section 3 of this act shall be subject to:

1. First Offense, at the discretion of the court, a fine of $100.00

2. Second Offense, at the discretion of the court, a fine of $200.00

3. For a third offense or subsequent offense, the offense shall constitute failure to provide necessary care and the violator shall be subject to the applicable penalties set forth in those sections. 

Address

Post Office Box 174
Pennington, NJ 08534

Contact

Email: info@njcacoa.org