Bill Text: NJ S1640 | 2016-2017 | Regular Session | Introduced

NOTE: There are more recent revisions of this legislation. Read Latest Draft
Bill Title: Establishes requirements concerning necessary care of dogs, domestic companion animals, and service animals, and for tethering of dogs.*

Spectrum: Bipartisan Bill

Status: (Passed) 2017-08-07 - Approved P.L.2017, c.189. [S1640 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2016-S1640-Introduced.html

SENATE, No. 1640

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

217th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 16, 2016

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  JEFF VAN DREW

District 1 (Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Establishes failure to provide certain specific protections from weather and during emergencies for domestic companion animals as animal cruelty.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning exposure of domestic companion animals to potentially harmful weather and supplementing Title 4 of the Revised Statutes.

 

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

 

     1.    a.  It shall be unlawful to leave outdoors unattended a cat, dog, or other domestic companion animal when the outside ambient temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or less or 90 degrees Fahrenheit or more, unless the cat, dog, or other domestic companion animal is provided readily available access to shelter, in which the ambient temperature is properly and safely maintained above 32 degrees Fahrenheit and below 90 degrees Fahrenheit in accordance with any applicable local code, ordinance, or regulation.  If the cat, dog, or other domestic companion animal is relocated, or provided readily available access, to a basement or garage, the basement or garage shall be properly ventilated in accordance with the "State Uniform Construction Code Act," P.L.1975, c.217 (C.52:27D-119 et seq.).

     b.    It shall be unlawful to leave a cat, dog, or other domestic companion animal outdoors when evacuation of the area has been recommended by State or local law enforcement due to weather or other emergency conditions.  If possible, any cat, dog, or other domestic companion animal shall be evacuated with its owner.  If evacuation with the owner is not an option, the cat, dog, or other domestic companion animal shall be:

     (1) delivered to an animal kennel, shelter, or other suitable animal care facility; or

     (2) secured in an indoor area constructed to be as protective of the animal as possible under the circumstances.  If the cat, dog, or other domestic companion animal is secured in a basement or garage, the basement or garage shall be properly ventilated, in accordance with the "State Uniform Construction Code Act," P.L.1975, c.217 (C.52:27D-119 et seq.), and reasonably safe from flooding.

     c.     A violation of subsection a. or b. of this section shall constitute failure to provide necessary care pursuant to R.S.4:22-17 and R.S.4:22-26.

     d.    The requirements of subsections a. and b. of this section shall not apply to any cat living outside with no apparent owner, commonly referred to as, or considered to be, a feral cat.

     e.     As used in this section, "domestic companion animal" means any animal commonly referred to as a pet that was bought, 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.  "Domestic companion animal" does not include livestock as defined in N.J.A.C.2:2-1.1.

 

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would make it a violation of the State animal cruelty laws to:

     1) leave a cat, dog, or other domestic companion animal unattended outdoors when the outside ambient temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or less or 90 degrees Fahrenheit or more, without readily available access to shelter in which the ambient temperature is maintained properly and safely above 32 degrees Fahrenheit and below 90 degrees Fahrenheit or below in accordance with any applicable local code, ordinance, or regulation; or

     2) leave a cat, dog, or other domestic companion animal outdoors when evacuation of the area has been recommended by State or local law enforcement due to weather or other emergency conditions.

     In the case of evacuation, the bill directs that the cat, dog, or other domestic companion animal be evacuated with its owner, if possible.  If evacuation with the owner is not an option, the bill requires the cat, dog. or other domestic companion animal to be:

     1) delivered to an animal kennel, shelter, or other suitable animal care facility; or

     2) secured in an indoor area constructed to be as protective of the animal as possible under the circumstances.

     If, for the purposes of complying with the bill's requirements, the cat, dog, or other domestic companion animal is relocated to, or provided readily available access to, a basement or a garage, the bill requires the basement or garage to be properly ventilated in accordance with the State Uniform Construction Code, and during weather or other emergency conditions, also reasonably safe form flooding.

     The bill defines "domestic companion animal" means any animal commonly referred to as a pet or one that has been bought, 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.  It does not include livestock.

     Furthermore, the bill establishes that violations of any of the bill's provisions would constitute failure to provide "necessary care" pursuant to R.S.4:22-17 and R.S.4:22-26.

     Current law defines "necessary care" as care sufficient to preserve the health and well-being of an animal, and includes, but is not limited to: food of sufficient quantity and quality to allow for normal growth or maintenance of body weight; adequate access to water in sufficient quantity and quality to satisfy the animal's needs; access to adequate protection from the weather; and veterinary care to alleviate suffering and maintain health.

     Under R.S.4:22-26, a violator may be liable for civil penalties of $500 to $2,000 for failure to provide necessary care, depending on the consequences of failure to do so.  Under R.S.4:22-17, failure to provide necessary care would be a disorderly persons offense, a crime of the fourth degree, or crime of the third degree, depending on the consequences of failure to do so.

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