SENATE, No. 971

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

213th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JANUARY 28, 2008

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator JEFF VAN DREW

District 1 (Cape May, Atlantic and Cumberland)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Establishes sterilization and animal control programs; establishes dog license surcharge.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning animal control programs and related fees and amending and supplementing Title 4 of the Revised Statutes.

 

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

 

     1.  (New section)  a.  Notwithstanding any law, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, to the contrary, no cat or dog shall be released from a shelter or pound in the State unless it has been sterilized, except if an owner of a cat or dog who is reclaiming the cat or dog submits an exemption application to the shelter or pound with the required documentation pursuant to subsection b. of this section, or after submitting an exemption application, submits the required documentation as provided for under subsection c. of this section.  No provision of this section shall be construed to require the shelter or pound to sterilize a cat or dog unless it is being reclaimed, adopted, or otherwise released from the custody of the shelter or pound.

     No cat or dog received at a shelter or pound that has a registration, license or any other type of identification tag shall be sterilized until the cat or dog has not been claimed after being at the shelter or pound for seven business days, excluding the day of arrival and the day the sterilization is performed.  If the seven business days elapse between the date that the owner of the cat or dog has submitted an exemption application without the required documentation and the date on which the owner returns with the required documentation, the cat or dog shall not be sterilized until the owner fails to comply with the provisions of subsection c. of this section.  The shelter or pound shall notify any owner seeking to reclaim a cat or dog of the requirements and the provisions of this subsection and subsections b. and c. of this section, in writing and at the time that the owner first seeks to reclaim the cat or dog.

     b.  Any owner reclaiming a cat or a dog from a shelter or pound who expressly does not wish the cat or dog to be sterilized, shall, at the time of reclaiming the cat or dog, submit an exemption application, provided by the shelter or pound, with one of the following:

     (1) documentation that the cat or dog has been shown in the past 12 months and is registered as an American Kennel Club or Cat Fanciers Association show animal, or a show animal of any successor organization recognized as a successor organization to either of  these organizations by the Department of Health and Senior Services;

     (2) documentation from a licensed veterinarian that sterilizing the cat or dog would be detrimental to the health of the cat or dog,
or that the cat or dog is too young to be sterilized properly;

     (3) documentation of the American Kennel Club or Cat Fanciers Association requirements that are inconsistent with the sterilization of the cat or dog, or such documentation from any successor organization recognized as a successor organization to either of  these organizations by the Department of Health and Senior Services; or

     (4) documentation that the owner is a professional licensed breeder registered with the American Kennel Club or Cat Fanciers Association, or any successor organization recognized as a successor organization to either of these organizations by the Department of Health and Senior Services.

     c.  If the owner does not have the documentation required under subsection b. of this section at the time of reclaiming the cat or dog, the owner shall return with the required documentation within seven business days after submitting the exemption application, or by such time as otherwise agreed to by the shelter or pound,  and reclaim the cat or dog without the cat or dog being sterilized.

     d.  There is established a special fund to be known as the "Cat and Dog Sterilization Fund," to be administered by the Department of Health and Senior Services for the purposes of funding the sterilizations required pursuant to subsection a. of this section.  No moneys deposited in the fund shall be used for any purpose other than the sterilization of cats or dogs.

     e.  The Department of Health and Senior Services may adopt, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), any rules or regulations necessary for the implementation of the provisions and requirements of this section.

 

     2.  (New section)  a.  There is established an Animal Control Fund within the Department of the Treasury as a nonlapsing, revolving fund.

     b.  The fund shall be comprised of a surcharge of $6 per one-year dog license and $12 per two-year dog license, in addition to the fee charged pursuant to section 3 of P.L.1941, c.151 (C.4:19-15.3) and forwarded to the Department of Health and Senior Services pursuant to section 11 of P.L.1941, c.151 (C.4:19-15.11), collected by the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services and paid over to the State Treasurer for deposit in the fund annually.

     c.  The State Treasurer shall deposit all moneys paid over to him pursuant to this section into the fund.  Monies credited to the fund may be invested in the same manner as assets of the General Fund and any investment earnings on the fund shall accrue to the fund and shall be available subject to the same terms and conditions as other monies in the fund.

     d.  The fund shall be administered by the Department of Health and Senior Services.

     e.  The monies in the fund are specifically dedicated and shall be utilized exclusively for the following purposes:

     (1)  $2.1 million shall be allocated annually for the operation of the animal control officer program established pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1983, c.525 (C.4:19-15.16b), allocated in amounts of $100,000 per participating county per year;

     (2)   $1.5 million shall be allocated annually for the operation of each district (county) society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, allocated in amounts of $50,000 per district (county) society per year.

     f.  The Commissioner of Health and Senior Services shall, in accordance with the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary for the implementation of this section.

 

     3.  Section 2 of P.L.1941, c.151 (C.4:19-15.2) is amended to read as follows:

     2.  Any person who shall own, keep or harbor a dog of licensing age shall annually or every [third] second year, in accordance with a [3-year] two-year dog license or renewal thereof issued under subsection b. of section 12 of [this act (C. 4:19-15.12b)] P.L.1941, c.151 (C.4:19-15.12), apply for [and] a license and official metal registration tag  for each dog owned, kept or harbored by the person.  The person shall procure the license and registration tag from the clerk of the municipality or other official designated by the governing body thereof to license dogs in the municipality in which [he] the person applying for the license and registration tag resides, [a license and official metal registration tag  for each such dog so owned, kept or harbored,] and shall place upon each [such] dog a collar or harness with the registration tag securely fastened thereto.

(cf: P.L.1982, c. 203, s. 1)

 

     4.  Section 3 of P.L.1941, c.151 (C.4:19-15.3) is amended to read as follows:

     3.  The person applying for the license and registration tag shall pay the fee fixed or authorized to be fixed in section 12 of this act, and the sum of [$1.00] $10 for a one-year registration tag or [$3.00] $20 for a [three-year] two-year registration tag for each dog; and for each renewal, the fee for the license and for the registration tag shall be the same as for the original license and tag; and said licenses, registration tags and renewals thereof shall expire no later than June 30 in the year stated on the license; except that this expiration date shall not require a municipality to alter its schedule for administering rabies inoculations to any dog to be licensed and registered; nor shall this expiration date require a municipality to alter its schedule for renewing licenses and registration tags, provided that the registration period precedes June 30.  The governing body of a municipality may stagger the expiration of such annual licenses so long as all expirations occur no later than June 30 in the calendar year stated on the license.  Any three-year license issued prior to the July 1 following the effective date of  P.L.     , c.     (C.           ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall remain valid until the conclusion of the three-year period for which the license was issued, and thereafter shall be renewed as a two-year license, provided that the documentation required pursuant to this section has been provided.

     Only one license and registration tag shall be required in any licensing year for any dog owned in New Jersey, and [such] the license and tag shall be accepted by all municipalities as evidence of compliance with this section.

     Dogs used as guides for blind persons and commonly known as "seeing-eye" dogs, dogs used to assist handicapped persons and commonly known as "service dogs," or dogs used to assist deaf persons and commonly known as "hearing ear" dogs shall be licensed and registered as other dogs hereinabove provided for, except that the owner or keeper of such dog shall not be required to pay any fee therefor.

     Any person applying for a license and registration tag pursuant to this section shall provide documentation from a licensed veterinarian indicating that the dog has been spayed, neutered, or sterilized or, if appropriate, that the dog has not been spayed, neutered, or sterilized  because to do so would be detrimental to the health of the dog or because the dog is too young to be sterilized properly.  Any person not providing that documentation shall be required to pay an additional fee pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1983, c.172 (C.4:19-15.3b) and may not apply for a two-year registration tag or license.

     License forms and uniform official metal registration tags designed by the State Department of Health shall be furnished by the municipality and shall be numbered serially and shall bear the year of issuance and the name of the municipality.

(cf: P.L.1996, c.113, s.1)

 

     5.  Section 1 of P.L.1983, c.172 (C.4:19-15.3b) is amended to read as follows:

     a.  In addition to the fee charged pursuant to section 3 of P.L.1941, c.151 (C.4:19-15.3) and forwarded to the Department of Health and Senior Services pursuant to section 11 of P.L.1941, c.151 (C.4:19-15.11), any person applying for the license and registration  tag  pursuant  to  section  2  of  P.L.1941, [c.151 (C. 4:19-15.2)] c.151 (C.4:19-15.2) shall  pay a fee of [$3.00] $20 for any dog of reproductive age which has not had its reproductive capacity permanently altered through sterilization.

     b.  [All] One fourth of the fees collected pursuant to the provisions of this section and section [5 of this amendatory and supplementary act] 4 of P.L.1983, c.172 (C.4:19A-3) shall be forwarded to the State Treasurer, for deposit in the "Animal Population Control Fund" [created pursuant to section 7 of this act] established in subsection b. of section 6 of P.L.1983, c.172 (C.4:19A-5).  Three-fourths of the fees collected pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be forwarded to the State Treasurer for deposit in the "Cat and Dog Sterilization Fund," established pursuant to subsection d. of section 1 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

(cf: P.L.1983, c.172, s.1)

 

     6.  Section 11 of P.L.1941, c.151 (C.4:19-15.11) is amended to read as follows:

     11.  [License fees and other moneys]  Half of the license fee fixed or authorized to be fixed in section 12 of P.L.1941, c.151 (C.4:19-15.12) and collected or received under the provisions of [sections 3, 8, 9 and 16 of this act] section 3 of P.L.1941, c.151 (C.4:19-15.3), and the license fees and other moneys collected or received under the provisions of sections 3, 8, 9 and 16 of P.L.1941, c.151, except registration tag fees, shall be forwarded to the treasurer of the municipality within 30 days after collection or receipt and shall be placed in a special account separate from any of the other accounts of the municipality and shall be used for the following purposes only; for collecting, keeping and disposing of dogs liable to seizure under  [this act] P.L.1983, c.172 or under local dog control ordinances; for local prevention and control of rabies; for providing antirabic treatment under the direction of the local board of health for any person known or suspected to have been exposed to rabies, for payment of damage to or losses of poultry and domestic animals, except dogs and cats, caused by a dog or dogs and for administering the provisions of [this act] P.L.1983, c.172.  Any unexpended balance remaining in such special account shall be retained therein until the end of the third fiscal year following and may be used for any of the purposes set forth in this section.  At the end of the [said] third fiscal year following, and at the end of each fiscal year thereafter, there shall be transferred from such special account to the general funds of the municipality any amount then in such account which is in excess of the total amount paid into [said] the special account during the last [2] two fiscal years next preceding.

     Half of the license fee fixed or authorized to be fixed in section 12 of P.L.1941, c.151 (C.4:19-15.12) and collected or received under the provisions of section 3 of P.L.1941, c.151 (C.4:19-15.3) shall be forwarded to the State Treasurer for deposit in the "Cat and Dog Sterilization Fund," established pursuant to subsection d. of section 1 of P.L.  , c.      (C.            ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

     The registration tag fee for each dog shall be forwarded within 30 days after collection by the clerk or other official designated to license dogs to the [State] Department of Health [which] and Senior Services.  The department shall forward [said] the sum to the State Treasurer who shall place all such moneys in a special account for use only by the [State] Department of Health and Senior Services in administering [this act] P.L.1983, c.172 and for the prevention and control of rabies throughout the State, and such account is hereby declared to be a trust fund not subject to legislative appropriation. At the end of the third fiscal year following the adoption of [this act] P.L.1983, c.172 and at the end of each fiscal year thereafter, there shall be withdrawn from this trust fund and transferred to the general funds of the State any amount then in such fund which is in excess of the total amount paid into such fund during the last [2] two fiscal years next preceding.

(cf: P.L.1981, c.235, s.3)

 

     7.  Section 4 of P.L.1983, c.525 (C.4:19-15.16b) is amended to read as follows:

     4.    a.  (1)  The governing body of a municipality shall, within three years of the effective date of P.L.1983, c.525, appoint a certified animal control officer who shall be responsible for animal control within the jurisdiction of the municipality and who shall enforce and abide by the provisions of section 16 of P.L.1941, c.151 (C.4:19-15.16).  The governing body shall not appoint a certified animal control officer, shall not contract for animal control services with any company that employs a certified animal control officer, and shall revoke the appointment of a certified animal control officer, who has been convicted of, or found civilly liable for, a violation of any provision of chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes or whose name is on the list or any revision thereto established and provided by the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services pursuant to subsection c. of section 3 of P.L.1983, c.525 (C.4:19-15.16a).  The governing body shall, within 30 days after receipt thereof, review any such list or revision thereto received by the municipality and shall, within that 30-day period, take action accordingly as required pursuant to this section.

     (2)  Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection, any municipality in a county where the sheriff has designated a sheriff’s officer to enforce animal welfare laws pursuant to subsection c. of this section, may, by agreement with the sheriff’s office, share responsibility for enforcing animal cruelty laws within that municipality’s borders.

     b.  The governing body may authorize the certified animal control officer to investigate and sign complaints, arrest violators and otherwise act as an officer for detection, apprehension and arrest of offenders against the animal control, animal welfare and animal cruelty laws of the State and ordinances of the municipality, if the officer has completed the training required pursuant to paragraph 4 of subsection a. of section 3 of P.L.1983, c.525 (C.4:19-15.16a).  Only certified animal control officers who have completed the training may be authorized by the governing body to so act as an officer for detection, apprehension and arrest of offenders; however, officers who have completed the training shall not have the authority to so act unless authorized by the governing body which is employing the officer or contracting for the officer's services.

     c.  The sheriff of any county may appoint a sheriff’s officer to investigate and sign complaints, arrest violators and otherwise act as an officer for detection, apprehension, and arrest of offenders against the animal control, animal welfare and animal cruelty laws of the State, and regulations and ordinances of the county and municipalities.

(cf: P.L.2003, c.67, s.2)

 

     8. This act shall take effect on the first day of the sixth month next following enactment; however, subsection f. of section 2 shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill proposes a dog license surcharge, and establishes sterilization and animal control programs with the monies generated by the fee increase.

     This bill provides that no cat or dog can be released from a shelter or pound in the State unless it has been sterilized, except if an owner of a cat or dog who is reclaiming the cat or dog submits an exemption application to the shelter or pound with the documentation required under the bill or, after submitting an exemption application, the owner submits the required documentation as provided under the bill.

     The bill further provides that no cat or dog received at a shelter or pound that has a registration, license or any other type of identification tag shall be sterilized until the cat or dog has not been claimed after being at the shelter or pound for seven business days. If the seven business days elapse between the date that the owner of the cat or dog has submitted an exemption application without the required documentation and the date on which the owner returns with the required documentation, the cat or dog shall not be sterilized until the other provisions of the bill have been complied with.  The bill also requires that the shelter or pound notify any owner seeking to reclaim a cat or dog of the requirements and provisions of this bill, in writing and at the time that the owner first seeks to reclaim the cat or dog.

     The bill establishes the "Cat and Dog Sterilization Fund," to be administered by the Department of Health and Senior Services for the purposes of funding the sterilizations required under the bill. The bill decreases the three-year license for dogs to two years, and further provides that only sterilized dogs or dogs that cannot be sterilized because of their age or because it would be detrimental to the dog's health may be issued two-year licenses.

     The bill also clarifies that the sheriff’s office in each county may choose to appoint a sheriff’s officer to enforce animal welfare laws. Currently, each municipality appoints certified animal control officers to enforce the animal welfare and cruelty laws of the State. Many municipalities appoint shelter staff as animal control officers. This bill clarifies that municipalities may opt to use county law enforcement officers to enforce animal welfare laws.  This use of county law enforcement in the area of animal welfare has been successful in other states.

     Finally, this bill establishes an Animal Control Fund within the Department of the Treasury as a nonlapsing, revolving fund.  The fund shall be comprised of a surcharge of $6 per one-year dog license and $12 per two-year dog license, in addition to the municipal fee charged for dog licenses and forwarded to the Department of Health and Senior Services for the State rabies prevention program, collected by the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services and paid over to the State Treasurer for deposit in the fund annually.  The monies in the fund are specifically dedicated and shall be utilized exclusively for the following purposes: $2.1 million shall be allocated annually for the operation of the animal control officer program established pursuant to this bill, allocated in amounts of $100,000 per participating county per year, and $1.5 million shall be allocated annually for the operation of each district (county) society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, allocated in amounts of $50,000 per district (county) society per year.