SENATE, No. 1516

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

213th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MARCH 10, 2008

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator LORETTA WEINBERG

District 37 (Bergen)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     The “Animal Cruelty Recodification and Modernization Act.”

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning animal cruelty and amending, supplementing, and repealing various sections of law.

 

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

 

     1.  (New section)  This act shall be known and may be cited as the “Animal Cruelty Recodification and Modernization Act.”

 

     2.  (New section) As used in this act:

     “Animal” means any nonhuman living being.

     “Minimum care” means care sufficient to preserve the health and well-being of an animal and includes, but is not limited to, the following requirements: (1) food of sufficient quantity and quality to allow for normal growth or maintenance of body weight; (2) unimpeded access to drinkable water of an appropriate temperature in sufficient quantity to satisfy the animal’s needs; (3) adequate protection from weather conditions that may adversely affect the health or safety of the animal in light of the species, breed, and physical condition of the animal, such protection to include an enclosed non-hazardous structure sufficient to protect the animal from rain, sleet, ice, snow, wind, extreme heat and cold, extreme or excessive sunlight and overexposure to the sun, and adequate bedding to protect against cold and dampness; (4) veterinary care deemed necessary by a reasonably prudent person to relieve distress from injury, neglect or disease; and (5) continuous access to clean bedding and a clean and adequate exercise area.

     “Physical injury” means physical pain, including but not limited to physical trauma, illness or any impairment of physical condition.

     “Physical trauma” means a fracture, cut, burn, puncture, bruise or other wound or illness produced by violence or by a biological, chemical or thermal agent.

     “Possession” means to have physical custody or charge of, or control over, an animal.

     “Serious physical injury” means physical injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.

     “Torment” means to purposely cause unnecessary, extreme or unjustifiable mental or emotional anguish.

     “Torture” means to purposely inflict, subject to or prolong exposure to unnecessary, extreme or unjustifiable pain or suffering.

     “Trap-neuter-return” means to (1) humanely trap a feral or stray cat; (2) sterilize and vaccinate the cat against rabies; and (3) return
the cat to the location where the cat was trapped, or, if the cat would be in danger of bodily injury at that location, move the cat to a safe location instead of returning it to where it was trapped.

 

     3. (New section) Nothing contained in this act shall be construed to prohibit or interfere with:

     a.  Properly conducted scientific experiments performed under the authority of the Department of Health and Senior Services or the United States Department of Agriculture. Those departments may authorize the conduct of such experiments or investigations by agricultural stations and schools maintained by the State or federal government, or by medical societies, universities, colleges and institutions incorporated or authorized to do business in this State and having among their corporate purposes investigation into the causes, nature, prevention and cure of diseases in men and animals; and may for cause revoke such authority;

     b. The killing or disposing of an animal or creature by virtue of the order of a constituted authority of the State, except if done needlessly, recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of life or in a manner that involved torture or depravity of mind;

     c. The shooting or taking of game or game fish in such manner and at such times as is allowed or provided by the laws of this State;

     d. The administration of a reasonable and recognized animal training or handling technique, provided that the administration is carried out in a manner which does not adversely or unjustifiably affect the health or safety of the animal;

     e. The raising, keeping, care, treatment, marketing, and sale of domestic livestock in accordance with the standards developed and adopted pursuant to subsection a. of section 1 of P.L.1995, c. 311 (C. 4:22-16.1);

     f. The killing or disposing of, by a reasonable or commercially acceptable method or means, a Norway or brown rat (Rattus norvegicus), black rat (Rattus rattus), or house mouse (Mus musculus) by any person, or with the permission or at the direction of that person, while the animal is on property either owned or leased by, or otherwise under the control of, that person, provided that the animal is not a pet; and

     g. The properly conducted practice of veterinary care by or under the immediate supervision of a veterinarian licensed pursuant to chapter 16 of Title 45 of the Revised Statutes or by the laws of any other state.

 

     4.  (New section) Animal abuse.

     a. A person is guilty of animal abuse if the person, directly or indirectly, including, but not limited to, through the use of another animal, purposely, knowingly, or recklessly torments an animal, subjects an animal to an act of violence, attempts to cause or purposely, knowingly, recklessly or needlessly causes physical injury to an animal.  Animal abuse is a disorderly persons offense.

     b.  Each animal involved in violation of subsection a. of this section shall constitute a separate offense.

 

     5.  (New section) Aggravated animal abuse.

     a.  A person is guilty of aggravated animal abuse if the person, directly or indirectly, including, but not limited to, through the use of another animal:

     (1) purposely or knowingly attempts to kill or cause serious physical injury to an animal;

     (2) purposely or knowingly kills or causes serious physical injury to an animal;

     (3) under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of life, recklessly kills or causes serious physical injury to an animal;

     (4) purposely or knowingly commits an act of sexual penetration or sexual contact with an animal, which, if the same acts were committed with a human being, would constitute sexual penetration or sexual contact pursuant to N.J.S.2C:14-1;

     (5) purposely or knowingly tortures an animal; or

     (6) recklessly and needlessly, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of life or in a manner that involved torture or depravity of mind, kills an animal by virtue of the order of a constituted authority of the State.

     Aggravated animal abuse under paragraph (1), (2), (3), (4), or (5) of this subsection is a crime of the third degree.  Aggravated animal abuse under paragraph (6) of this subsection is a crime of the second degree.

     b. Each animal involved in a violation of subsection a. of this section shall constitute a separate offense.

 

     6.  (New section) Animal abandonment, aggravated animal abandonment, and extreme animal abandonment.

     a.  A person is guilty of animal abandonment if, with the purpose of relinquishing possession of an animal and without making reasonable provisions for the minimum care of the animal, the person knowingly leaves the animal or causes the animal to be left at a location where the animal is beyond the custody or possession of the person leaving the animal or the custody or possession of the animal’s owner.  Animal abandonment is a disorderly persons offense.

     b.  A person is guilty of aggravated animal abandonment if, with the purpose of relinquishing possession of an animal and without making reasonable provisions for the minimum care of the animal, the person knowingly leaves the animal or causes the animal to be left at a location where the animal is beyond the custody or possession of the person leaving the animal or the custody or possession of the animal’s owner, and, the failure to provide for the minimum care of the animal results in serious physical injury to the animal.  Aggravated animal abandonment is a crime of the fourth degree.

     c.  A person is guilty of extreme animal abandonment if, with the purpose of relinquishing possession of an animal and without making reasonable provisions for the minimum care of the animal, the person knowingly leaves the animal or causes the animal to be left at a location where the animal is beyond the custody or possession of the person leaving the animal or the custody or possession of the animal’s owner, and, the failure to provide for the minimum care of the animal results in the death of the animal.  Extreme animal abandonment is a crime of the third degree.

     d.  Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:43-3, a person found guilty of animal abandonment, aggravated animal abandonment, or extreme animal abandonment pursuant to this section, in addition to any other applicable penalties under Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes, shall be liable for:

     (1) a fine of $1,000 if the violation occurs on or within 200 feet of a roadway; and

     (2) a fine of $500 if the violation involves a maimed, sick, infirm or disabled animal.

     e.  Each animal abandoned in violation of this section, and each incident involving the abandonment of a particular animal, shall constitute a separate offense.

     f.  For the purposes of this section, leaving an animal at an animal pound or shelter without ensuring that the animal is left with a person authorized by the animal pound or shelter to accept possession of the animal shall constitute relinquishing possession of an animal without making reasonable provisions for the minimum care of the animal.

     g.  This section shall not apply to persons engaging in trap-neuter-return.

 

     7.  (New section) Animal neglect, aggravated animal neglect, and extreme animal neglect.

     a. A person is guilty of animal neglect if the person purposely, knowingly, or recklessly fails to provide minimum care for an animal in the person’s possession. Animal neglect is a disorderly persons offense.

     b. A person is guilty of aggravated animal neglect if the person purposely, knowingly or recklessly fails to provide minimum care for an animal in the person’s possession and the failure to provide minimum care results in physical injury to the animal. Aggravated animal neglect is a crime of the fourth degree.

     c.  A person is guilty of extreme animal neglect if the person purposely, knowingly or recklessly fails to provide minimum care for an animal in the person’s possession and the failure to provide minimum care results in serious physical injury or death of the animal.   Extreme animal neglect is a crime of the third degree.

     d.  Each animal neglected in violation of this section shall constitute a separate offense.

     e.  For the purposes of this section, leaving an animal in a vehicle under conditions adverse to the health or welfare of the animal, including, but not limited to, extreme heat or cold, extreme or excessive sunlight, or overexposure to the sun shall constitute a failure to make reasonable provisions for the minimum care of the animal.

 

     8.  (New section) Animal fighting.

     a. A person is guilty of animal fighting if that person knowingly:

     (1) keeps, uses, is connected with or interested in the management of, or receives money for the admission of a person to, a place kept or used for the purpose of fighting or baiting an animal;

     (2) owns, possesses, keeps, trains, promotes, purchases, or knowingly breeds or sells an animal for the purpose of fighting or baiting that animal;

     (3) for amusement or gain, causes, allows, or permits the fighting or baiting of an animal;

     (4) permits or allows a place owned or controlled by that person to be used for the purpose of fighting or baiting an animal;

     (5) is present and witnesses, pays admission to, encourages or assists in the fighting or baiting of an animal; or

     (6) gambles on the outcome of a fight involving an animal.

     Animal fighting under paragraph (6) of this subsection is a crime of the third degree.  Otherwise, animal fighting is a crime of the second degree.

     b.  For purposes of this section, “bait” means to attack with violence, to provoke, or to harass an animal with one or more animals for the purpose of training an animal for, or to cause an animal to engage in, a fight with or among other animals.

 

     9.  (New section) Overworking an animal.

     A person is guilty of overworking an animal if that person knowingly overdrives, overloads, drives when overloaded, or overworks an animal or causes or procures any such acts to be done. Overworking an animal is a disorderly persons offense.

 

     10.  (New section) Animal abuse and aggravated animal abuse in the presence of a child.

     a.  A person is guilty of the crime of animal abuse in the presence of a child if the person knowingly commits animal abuse in violation of subsection a. of section 4 of P.L.    , c.    (C.    ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) in the presence of a child under 16 years of age.  Animal abuse in the presence of a child is a crime of the fourth degree.  In addition to all other penalties prescribed by law, a person violating this section shall also be liable for a fine of $5,000 for each offense.

     b.  A person is guilty of the crime of aggravated animal abuse in the presence of a child if the person purposely commits animal abuse in violation of section 4 of P.L.    , c.    (C.    ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), or purposely, knowingly or recklessly commits aggravated animal abuse in violation of section 5 of P.L.    , c.    (C.    ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), in the presence of a child under 16 years of age.  Aggravated animal abuse in the presence of a child is a crime of the third degree.  In addition to all other penalties prescribed by law, a person violating this section shall also be liable for a fine of $1,000 for each offense.

     c.  For the purposes of this section, it shall not be a defense that the person did not know that the child was present or that the person reasonably believed that the child was 16 years of age or older.

 

     11.  (New section) Pattern of abuse or neglect.

     a.  A person is guilty of a pattern of abuse or neglect if a person is convicted of any violation of sections 4 through 10 of P.L.   , c.    (C.    ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) and the person has previously been convicted of violating one or more of those sections of law, or one or more of the following:

     (1) any statute of the United States or any other state similar to any provision of sections 4 through 10 of P.L.   , c.    (C.    ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) establishing any offense that is substantially equivalent to the offenses established under those sections of law;

     (2) any other animal protection statute of this State, the United States, or any other state, or any other provision of chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes establishing an offense that is substantially equivalent to the offense established in any of these animal protection statutes; or

     (3) any crime enumerated in section 3 of P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-19) inflicted upon a person protected under the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991,” P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-17 et seq.) or any act of domestic violence under the equivalent law of another jurisdiction.

     b.  Pattern of abuse or neglect is a crime of the second degree if one or more acts the defendant has been convicted of is a crime of the third degree, and a crime of the third degree if one or more acts the defendant has been convicted of is a crime of the fourth degree.  Otherwise, it is a crime of the fourth degree.

 

     12.  (New section) Additional penalties.

     a. In addition to imposing any other appropriate penalties established for an offense pursuant to Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes, Title 4 of the Revised Statutes, and P.L.   , c.    (C.    ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the court shall impose for any violation of sections 4 through 11 of P.L.   , c.    (C.    ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) a term of community service of up to 30 days.  The court may direct that the term of community service be served in providing assistance to a recognized organization concerned with the prevention of cruelty to animals or the humane treatment and care of animals, or to a municipality’s animal control or animal population control program, provided that the organization or municipality, as applicable, consents to the community service and there are conditions in place to ensure that such service is appropriately supervised and that animals are not placed at risk by the defendant’s participation. The court also shall require the violator to pay restitution or otherwise reimburse any costs for food, drink, shelter, veterinary care or treatment, and other costs incurred by any agency, entity, or organization investigating the violation or providing care, housing, or both for any animals involved in the violation.

     b. The court may order a person convicted of any violation of sections 4 through 9 of P.L.   , c.    (C.    ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), and shall order a person convicted of a violation of section 10 or section 11 of P.L.   , c.    (C.    ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), to receive mental health counseling by a licensed psychologist or therapist named by the court for a period of time to be prescribed by the licensed psychologist or therapist.  If a juvenile is adjudicated delinquent for an act which, if committed by an adult, would constitute an offense pursuant to any provision of sections 4 through 11 of P.L.   , c.    (C.    ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the court shall order the juvenile to receive mental health counseling by a licensed psychologist or therapist named by the court for a period of time to be prescribed by the licensed psychologist or therapist. The court may order the person convicted of the offense, or if applicable, the legal guardian of the juvenile, to pay for the mental health counseling.

     c. In addition to any other penalty imposed pursuant to this section, Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes, or Title 4 of the Revised Statutes, the court shall order the seizure and forfeiture of any animals used for fighting or baiting in violation of section 8 of P.L.    , c.   (C.    ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill). Additionally, any property involved in or related to a violation of section 8 of P.L.    , c.     (C.      ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall be subject to forfeiture and may be seized by the State or any law enforcement officer in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.2C:64-1 et seq.  The court may, at the request of the prosecutor or on its own motion, order the forfeiture of any animal involved in the violation of, or in the possession of the person convicted of violating any provision of sections 4 through 7, or 9 through 11 of P.L.   , c.    (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), or in the possession of the person convicted of violating section 8 of P.L.   , c.    (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

     d.  The court may also order forfeiture of any other animals in the custody or possession of a person convicted of violating any provision of sections 4 through 11 of P.L.   , c.    (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).  The court may prohibit any such person from having future possession or custody of any animal for any period of time the court deems reasonable, including ordering a permanent prohibition on the person owning or having possession of an animal.   The court may further impose on a person convicted of violating any provision of sections 4 through 11 of P.L.   , c.    (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) any other reasonable restrictions on the person’s future possession or custody of, or involvement with, any animal or animals as necessary for the protection of animals.

     e.  When the court orders forfeiture of an animal pursuant to subsection c. or subsection d. of this section, the court may further order that all rights to possess the animal be given over to an appropriate person or agency demonstrating a willingness to accept and care for the animal or to an appropriate animal care agency for further disposition in accordance with accepted practices for humane treatment of animals.

 

     13. (New section) Duty to report acts of animal abuse, neglect or fighting.

     a. (1) Any person having professional animal care or maintenance responsibilities who knows or has reasonable cause to believe that an animal has been subjected to abuse or neglect, or involved in animal fighting, in violation of section 4, section 5, section 7, or section 8, as applicable, of P.L.  , c. (C.). (pending before the Legislature as this bill), shall report or cause to be reported the same immediately, by telephone or otherwise, to the police or to any other law enforcement agency or officer authorized to investigate a report of animal abuse or neglect, or animal fighting.

     (2) Any employee of a State, county or local child or adult protective services agency, social worker or domestic violence counselor or crisis response team member, while acting in his or her professional capacity or within the scope of his or her employment, who knows or has reasonable cause to believe that an animal has been subjected to abuse or neglect shall report or cause to be reported the same immediately, by telephone or otherwise, to the police or to any other law enforcement agency or officer authorized to investigate a report of animal abuse, unless in that person’s professional judgment such a report would place a vulnerable child or adult at risk of harm.

     (3) Any employee of a State, county or local law enforcement agency who knows or has reasonable cause to believe that an animal has been subjected to abuse or neglect, or involved in animal fighting, in violation of section 4, section 5, section 7, or section 8, as applicable, of P.L.     , c.     (C.    ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall report or cause to be reported the same immediately, by telephone or otherwise, to the police or to any other law enforcement agency or officer authorized to investigate a report of animal abuse or neglect, or animal fighting.

     (4) Any other person who has reasonable cause to believe that an animal has been subjected to abuse or neglect or involved in animal fighting may report the same immediately, by telephone or otherwise, to the police or to any other law enforcement agency or officer authorized to investigate a report of animal abuse or neglect, or animal fighting.

     b. The report, if possible, shall contain the name and address of the alleged perpetrator and time and location of the alleged act of abuse, neglect or animal fighting, the nature and possible extent of the animal’s injury or condition as a result of abuse, neglect or fighting, and any other information that the person reporting believes may be helpful with respect to the act of abuse, neglect or animal fighting and the identity of the alleged perpetrator.

     c. Any person who reports information pursuant to this act, or provides information to the appropriate authorities concerning the abuse, neglect or fighting of an animal, or testifies at a grand jury, judicial or administrative proceeding resulting from the report, is immune from civil and criminal liability arising from the report, information or testimony, unless the person acts in bad faith or with malicious purpose.

     d. An employer or any other person shall not take any discriminatory or retaliatory action against a person having animal care or maintenance responsibilities who reports abuse, neglect or animal fighting pursuant to this act. An employer or any other person shall not discharge, demote or reduce the salary of an employee because the employee reported information in good faith pursuant to this act. A person who violates this subsection is liable for a fine of up to $1,000.

     e. A person with professional animal care or maintenance responsibilities who reports or causes to report in good faith an allegation of animal abuse or neglect, or animal fighting, pursuant to section 4, section 5, section 7, or section 8, as applicable, of P.L.    , c.   (C. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) encountered during the course of his or her employment and as a result thereof is discharged from employment or in any manner discriminated against with respect to compensation, hire, tenure or terms, conditions or privileges of employment, may file a cause of action for appropriate relief in the Superior Court in the county in which the discharge or alleged discrimination occurred or in the county of the person’s primary residence. If the court finds that the person was discharged or discriminated against as a result of the person’s reporting an allegation of animal abuse or neglect or animal fighting, the court may grant reinstatement of employment with back pay or other legal or equitable relief and impose a fine as authorized in subsection d. of this section.

     f. For purposes of this section, persons having professional animal care or maintenance responsibilities include the following, whether paid or unpaid: (1) veterinarians, including any intern or resident; (2) veterinary or animal care technicians; (3) employees of a humane society, animal shelter or other animal control agency; (4) employees of a business engaged in the sale of animals, animal-related merchandise, or in the providing of services, transportation or housing for animals; and (5) zoo or circus employees.

 

     14.  (New section) As used in this article, the terms “animal,” “minimum care,” “physical injury,” “physical trauma,” “possession,” “serious physical injury,” “torment,” “torture,” and “trap-neuter-return” shall have the same meaning as they are defined in section 2 of P.L.    , c.     (C.      ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

 

     15.  (New section) The provisions of section 3 of P.L.    , c.     (C.      ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall apply to this article, and nothing contained in this article shall be construed to prohibit or interfere with any action or activity provided for in that section.

 

     16.  (New section) Notwithstanding the provisions of P.L.    , c.   (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) to the contrary, any violations or offenses committed, or in the process of being adjudicated under R.S.4:22-15, R.S.4:22-16, R.S.4:22-17, R.S.4:22-20, or R.S.4:22-24 on or before the effective date of P.L.    , c.   (C.          ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), shall be adjudicated pursuant to those laws, as applicable.

 

     17.  Section 4 of P.L.2003, c.67 (C.2B:12-17.1) is amended to read as follows:

     4.    As required pursuant to section 3 of P.L.2003, c.67 (C.4:22-57), [a municipal court adjudging] upon a finding of guilt or liability for a violation of any provision of P.L.    , c.   (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes, [shall charge] or any subsequently enacted law establishing an animal cruelty offense, the prosecutor, humane law enforcement officer of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or the [district (county)] county society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or other appropriate person, other than a certified animal control officer, [with the responsibility to] shall notify , within 30 days after the finding of guilt or liability, the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services, in writing, of the full name of the person found guilty of, or liable for, an applicable violation, and the violation for which or of which that person was found guilty or liable [, and the person charged with the responsibility shall provide such notice].

(cf: P.L.2003, c.67, s.4)

 

     18.  Section 2 of P.L.1985, c. 433 (C.4:15-14) is amended to read as follows:

     2.    An organization created for the purpose of promoting the breeding, care, and training of dogs to draw sleds, carts, or wheel rigs, including the International Sled Dog Racing Association and its affiliates in this State, or other similar association which has been in existence for at least five years and which has been classified as a nonprofit corporation and certified as exempt from the payment of federal income tax by the Internal Revenue Service of the United States Department of the Treasury may conduct or sponsor dog sled races or exhibitions of dog sled racing, carting, weight pull, and freight racing skill with dogs specifically bred and trained for that purpose, in conjunction with the owners thereof.  The proper care, humane treatment, and protection of a dog participating in a dog sled race, freight race, weight pull, or carting exhibition shall be the responsibility of its owner and all dog sled races, freight race, weight pull, or carting exhibitions shall be conducted in a manner not inconsistent with the provisions of P.L.    , c.   (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), any subsequently enacted law establishing an animal cruelty offense, or chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes.

(cf: P.L.1985, c.433, s.2)

 

     19.  Section 3 of P.L.1983, c.525 (C.4:19-15.16a) is amended to read as follows:

     3.    a.  The Commissioner of Health and Senior Services shall, within 120 days after the effective date of P.L.1983, c.525, and pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), adopt rules and regulations concerning the training and educational qualifications for the certification of animal control officers, including, but not limited to, a course of study approved by the commissioner and the Police Training Commission, in consultation with the New Jersey Certified Animal Control Officers Association, which acquaints a person with:

     (1)   The law as it affects animal control, animal welfare, and animal cruelty;

     (2)   Animal behavior and the handling of stray or diseased animals;

     (3)   Community safety as it relates to animal control; and

     (4)   The law enforcement methods and techniques required for an animal control officer to properly exercise the authority to investigate and sign complaints and arrest without warrant pursuant to section 8 of P.L.1997, c.247 (C.4:19-15.16c), including, but not limited to, those methods and techniques which relate to search, seizure and arrest.  The training in law enforcement methods and techniques described pursuant to this paragraph shall be part of the course of study for an animal control officer only when required by the governing body of a municipality pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1983, c.525 (C.4:19-15.16b).

     Any person 18 years of age or older may satisfy the courses of study established pursuant to this subsection at that person's own time and expense; however, nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing a person to exercise the powers and duties of an animal control officer absent municipal appointment or authorization pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1983, c.525 (C.4:19-15.16b).

     b.    (1) The commissioner shall provide for the issuance of a certificate to a person who possesses, or acquires, the training and education required to qualify as a certified animal control officer pursuant to paragraphs (1) through (3) of subsection a. of this section and to a person who has been employed in the State of New Jersey in the capacity of, and with similar responsibilities to those required of, a certified animal control officer pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1983, c.525, for a period of three years before January 17, 1987.  The commissioner shall not issue a certificate to any person convicted of, or found civilly liable for, a violation of any provision of P.L.    , c.   (C.      ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), any subsequently enacted law establishing an animal cruelty offense, or chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes.

     (2)   The commissioner shall revoke the certificate of any person convicted of, or found civilly liable for, a violation of any provision of P.L.    , c.   (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), any subsequently enacted law establishing an animal cruelty offense, or chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes and shall place the name of the person on the list established pursuant to subsection c. of this section.

     c.     (1) The commissioner shall establish a list of all persons issued a certificate pursuant to subsection b. of this section (a) for whom that certificate has been revoked, or (b) who have been convicted of, or found civilly liable for, a violation of any provision of P.L.    , c.   (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), any subsequently enacted law establishing an animal cruelty offense, or chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes.  The commissioner shall provide each municipality in the State with a copy of this list within 30 days after the list is established and not less often than annually thereafter if no revised list required pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection has been issued in the interim.

     (2)   Upon receipt of a notice required pursuant to section 3 or 4 of P.L.2003, c.67 (C.4:22-57 or C.2B:12-17.1) involving a person who has been issued a certificate pursuant to subsection b. of this section, the commissioner shall add to the list the name of the person convicted of, or found civilly liable for, a violation of any provision of P.L.    , c.   (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), any subsequently enacted law establishing an animal cruelty offense, or chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes according to the notice, and shall issue a copy of the revised list to each municipality within 30 days after receipt of any such notice.

(cf: P.L.2003, c.67, s.1)

 

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

     4.    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 P.L.    , c.   (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), any subsequently enacted law establishing an animal cruelty offense, or 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.

     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 for animal cruelty investigators 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.

(cf:  P.L.2003, c.67, s.2)

 

     21.  Section 9 of P.L.2005, c.372 (C.4:22-11.9) is amended to read as follows:

     9.    a.  No person shall serve as a trustee, officer, or humane law enforcement officer or agent of, or hold any other position of authority within, the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or any county society for the prevention of cruelty to animals if that person has been convicted of a crime under the laws of the State or under any similar statutes of the United States or any other state, or convicted of a violation of any provision of chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes, P.L.    , c.   (C.      ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), or any subsequently enacted law establishing an animal cruelty offense, or a violation of any similar statutes of the United States or any other state, as indicated by a criminal history record background check performed pursuant to this section.  The fingerprints of each such person and the written consent of the person shall be submitted to the Superintendent of State Police for a criminal history record background check to be performed.  The superintendent shall compare these fingerprints with fingerprints on file with the Bureau of Identification in the Division of State Police, Department of Law and Public Safety, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, consistent with State and federal laws, rules, and regulations.  The cost for the criminal history record background check, including all costs administering and processing the check, shall be borne by either the person or the board of trustees of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or of a county society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, as the case may be.  The superintendent shall inform the board of trustees of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or of a county society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, as the case may be, of whether the person's criminal history background check reveals a conviction of a disqualifying crime as specified in this section. The superintendent shall complete the criminal history record background check required pursuant to this subsection within 90 days after receipt of a request therefor.

     b.    (1) No person shall serve as a trustee, officer, or humane law enforcement officer or agent of, or hold any other position of authority within, the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or any county society if that person 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 a violation of any similar statutes of the United States or any other state.

     (2)   The New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or county society shall rescind the authorization or appointment of any member, humane law enforcement officer, or agent convicted of, or found civilly liable for, a violation of any provision of P.L.    , c.   (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), or any subsequently enacted law establishing an animal cruelty offense, or chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes, or a violation of any similar statutes of the United States or any other state, and that person shall immediately surrender to the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or county society any badge, identification card, or indicia of authority issued to the member, humane law enforcement officer, or agent, as the case may be.

(cf: P.L.2005, c.372, s.9)

 

     22.  R.S.4:22-19 is amended to read as follows:

     4:22-19.  A person who shall:

     a.     Impound or confine, or cause to be impounded or confined, in a pound or other place, a living animal or creature, and shall fail to supply it during such confinement with a sufficient quantity of good and wholesome food and water; or

     b.    Destroy or cause to be destroyed any such animal by hypoxia induced by decompression or in any other manner, by the administration of a lethal gas other than an inhalant anesthetic, or in any other manner except by a method of euthanasia generally accepted by the veterinary medical profession as being reliable, appropriate to the type of animal upon which it is to be employed, and capable of producing loss of consciousness and death as rapidly and  painlessly as possible for such animal shall, in the case of a violation of  subsection a. of this section , be guilty of a disorderly persons offense and shall be punished as provided in [subsection a. of R.S.4:22-17] P.L.   , c.    (C.    ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill); or, in the case of a violation of subsection b. of this section , be subject to a penalty of $25 for the first offense and $50 for each subsequent offense.  Each animal destroyed in violation of subsection b. of this section shall constitute a separate offense.  The penalty shall be collected in accordance with the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999," P.L.1999, c.274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.) and all money collected shall be remitted to the State.

     This section shall apply to kennels, pet shops, shelters and pounds as defined and licensed pursuant to P.L.1941, c.151 (C.4:19-15.1 et seq.); to pounds and places of confinement owned and operated by municipalities, counties or regional governmental authorities; and to every contractual warden or impounding service, any provision to the contrary in this title notwithstanding.

(cf: P.L.2001, c.229, s.3)

 

     23.  Section 1 of P.L.1995, c.255 (C.4:22‑26.1) is amended to read as follows:

     1.    An officer or agent of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or a county society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or a certified animal control officer, [may petition a court of competent jurisdiction] may petition the Superior Court or a municipal court, as appropriate, to have [any animal] confiscated [and forfeited] , pending the disposition of an alleged animal cruelty violation, any animal that is owned or possessed by a person charged with the animal cruelty violation, and have the animal forfeited at the time the person is found to be guilty of violating [R.S.4:22‑17,] R.S.4:22‑18, R.S.4:22‑19, [R.S.4:22‑20 or], or  R.S.4:22‑23 ,  or any provision of sections 4 through 7, or 9 through 11 of P.L.    , c.   (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), as applicable.  Upon a finding that the continued possession by that person poses a threat to the [animal's] welfare of the animal, the court may, in addition to any other penalty that may be imposed for a violation of [R.S.4:22‑17,] R.S.4:22‑18, R.S.4:22‑19, [R.S.4:22‑20] or R.S.4:22‑23 , or section  4, 5, 7, 9, 10, or 11 of P.L.    , c.   (C.    ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), adjudge an animal forfeited for such disposition as the court deems appropriate.

(cf: P.L.1995, c.255, s.1)

 

     24.  R.S.4:22‑28 is amended as follows:

     4:22-28.  The indictment or charge of a person under the provisions of this article or a violation of P.L.    , c.   (C.     ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), or the holding of a person to bail to await the action of a grand jury or court, shall not in any way relieve that person from liability to be sued for the appropriate penalties under R.S.4:22‑26.

(cf: P.L.2003, c.232, s.4)

 

     25.  R.S.4:22-44 is amended to read as follows:

     4:22-44.  Any humane law enforcement officer of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or of a county society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or any sheriff, undersheriff, constable, certified animal control officer who has been properly authorized pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1983, c.525 (C.4:19-15.16b), or police officer may:

     a.     Make arrests for violations of this article, or any provision of P.L.    , c.   (C.      ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), or any subsequently enacted law establishing an animal cruelty offense;

     b.    Arrest without warrant any person found violating the provisions of this article, any provision of P.L.    , c.   (C.      ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), or any subsequently enacted law establishing an animal cruelty offense in the presence of such humane law enforcement officer, sheriff, undersheriff, constable, police officer or a certified animal control officer who has been properly authorized pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1983, c.525 (C.4:19-15.16b), and take such person before the nearest judge [or magistrate] as provided in this article.

(cf: P.L.2005, c.372, s.17)

 

     26.  R.S.4:22-45 is amended as follows:

     4:22-45.  Where an arrest is made under the provisions of this article by a constable, sheriff, undersheriff or police officer in a [locality] municipality where the New Jersey [society, or a district (county)] Society for the Prevention of cruelty to Animals or a county society[,] for the prevention of cruelty to animals exists, [he] the person making the arrest shall give notice to the State or  [district (county)] county society at once, whereupon such State or [district (county)] county society shall take charge of the case and prosecute it under the provisions of this article , P.L.    , c.   (C.      ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), or any subsequently enacted law establishing an animal cruelty offense.  No [magistrate] judge shall hear any such case until proof is made of the service of such notice on the [State or district (county)] the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or the county society.

     The provisions of this section shall not apply to certified animal control officers who have been properly authorized pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1983, c.525 (C.4:19-15.16b) to make arrests.

(cf: P.L.1997, c.247, s.5)

 

     27.  R.S.4:22‑47 is amended to read as follows:

     4:22‑47. A sheriff, undersheriff, constable, police officer, certified animal control officer who has been properly authorized pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1983, c.525 (C.4:19‑15.16b), or humane law enforcement officer of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or of a county society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, may enter any building or place where there is an exhibition of [the] animal fighting or baiting of [a living] an animal [or creature], where preparations are being made for such an exhibition, or where [a] another violation [otherwise of R.S.4:22‑24] of section 8 of P.L.    , c.   (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) is occurring, arrest without warrant all persons there present, and take possession of all [living] animals [or creatures] engaged in fighting or [there] otherwise found on the premises, and all implements or appliances used or to be used in [such] the exhibition.

(cf:  P.L.2005, c.372, s.18)

 

     28.  R.S.4:22‑48 is amended to read as follows:

     4:22‑48.  The person seizing animals [, creatures], implements or appliances as authorized in [section] R.S.4:22‑47 [of this Title], shall have the seized animals properly and humanely impounded, the implements or appliances properly impounded, and, within 24 hours [thereafter] after the seizure , apply to [a court of competent jurisdiction] the Superior Court to have [the same] the animals, implements or appliances forfeited [and sold].

     If, upon [the] a hearing [of the application, it is found and adjudged that at the time of the seizure the animals, creatures, implements or appliances were engaged or used in violation of section 4:22‑47 or paragraphs "e," "f," "g," "u," "v," or "w" of section 4:22‑26 of this Title, or were owned, possessed or kept with the intent that they should be so engaged or used, they shall be adjudged forfeited, and] concerning the forfeiture application, the court determines that there is probable cause that the owner or the person in possession of an animal, implement, or appliance at the time of the seizure was in violation of section 8 of P.L.     , c.   (C.      ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) or R.S.4:22-26, the court shall [order the same sold in such manner as it shall deem proper, and after deducting the costs and expenses, shall dispose of the proceeds as provided in section 4:22‑55 of this Title.

     A bird or animal found or adjudged to be of no use or value may be liberated or disposed of as directed by the court.] determine the proper disposition of any animal, implement or appliance seized in connection with the suspected violation.

     The court shall order that any animal forfeited pursuant to this section be offered for adoption or, if no proper owner, kennel, shelter, pound, or other facility providing temporary care and housing for animals can be found for the animal, shall order the animal be properly euthanized. The court shall determine if the forfeited implements or appliances are chiefly or solely used for purposes that violate, or facilitate the violation of, section 8 of P.L.     , c.   (C.      ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) or R.S.4:22-26.  If such a determination is made, the court shall order the destruction of the implement or appliance involved.

     Any proceeds from the sale of an implement or appliance that is determined to not be chiefly or solely used for purposes that violate, or facilitate the violation of, section 8 of P.L.    , c.   (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) or R.S.4:22-26, shall be disposed of as provided in R.S.4:22‑55 and any other applicable section of chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes, after deducting any costs or expenses incurred by the forfeiture and impoundment that cannot be collected from the person found guilty of violating the law.

     The costs of sheltering, caring for, treating, and if necessary, [destroying] euthanizing an animal [or creature], including veterinary expenses therefor, until the animal [or creature] is adjudged forfeited, and [sold, liberated, or disposed of pursuant to this section] adopted or euthanized, shall be borne by the owner of the animal [or creature].

     [A creature] Any animal or property which is [adjudged] not forfeited shall be returned to the owner, and the person making the seizure shall pay all costs and expenses thereof.

(cf: P.L.1989, c.35, s.5)

 

     29.  Section 1 of P.L.1997, c.121 (C.4:22‑48.2) is amended to read as follows:

     1.    The costs of sheltering, caring for, or treating any animal that has been confiscated from a person arrested pursuant to the provisions of R.S.4:22‑47 by [an agent] a humane law enforcement officer of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or of a county society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or any other person authorized to make an arrest pursuant to article 2 of chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes, until the animal is adjudged forfeited or until the animal is returned to the owner, shall be borne by the owner of the animal.

(cf: P.L.1997, c.121, s.1)

 

     30.  R.S.4:22‑50 is amended to read as follows:

     4:22-50. When a person arrested [under the provisions of this article] for a violation of P.L.    , c.   (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) or any subsequently enacted law establishing an animal cruelty offense, is in charge of  an animal at the time of the arrest, with or without a vehicle attached, and there is no one then present, other than the person arrested, to take charge of  the animal or other property as owner or employee, the person making the arrest may take charge thereof or request a proper person to do so.

     The person making the arrest shall promptly notify the owner of the taking of the animal or other property, as applicable, and [its] the place of custody, [either] in person, by telephone, or by mailing a notice to [his] the last known [post‑office] address [, and a] of the owner.  The person in charge of the animal or other property at the time of the arrest, with permission of the owner, shall be deemed the agent of the owner to receive such notice.

(cf:  R.S.4:22-50)

 

     31.  Section 1 of P.L.1986, c.89 (C.4:22-50.1) is amended to read as follows:

     1.    When the owner or operator of an animal pound or shelter or other facility providing care and housing to animals is arrested pursuant to the provisions of article 2 of chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes, P.L.    , c.   (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) or any subsequently enacted law establishing an animal cruelty offense, by an agent of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or any other person authorized to make the arrest under [that] article 2 of chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes or P.L.    , c.   (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), or when the warrant is issued for the arrest, the person making the arrest or any other officer or agent of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or county society for the prevention of cruelty to animals may petition the [Chancery Division of] Superior Court to remove the owner or operator as custodian of the animals and appoint a receiver to operate the pound or shelter or other facility providing care and housing to animals .  The petitioner shall serve a copy of the petition on the Department of Health and Senior Services, the local board of health, and the owner or operator.

(cf: P.L.1986, c.89, s.1)

 

     32.  R.S.4:22-52 is amended to read as follows:

     4:22-52.  The person arresting the person offending against the provisions of [section] R.S.4:22-18 [of this title] shall take charge of the vehicle and its contents, have them properly impounded, have any animals in the vehicle properly and humanely impounded, and [all necessary expenses which may be incurred for taking charge of and keeping  and sustaining them shall be a lien thereon, to be paid before they can be  lawfully redeemed.

     If the vehicle and its contents are not redeemed within ten days from], within 24 hours after taking charge of the vehicle and its contents, shall apply to the Superior Court to have the vehicle and its contents forfeited and, except for any forfeited animals, advertised for sale.

     If, after a hearing concerning the application for forfeiture, the court determines that there is probable cause that the owner or person in possession of the vehicle and its contents at the time of the seizure was in violation of R.S.4:22-18 , the court shall direct the person making the seizure [shall cause them] to [be advertised] advertise for sale the vehicle and its contents, except for any animals in the vehicle,  by advertisements stating the time and place of the sale and the reason for the sale, published in a newspaper circulating in the neighborhood in which the seizure was made [for] at least three times in a daily paper or one time in a weekly paper [, stating the time and place of the sale and the reason for the sale].

     At the appointed time and place such person shall sell the vehicle and its contents , except for any animals in the vehicle at the time of the seizure, to the highest bidder and out of the proceeds thereof shall pay all necessary expenses incurred [,] for keeping and sustaining the vehicle and its contents, including the animals in the vehicle at the time of the seizure, and paying over the balance to the owner.

     If the proceeds of the sale are insufficient to pay [such] the expenses, the balance may be recovered by the person making the seizure from the owner in an action at law.

(cf: R.S.4:22-52)

 

     33.  R.S.4:22-53 is amended to read as follows:

     4:22-53.  An animal [or creature] abandoned in a maimed, sick, infirm or disabled condition, [if fit for further use,] may be [advertised and sold] offered for adoption or, if no proper owner, kennel, shelter, pound, or other facility providing temporary care and housing for animals can be found for the animal, may be properly euthanized  in the manner directed by a court of competent jurisdiction or [an agent] a humane law enforcement officer of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

     [The proceeds, after deducting expenses, shall be paid to the district (county) society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, if one is in existence in the county; if not, then to the New Jersey society.]

(cf: P.L.1953, c.5, s.84)

 

     34.  R.S.4:22-54 is amended to read as follows:

     4:22-54.  When an animal [or creature] is found on the highway or elsewhere, whether abandoned or not, in a maimed, sick, infirm or disabled condition, a court of competent jurisdiction or sheriff of the county, or [an agent] a humane law enforcement officer of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, may appoint a suitable person to examine and [destroy such] , if it is deemed necessary, properly euthanize the animal [or creature if unfit for further use] .

(cf: P.L.1953, c.5, s.85)

 

     35.  R.S.4:22-55 is amended to read as follows:

     4:22-55. a.  Except as provided pursuant to subsection b. of this section, all fines, penalties and moneys imposed and collected under the provisions of this article and the provisions of P.L.    , c.   (C.     ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) or any subsequently enacted law establishing an animal cruelty offense, shall be paid by the court or by the clerk or court officer receiving the fines, penalties or moneys, within thirty days and without demand, to (1) the county society for the prevention of cruelty to animals of the county where the fines, penalties or moneys were imposed and collected, if the county society brought the action or it was brought on behalf of the county society, to be used by the county society in aid of the benevolent objects for which it was incorporated, or (2) in all other cases, the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, to be used by the State society in aid of the benevolent objects for which it was incorporated.

     b.    If an enforcement action for a violation of this article, the provisions of P.L.    , c.   (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), or any subsequently enacted law establishing an animal cruelty offense is brought primarily as a result of the discovery [and] of the violation by a certified animal control officer or an animal cruelty investigator, or an investigation of the violation by [a certified] an animal [control officer] cruelty investigator, the fines, penalties or moneys collected shall be paid as follows:  one half to the municipality in which the violation occurred; and one half to the county society or to the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, as applicable to the particular enforcement action.

     c.     Any fines, penalties or moneys paid to a municipality or other entity pursuant to subsection b. of this section shall be allocated by the municipality or other entity to defray the cost of:

     (1)   enforcement of animal control, animal welfare and animal cruelty laws and ordinances within the municipality; and

     (2)   the training therefor required of [certified] animal [control officers] cruelty investigators pursuant to law or other animal enforcement related training authorized by law for municipal employees.

(cf: P.L.2005, c.372, s.19)

 

     36.  Section 3 of P.L.2003, c.67 (C.4:22-57) is amended to read as follows:

     3.    a.  For the purposes of establishing the list of persons not eligible to be certified animal control officers as required pursuant to subsections b. and c. of section 3 of P.L.1983, c.525 (C.4:19-15.16a), notice shall be provided, within 90 days after the effective date of this section, to the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services of any person who has been convicted of, or found civilly liable for, a violation of any provision of P.L.    , c.   (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes, or any subsequently enacted law establishing an animal cruelty offense, by any court or other official administrative entity maintaining records of such violations adjudged on or before the effective date of this section.

     b.    For the purposes of maintaining the list of persons not eligible to be certified animal control officers as established pursuant to subsections b. and c. of section 3 of P.L.1983, c.525 (C.4:19-15.16a), the court [or other official] adjudging the guilt or liability for a violation of P.L.    , c.   (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes, or any subsequently enacted law establishing an animal cruelty offense, shall charge the prosecutor, officer of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or the county society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or other appropriate person, other than a certified animal control officer or animal cruelty investigator, with the responsibility to notify within 30 days the commissioner, in writing, of the full name of the person found guilty of, or liable for, an applicable violation, and the violation for which or of which that person was found guilty or liable, and the person charged with the responsibility shall provide such notice.

(cf: P.L.2005, c.372, s.21)

 

     37.  R.S.4:23-1 is amended to read as follows:

     4:23-1.  All penalties incurred for the violation of any provisions of this title shall be collected as provided by this article, [except as to sections 4:21A-1 to 4:21A-4 and] except as to those penalties specifically recoverable under article 2 of this chapter [(s. 4:23-11 et seq.)] (R.S.4:23-11, et seq.) and except as provided by [sections] R.S.4:22-29 [to through 4:22-42 of this title], R.S.4:22-32, R.S.4:22-33, and those sections of law in which an action at law is specifically authorized.

(cf: R.S.4:23-1)

 

     38.  R.S.39:4-23 is amended to read as follows: 

     39:4-23.  No person shall either ill-treat, overdrive, override or unnecessarily or cruelly beat a horse.  A person who violates this section shall be guilty of a disorderly persons offense, except that a person who unnecessarily or cruelly beats a horse shall be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree, and shall be subject to the provisions of  [R.S.4:22-17,] P.L.   , c.     (C.   ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), R.S.4:22-21, and R.S.4:22-26, as appropriate.

(cf: P.L.2001, c.229, s.5)

 

     39.  The following sections of law are hereby repealed: R.S.4:22-15, R.S.4:22-16, R.S.4:22-17, R.S.4:22-20, and R.S.4:22-24.

 

     40.  This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill, entitled as the “Animal Cruelty Recodification and Modernization Act,” recodifies under the State Criminal Code in Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes the provisions of current law that address criminal animal cruelty offenses involving abuse, abandonment, neglect, and overwork of animals, and animal fighting offenses.

     Under current law, criminal animal abuse, abandonment, neglect, and animal fighting offenses are set forth with other criminal animal cruelty offenses in Title 4 of the Revised Statutes, the title in State law that addresses agriculture and domestic animals.  There is a perception that animal cruelty laws are often overlooked or under-emphasized in the operation of the criminal justice system, and this perception is reinforced by the current codification of these offenses.

     This bill repeals current law addressing criminal offenses involving abuse, abandonment, neglect, and overwork of animals, and animal fighting offenses, and codifies new sections of law in Title 2C that establish the criminal offenses of animal abuse, aggravated animal abuse, animal abandonment, animal neglect, overwork of an animal, animal fighting, animal abuse in the presence of a child, and pattern of abuse or neglect.

     The bill provides that overwork of an animal and animal abuse are each disorderly persons offenses, as current law provides, but if the person found guilty of animal abuse has previously committed one of the other types of offenses named in the bill, then the animal abuse would constitute a crime of the fourth degree.  The bill provides that aggravated animal abuse, as established under the bill, would be a crime of the third degree, except when an animal is killed by virtue of the order of a constituted authority of the State, recklessly and needlessly, in a manner manifesting extreme indifference to the value of life that involved torture or depravity of mind.  In that latter case, aggravated animal abuse would be a crime of the second degree.

     The bill further establishes animal abandonment as a disorderly persons offense, as some animal abandonment is under current law, except if the animal is seriously injured or dies because of the abandonment, in which case, the animal abandonment would be a crime of the fourth degree.  The bill establishes animal neglect as a disorderly persons offense, as it is under current law, except when the animal is physically injured by the neglect, in which case the bill provides that the neglect would be a crime of the fourth degree.  If the animal is seriously injured or dies, the bill provides that the neglect would be a crime of the third degree.

     Under the bill, animal fighting is established as a crime of the third degree, except if a person: 1) has previously been found guilty of certain offenses named in the bill; 2) keeps, uses, is connected with or interested in the management of, or receives money for the admission of a person to, a place kept or used for the purpose of fighting or baiting an animal; 3) owns, possesses, keeps, trains, promotes, purchases, or knowingly breeds or sells an animal for the purpose of fighting or baiting that animal; or 4) for amusement or gain, causes, allows, or permits the fighting or baiting
of an animal.  Under those circumstances, animal fighting is a crime of the second degree.

     The bill also establishes certain requirements for counseling, community service, reimbursement of expenses for caring for an animal, prohibitions or restrictions on owning animals, and certain additional fines for certain offenses established under the bill.  The bill establishes a duty to report animal abuse and cruelty and certain reporting requirements and fines for violation of certain of these requirements.

     Finally, the bill establishes exceptions to these criminal animal cruelty offenses as specified in the bill.  These exceptions include: 1) certain scientific experiments; 2) the killing or disposing of an animal by order of a constituted authority of the State, except if done needlessly; 3) the lawful shooting or taking of game or game fish; 4) reasonable and recognized animal training or handling techniques; 5) raising, keeping, care, treatment, marketing, and sale of domestic livestock in accordance with Department of Agriculture standards; 6) killing or disposing of certain rats and mice by a reasonable or commercially acceptable method or means; and 7) veterinary care by or under the immediate supervision of a licensed veterinarian.