ASSEMBLY, No. 3555

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED DECEMBER 6, 2010

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  NELSON T. ALBANO

District 1 (Cape May, Atlantic and Cumberland)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Establishes criminal offense of animal cruelty in the presence of a child.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act establishing the crime of animal cruelty in the presence of a child, 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.  A person is guilty of animal cruelty in the presence of a child if the person, in the presence of another person who is under the age of 18, abuses an animal in violation of chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes, abandons an animal in violation of R.S.4:22-20, or engages in animal fighting or other actions related to animal fighting in violation of R.S.4:22-24, with the purpose and knowledge that the person under the age of 18 witness or observe the act.

     Animal cruelty in the presence of a child is a crime of the fourth degree if the underlying animal cruelty offense is a disorderly persons offense.  Otherwise, the offense established pursuant to this subsection shall be classified one degree higher than the underlying animal cruelty offense.

     b.    It shall be no defense to a prosecution under this section that the actor mistakenly believed that the person in whose presence the offense was committed was 18 years of age or older, even if such mistaken belief was reasonable.

     c.     Nothing contained in this section shall prohibit the court from imposing an extended term of imprisonment pursuant to N.J.S.2C:43-7.

     d.    Nothing contained in this section shall be deemed to preclude, if the evidence so warrants, an indictment and conviction for a violation of any of the provisions under this chapter or any other law.

     e.     For the purposes of subsection a. of this section, “abuses an animal” means to:

     (1)   overdrive, overload, drive when overloaded, overwork, abuse, or needlessly kill a living animal or creature, pursuant to subsection a. of R.S.4:22-17;

     (2)   cause or procure, by any direct or indirect means, including but not limited to through the use of another living animal or creature, any such acts to be done, pursuant to subsection a. of R.S.4:22-17;

     (3)   inflict unnecessary cruelty upon a living animal or creature, by any direct or indirect means, including but not limited to through the use of another living animal or creature, pursuant to subsection a. of R.S.4:22-17; or

     (4)   commit any violation of subsection b. of R.S.4:22-17.    Unless the court determines that any of the following actions constitute a violation of subsection b. of R.S.4:22-17, “abuses an animal” shall not include to deprive of necessary sustenance; to unnecessarily fail to provide a living animal or creature of which the person has charge either as an owner or otherwise with proper food, drink, shelter or protection from the weather; or to leave it unattended in a vehicle under inhumane conditions adverse to the health or welfare of the living animal or creature.

     The provisions of this subsection shall apply only to subsection a. of this section and may not be construed to affect the application of R.S.4:22-17 to any other animal cruelty offense.

 

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would establish the crime of animal cruelty in the presence of a child.

     A person would be guilty of animal cruelty in the presence of a child if the person abuses an animal, abandons an animal, or engages in animal fighting, in violation of certain provisions of chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes, with the purpose and knowledge that the person under the age of 18 witness or observe the act of animal cruelty.  The bill also defines the term “abuses an animal” for the purposes of this bill only.

     Animal cruelty in the presence of a child is a crime of the fourth degree if the underlying animal cruelty offense is a disorderly persons offense.  Otherwise, the offense will be classified one degree higher than the underlying animal cruelty offense.