Assemblyman NELSON T. ALBANO
District 1 (Cape May, Atlantic and Cumberland)
Clarifies that animal cruelty investigations may be conducted by county sheriff's office; appropriates $100,000.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning animal cruelty investigations, amending P.L.1983, c.525 and making an appropriation.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. 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 paragraph (1) of this section, in any county where the sheriff has designated a law enforcement officer to enforce animal welfare laws pursuant to subsection c. of this section, the governing body of any municipality in that county may designate that sheriff's officer to fulfill the provisions of paragraph (1) within its borders.
(3) Notwithstanding the limitations imposed by paragraphs (1) and (2) of this section, any municipality in a county where the sheriff has designated a law enforcement officer to enforce animal welfare laws pursuant to subsection c. of this section, the municipality may, by joint agreement with the sheriff's office, determine to share responsibility for enforcing animal cruelty laws within the municipalities' 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 law enforcement 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 county and municipalities.
(cf: P.L.2003, c.67, s.2)
2. There is appropriated $100,000 from the General Fund to each county in the State where the sheriff's office has a designated animal control officer. This money shall be used only for the purpose of effectuating the provisions of this act.
3. This act shall take effect on the first day of the sixth month after enactment.
This bill would clarify that the sheriff's office in each county may choose to appoint a law enforcement officer to investigate animal cruelty complaints. 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 are free to select animal control officers from the sheriff's office, provided the county sheriff's office has designated a law enforcement officer to enforce animal welfare laws. Having law enforcement investigate cruelty issues has been successful in other states. Under the provisions of this bill, all animal control officers working within the same jurisdiction are required to coordinate services.
Under the provisions of this bill, $100,000 is appropriated to each county's sheriff department where its use would be restricted to improving the animal welfare system.