SENATE, No. 1193

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 4, 2010

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  JEFF VAN DREW

District 1 (Cape May, Atlantic and Cumberland)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Revises animal cruelty offenses concerning abuse, abandonment, neglect, and improper euthanizing of animals; increases criminal and civil penalties therefor; establishes such penalties for new offenses; repeals conflicting sections of law.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


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

 

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

 

     1.    R.S.4:22-15 is amended to read as follows:

     As used in this article:

     "Animal" [or “creature” includes] means any member of the whole brute creation [.

     "Owner" or "person" includes a corporation, and the knowledge and acts of an agent or employee of a corporation in regard to animals transported, owned, employed or in the custody of the corporation shall be imputed to the corporation.] The term “animal” shall not include human beings.

     “Animal cruelty investigator” means a person 18 years of age or older who is a certified animal control officer who has satisfactorily completed a course of study on animal cruelty investigation approved by the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services and the Police Training Commission, in consultation with the New Jersey Animal Control Officers Association, and  properly authorized by the governing body of a municipality to be an animal cruelty investigator.

     "Bait" means to provoke or harass an animal with the purpose of causing the animal to attack something, a person, or another animal, or to do so with the purpose of training an animal for, or to cause an animal to engage in, a fight with or among other animals.

     "Bodily injury" means physical pain, illness or any impairment of physical condition.

     “Caretaker” means a person who is in possession of an animal and a person upon whom the care, health, safety and welfare of the animal are primarily dependent.

     “Domestic livestock” means “domestic livestock” as defined pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1995, c.311 (C.4:22-16.1).

     “Domesticated animal” means a domestic companion animal as defined pursuant to subsection u. of N.J.S.2C:20-1 or any animal of a species commonly kept as a domestic companion animal.  “Domesticated animal” shall not include domestic livestock.

     “Euthanasia” means the act of inducing painless death.

     “Euthanize” means the application of euthanasia to an animal.

     “Humane law enforcement officer” means a humane law enforcement officer as defined pursuant to section 1 of P.L.2005, c.372 (C.4:22-11.1).

     “Intimate parts” means the following body parts: sexual organs, genital area, anal area, inner thigh, groin, buttock, or breast.

     "Minimum care" means care sufficient to preserve the health and well-being of an animal and, except for emergencies or circumstances beyond the reasonable control of the person responsible for the care of the animal, providing the following: (1) food of sufficient quantity and quality to allow for normal growth or maintenance of body weight; (2) open or adequate access to drinkable water of an appropriate temperature in sufficient quantity to satisfy the needs of the animal; (3) access to an enclosed non-hazardous structure sufficient to protect the animal from the weather that has adequate bedding to protect against cold and dampness; (4) adequate protection from extreme or excessive sunlight and from overexposure to the sun, heat and other weather conditions; (5) veterinary care deemed necessary by a reasonably prudent person to prevent or relieve injury, neglect or disease, or distress from these conditions; and (6) reasonable access to a clean and adequate exercise area.

     “Overwork” means knowingly overdrive, overload, drive when overloaded, or otherwise subject an animal to work beyond its ability to work without bodily injury, or causing or procuring such acts to be done.

     "Owner of an animal" or “owner of the animal” means a person who is the caretaker of an animal in question and has the legal right of possession of the animal and any legal title to its ownership.

     “Person” means “person” as defined under subsection g. of N.J.S.2C:1-14.

     "Possession" means having physical custody of, having legal custody over, being in charge of, or having physical control over an animal, whether temporarily or as an owner of the animal, or a building, premises, or other real property.

     "Serious bodily injury" means bodily 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.

     “Sexual contact” means an intentional touching by a person of the intimate parts of an animal or an intentional act by the person that causes an animal to touch the person’s intimate parts, for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of the person or to in any way harm the animal or any person.

     “Sexual penetration” means vaginal intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, anal intercourse, or the insertion of any appendage or object into the anus or vagina, for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of the person or to in any way harm the animal.

     "Significant bodily injury" means bodily injury which creates a temporary loss of the function of any bodily member or organ or temporary loss of any one of the five senses.

     "Torment" means to excessively harass or annoy by means of a type of action or treatment, the repetitiveness of the action or treatment, or its duration, or to cause unnecessary or extreme physical discomfort or annoyance.

     "Torture" means to inflict, subject to, or prolong exposure to, severe or extreme pain or bodily injury, unnecessarily and for the purpose of inflicting, or prolonging exposure to, severe or extreme pain.

 

     2.    (New section) a.  A person is guilty of animal abuse if the person attempts to cause or causes unnecessary bodily injury to an animal through any means, overworks an animal, or subjects an animal to unnecessary violence, except as provided for pursuant to R.S.4:22-18.  Animal abuse is a disorderly persons offense.

     b.    For purposes of subsection a. of this section, it shall be a violation to use a living bird or other living animal for the purpose of a target or shooting at such an animal for amusement or test of skill in marksmanship, or to shoot at such an animal or be a party to such uses and shooting, or to lease, provide or otherwise permit to be used a building, room, field or other premises of which the person is the owner or is in possession for the purpose of such uses or shooting.

     c.     Each animal involved in a violation of subsection a. shall constitute a separate offense.

 

     3.    (New section) a.  A person is guilty of aggravated animal abuse if the person:

     (1)   purposely causes unnecessary bodily injury to an animal;

     (2)   knowingly poisons an animal causing serious or significant bodily injury or death of the animal;

     (3)   attempts to cause unnecessary serious bodily injury or significant bodily injury or death to an animal;

     (4)   recklessly, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of life, torments, tortures, or otherwise causes unnecessary serious bodily injury or significant bodily injury to an animal, or recklessly causes such torment, torture, or injury to be done;

     (5)   knowingly torments, tortures, or otherwise causes unnecessary serious bodily injury or significant bodily injury to an animal, or knowingly causes such torment, torture or injury to be done;

     (6)   purposely or knowingly commits an act of sexual penetration or sexual contact with any animal, whether living or dead;

     (7)   implants or places in or on an animal, by surgery, ingestion, or other means, a controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog as defined in Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes, or otherwise uses the animal, to facilitate the commission of, or an attempt to commit, or flight after committing or attempting to commit any crime or offense enumerated in chapters 35 or 36 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes, or who causes or procures such acts to be done; or

     (8)   purposely, knowingly, or recklessly torments, tortures, or otherwise causes unnecessary serious bodily injury or significant bodily injury to an animal, and kills or causes the death of the animal.

     Aggravated animal abuse under paragraph (1), (2), (3) or (4) of this subsection is a crime of the fourth degree.  Aggravated animal abuse under paragraph (5), (6) or (7) of this subsection is a crime of the third degree.  Aggravated animal abuse under paragraph (8) of this subsection is a crime of the second degree.

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

 

     4.    (New section) a. A person is guilty of animal abandonment if the person, with the purpose of relinquishing possession of the animal and without making provisions for the minimum care of the animal, knowingly leaves, or causes to be left, a domesticated  animal or domestic livestock:

     (1)   in a public place where the animal may die and the animal is maimed, sick, infirm or disabled; or

     (2)   in a place beyond the control, custody or possession of the owner or the person relinquishing possession of the animal.

     Animal abandonment is a crime of the fourth degree.

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

     c.     In addition to the penalties and remedies prescribed for violations of this section pursuant to Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes, a person found guilty of violating subsection a. or b. of this section shall be subject to an additional fine of $1,000 for each animal abandoned that is:

     (1)   maimed, sick, infirm or disabled; or

     (2)   left within 200 feet of a roadway.

 

     5.    (New section) a.  (1) A person is guilty of animal neglect if the person purposely, knowingly or recklessly fails to provide minimum care to an animal for which the person is the owner or caretaker, or cruelly restrains a dog.

     (2)   A person is guilty of aggravated animal neglect if the person purposely, knowingly or recklessly fails to provide minimum care to an animal for which the person is the owner or caretaker, and the animal dies as a result of the failure to provide minimum care.

     (3)   A person is guilty of extreme animal neglect if the person purposely, knowingly, or recklessly fails to provide minimum care to an animal for which the person is the owner or caretaker, for a period of time and to a degree that results in a significant negative impact on the health and well-being of the animal, as evidenced by severe undernourishment, emaciation, or other manifest severe deterioration in the physical condition of the animal, regardless of whether the animal dies as a result of the failure to provide minimum care.

     Animal neglect shall be a disorderly persons offense; aggravated animal neglect shall be a crime of the fourth degree; and extreme animal neglect shall be a crime of the third degree.

     b.    For the purposes of subsection a. of this section, the owner or operator of a kennel, pet shop, shelter, or pound defined and licensed pursuant to P.L.1941, c.151 (C.4:19-15.1 et seq.) and any employee or member of the staff of such a kennel, pet shop, shelter or pound shall be deemed an owner or a caretaker of the animal.  Failure of such an owner or caretaker at a shelter or a pound to provide minimum care concerning veterinary care or reasonable access to a clean and adequate exercise area shall not constitute a violation pursuant to subsection a. of this section if the owner or caretaker:

     (1)   has provided all other aspects of minimum care as defined pursuant to section 1 of P.L.    , c.   (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill); and

     (2)   has complied with the rules and regulations adopted pursuant to subsection b. of section 14 of P.L.1941, c.151 (C.4:19-15.14) with respect to the provision of veterinary care and exercise.

     c.     For the purposes of subsection a. of this section, a person cruelly restrains a dog if the person:

     (1)   chains, ties, fastens or otherwise tethers a dog to a dog house, tree, stake, pole, fence, wall or other stationary object outdoors or indoors for more than 10 hours in a 24-hour period;

     (2)   regardless of how long a period of time, chains, ties, fastens or otherwise tethers a dog with any collar or similar device other than a properly fitted harness or buckle-type collar for the dog, with a chain or other tether less than 15 feet; or

     (3)   regardless of how long a period of time, uses a choke or prong collar on the dog when chaining, tying, fastening, or otherwise tethering the dog.

     d.    It is an affirmative defense to prosecution for animal neglect for cruelly restraining a dog that the actor:

     (1)   had a reasonable basis for the restraining of the dog;

     (2)   restrained the dog with a properly fitted harness or buckle-type collar, and with a chain or other tether of 15 feet or more;

     (3)   did not use a choke or prong collar to restrain the dog; and

     (4)   provided, or caused to be provided, minimum care to the dog during the time the dog was restrained.

 

     6.    (New section) a.  A person is guilty of improper euthanizing of an animal if the person kills or causes the death of an animal by hypoxia, while acting on the individual's behalf or as an employee or member of the staff of a kennel, shelter, pound, or other organization or entity providing for the shelter and care of animals, induced by:

     (1)   decompression;

     (2)   the administration of a lethal gas other than an inhalant anesthetic;

     (3)   the use of succinylcholine chloride, curare, curariform drugs, or other substance which acts as a neuromuscular blocking agent; or 

   (4)   means other than those used for the proper euthanizing of the animal.

     Improper euthanizing of an animal is a disorderly persons offense.

     b.    A person is guilty of aggravated improper euthanizing of an animal if the person purposely violates subsection a. of this section.

     Aggravated improper euthanizing of an animal is a crime of the fourth degree.

     c.     Each animal killed in violation of this section shall constitute a separate offense.

 

     7.    (New section) Any person who has been found guilty of a criminal offense violating the provisions of chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes is subject to a maximum fine as provided under N.J.S.2C:43-3, and shall be subject to a minimum fine of not less than:

a.     $10,000 when the offense is a crime of the first degree;

b.    $5,000 when the offense is a crime of the second degree;

c.     $3,000 when the offense is a crime of the third degree;

d.    $1,000 when the offense is a crime of the fourth degree; or

e.     $500 when the offense is a disorderly persons offense.

      

     8.    (New section) a.  In addition to imposing any other appropriate penalties established for an offense pursuant to Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes or chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes, the court:

     (1)   may impose on a person convicted of a criminal offense in violation of chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes who is sentenced to a term of imprisonment, an additional term of community service of up to 30 days;

     (2)   shall impose a term of community service of not less than 30 days for any person convicted of a criminal offense in violation of chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes who is not sentenced to a term of imprisonment;

     (3)   may direct that the term of community service imposed pursuant to paragraph (1) or (2) of this subsection be served by providing assistance to the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a county society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or any other 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 the case may be, consents to the placement of the violator and conditions for the placement are established to ensure that the service is appropriately supervised and that no animals are placed at risk by the violator's service; and

     (4)   may require the violator to pay restitution or otherwise reimburse any costs for food, drink, shelter, or veterinary care or treatment, or other costs, incurred by the owner of the animal, if the owner is not the person committing the act of cruelty, to any individual, agency, entity, or organization bearing such costs or investigating the violation, including, but not limited to, the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a county society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, any other recognized organization concerned with the prevention of cruelty to animals or the humane treatment and care of animals, a local or State governmental entity, or a kennel, shelter, pound, or the facility providing for the shelter and care of the animal or animals involved in the violation.

     b.    The court also:

     (1)   shall order a person guilty of a violation of chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes that constitutes a crime of the third, second, or first degree to receive mental health counseling by a licensed psychiatrist, psychologist or therapist for a period of time prescribed by the licensed psychologist or therapist, the cost of which shall be paid by the person guilty of the offense;

     (2)   shall order a juvenile adjudicated delinquent for an act which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a violation of chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes and a crime of the fourth, third, second, or first degree to receive mental health counseling by a licensed psychiatrist, psychologist or therapist for a period of time prescribed by the licensed psychologist or therapist, the cost of which shall be paid by the parents or other legal guardian of the juvenile; and

     (3)   may order a person found guilty of any other violation of chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes, or a juvenile adjudicated delinquent for such an act, to receive mental health counseling by a licensed psychologist or therapist for a period of time prescribed by the licensed psychologist or therapist, the cost of which shall be paid by the person found guilty or the legal guardians of the juvenile, as applicable.

     c.     In addition to any other penalty or penalties imposed, the court may order a person found guilty of a violation of chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes to forfeit the possession of any animal involved in the commission of the offense, and may order custody and care of the animal assigned to an appropriate person, organization, or entity.  When the court orders a defendant to forfeit possession of an animal, 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. The court may also order forfeiture of other animals owned by, or in the possession of, the defendant, and that all rights to possess any such animal be given over to an appropriate person, organization, or entity.

     Except in cases of extreme financial hardship, the court shall require a person subject to forfeiture of an animal pursuant to this subsection or other provisions of chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes to post a bond or make other appropriate financial arrangements to pay for the cost of caring for the animal while it is held at a kennel, shelter, pound, or other facility for the temporary care and housing of animals, including the cost of any veterinary care addressing any bodily injury caused by the violation of chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes that resulted in the forfeiture of the animal.

     d.    The court may order restrictions on the ownership of an animal by a person found guilty of any violation of chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes, including, but not limited to, imposing a prohibition from ownership or care of an animal for a period of time or permanent prohibition from owning or caring for any animal for the natural life of the person.

 

     9.    (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.4:22-17; R.S.4:22-19; section 2 of P.L.1988, c.160 (C.4:22-19.4); R.S.4:22-20; or R.S.4:22-23 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.

 

     10.  N.J.S.2C:44-1 is amended to read as follows:

     2C:44-1. a. In determining the appropriate sentence to be imposed on a person who has been convicted of an offense, the court shall consider the following aggravating circumstances:

     (1)   The nature and circumstances of the offense, and the role of the actor therein, including whether or not it was committed in an especially heinous, cruel, or depraved manner;

     (2)   The gravity and seriousness of harm inflicted on the victim, including whether or not the defendant knew or reasonably should have known that the victim of the offense was particularly vulnerable or incapable of resistance due to advanced age, ill-health, or extreme youth, or was for any other reason substantially incapable of exercising normal physical or mental power of resistance;

     (3)   The risk that the defendant will commit another offense;

     (4)   A lesser sentence will depreciate the seriousness of the defendant's offense because it involved a breach of the public trust under chapters 27 and 30, or the defendant took advantage of a position of trust or confidence to commit the offense;

     (5)   There is a substantial likelihood that the defendant is involved in organized criminal activity;

     (6)   The extent of the defendant's prior criminal record and the seriousness of the offenses of which he has been convicted;

     (7)   The defendant committed the offense pursuant to an agreement that he either pay or be paid for the commission of the offense and the pecuniary incentive was beyond that inherent in the offense itself;

     (8)   The defendant committed the offense against a police or other law enforcement officer, correctional employee or fireman, acting in the performance of his duties while in uniform or exhibiting evidence of his authority; the defendant committed the offense because of the status of the victim as a public servant; or the defendant committed the offense against a sports official, athletic coach or manager, acting in or immediately following the performance of his duties or because of the person's status as a sports official, coach or manager;

     (9)   The need for deterring the defendant and others from violating the law;

     (10) The offense involved fraudulent or deceptive practices committed against any department or division of State government;

     (11) The imposition of a fine, penalty or order of restitution without also imposing a term of imprisonment would be perceived by the defendant or others merely as part of the cost of doing business, or as an acceptable contingent business or operating expense associated with the initial decision to resort to unlawful practices;

     (12) The defendant committed the offense against a person who he knew or should have known was 60 years of age or older, or disabled; and

     (13) The defendant, while in the course of committing or attempting to commit the crime, including the immediate flight therefrom, used or was in possession of a stolen motor vehicle.

     b.    In determining the appropriate sentence to be imposed on a person who has been convicted of an offense, the court may properly consider the following mitigating circumstances:

     (1)   The defendant's conduct neither caused nor threatened serious harm;

     (2)   The defendant did not contemplate that his conduct would cause or threaten serious harm;

     (3)   The defendant acted under a strong provocation;

     (4)   There were substantial grounds tending to excuse or justify the defendant's conduct, though failing to establish a defense;

     (5)   The victim of the defendant's conduct induced or facilitated its commission;

     (6)   The defendant has compensated or will compensate the victim of his conduct for the damage or injury that he sustained, or will participate in a program of community service;

     (7)   The defendant has no history of prior delinquency or criminal activity or has led a law-abiding life for a substantial period of time before the commission of the present offense;

     (8)   The defendant's conduct was the result of circumstances unlikely to recur;

     (9)   The character and attitude of the defendant indicate that he is unlikely to commit another offense;

     (10) The defendant is particularly likely to respond affirmatively to probationary treatment;

     (11) The imprisonment of the defendant would entail excessive hardship to himself or his dependents;

     (12) The willingness of the defendant to cooperate with law enforcement authorities;

     (13) The conduct of a youthful defendant was substantially influenced by another person more mature than the defendant.

     c.     (1) A plea of guilty by a defendant or failure to so plead shall not be considered in withholding or imposing a sentence of imprisonment.

     (2)   When imposing a sentence of imprisonment the court shall consider the defendant's eligibility for release under the law governing parole, including time credits awarded pursuant to Title 30 of the Revised Statutes, in determining the appropriate term of imprisonment.

     d.    Presumption of imprisonment.  The court shall deal with a person who has been convicted of a crime of the first or second degree, or a crime of the third degree where the court finds that the aggravating factor in paragraph (5) of subsection a. applies, by imposing a sentence of imprisonment unless, having regard to the character and condition of the defendant, it is of the opinion that his imprisonment would be a serious injustice which overrides the need to deter such conduct by others. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection e. of this section, the court shall deal with a person who has been convicted of theft of a motor vehicle or of the unlawful taking of a motor vehicle and who has previously been convicted of either offense by imposing a sentence of imprisonment unless, having regard to the character and condition of the defendant, it is of the opinion that his imprisonment would be a serious injustice which overrides the need to deter such conduct by others.

     e.     The court shall deal with a person convicted of an offense other than a crime of the first or second degree, who has not previously been convicted of an offense, without imposing a sentence of imprisonment unless, having regard to the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history, character and condition of the defendant, it is of the opinion that his imprisonment is necessary for the protection of the public under the criteria set forth in subsection a., except that this subsection shall not apply if the court finds that the aggravating factor in paragraph (5) of subsection a. applies  if the person is convicted of any of the following crimes of the third degree: theft of a motor vehicle; unlawful taking of a motor vehicle; eluding; if the person is convicted of a crime of the third degree constituting use of a false government document in violation of subsection c. of section 1 of P.L.1983, c.565 (C.2C:21-2.1); if the person is convicted of a crime of the third degree constituting distribution, manufacture or possession of an item containing personal identifying information in violation of subsection b. of section 6 of P.L.2003, c.184 (C.2C:21-17.3); if the person is convicted of a crime of the third or fourth degree constituting bias intimidation in violation of N.J.S.2C:16-1; or if the person is convicted of a crime of the third degree under section 2 of P.L.1997, c.111 (C.2C:12-1.1); or if the person is convicted of a crime of the third or fourth degree under the provisions of section 1 or 2 of P.L.2007, c.341 (C.2C:33-29 or C.2C:33-30); or if the person is convicted of aggravated animal abuse that constitutes a violation of paragraph (4), (5), (6), or (7) of subsection a. of section 3 of P.L.    , c.   (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

     f.     Presumptive Sentences. (1) Except for the crime of murder, unless the preponderance of aggravating or mitigating factors, as set forth in subsections a. and b., weighs in favor of a higher or lower term within the limits provided in N.J.S.2C:43-6, when a court determines that a sentence of imprisonment is warranted, it shall impose sentence as follows:

     (a)   To a term of 20 years for aggravated manslaughter or kidnapping pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:13-1 when the offense constitutes a crime of the first degree;

     (b)   Except as provided in paragraph (a) of this subsection to a term of 15 years for a crime of the first degree;

     (c)   To a term of seven years for a crime of the second degree;

     (d)   To a term of four years for a crime of the third degree; and

     (e)   To a term of nine months for a crime of the fourth degree.

     In imposing a minimum term pursuant to 2C:43-6b., the sentencing court shall specifically place on the record the aggravating factors set forth in this section which justify the imposition of a minimum term.

     Unless the preponderance of mitigating factors set forth in subsection b. weighs in favor of a lower term within the limits authorized, sentences imposed pursuant to 2C:43-7a.(1) shall have a presumptive term of life imprisonment.  Unless the preponderance of aggravating and mitigating factors set forth in subsections a. and b. weighs in favor of a higher or lower term within the limits authorized, sentences imposed pursuant to 2C:43-7a.(2) shall have a presumptive term of 50 years' imprisonment; sentences imposed pursuant to 2C:43-7a.(3) shall have a presumptive term of 15 years' imprisonment; and sentences imposed pursuant to 2C:43-7a.(4) shall have a presumptive term of seven years' imprisonment.

     In imposing a minimum term pursuant to 2C:43-7b., the sentencing court shall specifically place on the record the aggravating factors set forth in this section which justify the imposition of a minimum term.

     (2)   In cases of convictions for crimes of the first or second degree where the court is clearly convinced that the mitigating factors substantially outweigh the aggravating factors and where the interest of justice demands, the court may sentence the defendant to a term appropriate to a crime of one degree lower than that of the crime for which he was convicted.  If the court does impose sentence pursuant to this paragraph, or if the court imposes a noncustodial or probationary sentence upon conviction for a crime of the first or second degree, such sentence shall not become final for 10 days in order to permit the appeal of such sentence by the prosecution.

     g.     Imposition of Noncustodial Sentences in Certain Cases.  If the court, in considering the aggravating factors set forth in subsection a., finds the aggravating factor in paragraph a.(2), a.(5), or a.(12) and does not impose a custodial sentence, the court shall specifically place on the record the mitigating factors which justify the imposition of a noncustodial sentence.

     h.     Except as provided in section 2 of P.L.1993, c.123 (C.2C:43-11), the presumption of imprisonment as provided in subsection d. of this section shall not preclude the admission of a person to the Intensive Supervision Program, established pursuant to the Rules Governing the Courts of the State of New Jersey.

(cf: P.L.2007, c.341, s.7)

 

     11.  R.S.4:22-16 is amended to read as follows:

     4:22-16.  Nothing contained in [this act] chapter 22  of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes or P.L.    , c.   (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) 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 any public or private schools, 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] human beings and animals; and may for cause revoke such authority.

     b.    The killing or disposing of an animal by virtue of the order of a constituted authority of the State or the federal government.

     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 training or engaging of a dog to accomplish a task or participate in an activity or exhibition designed to develop the physical or mental characteristics of that dog.  These activities shall be carried out in accordance with the practices, guidelines or rules established by an organization founded for the purpose of promoting and enhancing working dog activities or exhibitions; in a manner which does not adversely affect the health or safety of the dog; and may include avalanche warning, guide work, obedience work, carting, dispatching, freight racing, packing, sled dog racing, sledding, tracking, and weight pull demonstrations.

     e.     The raising, keeping, care, treatment, marketing, and sale of domestic livestock in accordance with the standards developed and adopted therefor 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.

     g.     The properly conducted practice of veterinary medicine by a licensed veterinarian.

(cf: P.L.1997, c.88, s.1)

 

     12.  The title to part B of article 2 of chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes is amended to read as follows:

     B.    [MISDEMEANORS AND FINES] CRIMINAL OFFENSES AND PENALTIES; PROHIBITED METHODS FOR DESTRUCTION OF ANIMALS.

(cf: Title, part B, article 2, chapter 22, Title 4 of the Revised Statutes)

 

     13.  Section 1 of P.L.1988, c.160 (C.4:22-19.3) is amended to read as follows:

     1.    Whenever any dog, cat, or any other [domestic] domesticated animal is to be destroyed, the use of succinylcholine chloride, curare, curariform drugs, or any other substance which acts as a neuromuscular blocking agent is prohibited.  A person who violates this section shall be guilty of improper euthanizing of an
animal pursuant to section 6 of P.L.    , c.   (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill)
.

(cf: P.L. 1988, c. 160, s. 1.)

 

     14.  R.S.4:22-26 is amended to read as follows:

     4:22-26.  A person who shall:

     a.     (1) [Overdrive, overload, drive when overloaded, overwork, deprive of necessary sustenance, abuse, or needlessly kill a living animal or creature, or 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]  Attempts to cause or causes unnecessary bodily injury to an animal through any means, overworks an animal, or subjects an animal to unnecessary violence; or purposely causes unnecessary bodily injury to an animal; or attempts to cause unnecessary serious bodily injury or significant bodily injury or death to an animal;

     (2)   [Torment] Recklessly, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of life, torment, torture, maim, hang, knowingly poison an animal, or otherwise causes unnecessary serious bodily injury or significant bodily injury to an animal, or recklessly causes such torment, torture, or injury to be done causing serious or significant bodily injury or death of the animal, unnecessarily or cruelly beat, or needlessly mutilate [a living animal or creature] an animal, or 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;

     (3)   [Cruelly kill, or cause or procure, by any direct or indirect means, including but not limited to through the use of another living animal or creature, the cruel killing of, a living animal or creature, or otherwise cause or procure, by any direct or indirect means, including but not limited to through the use of another living animal or creature, the death of a living animal or creature from commission of any act described in paragraph (2) of this subsection] Kills, or causes the death of an animal, by purposely, knowingly, or recklessly tormenting, torturing, or otherwise causing unnecessary serious bodily injury or significant bodily injury to an animal ;

     (4)   Knowingly torments, tortures, or otherwise causes unnecessary serious bodily injury or significant bodily injury to an animal, or knowingly causes such torment, torture or injury to be done;

     (5) Purposely causes unnecessary bodily injury to an animal;

     (6) Knowingly poisons an animal causing serious or significant bodily injury or death of the animal;

     (7) Attempts to cause unnecessary serious bodily injury or death to an animal;

     (8) Fail to provide minimum care to an animal for which the person is the owner or caretaker;

     (9) Cruelly restrain a dog;

     (10) Fail to provide minimum care to an animal for which the person is the owner or caretaker, and the animal dies as a result of the failure to provide minimum care;

     (11) Fail to provide minimum care to an animal for which the person is the owner or caretaker, for a period of time and to a degree that results in a significant negative impact on the health and well-being of the animal, as evidenced by severe undernourishment, emaciation, or other manifest sever deterioration in physical condition of the animal, regardless of whether the animal dies as a result;

     b.    (Deleted by amendment, P.L.2003, c.232) [.]

     c.     [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; or 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 leave it unattended in a vehicle under inhumane conditions adverse to the health or welfare of the living animal or creature;] (Deleted by amendment, P.L.    , c.   ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill)

     d.    Receive or offer for sale a horse that is suffering from abuse or neglect, or which by reason of disability, disease, abuse or lameness, or any other cause, could not be worked, ridden or otherwise used for show, exhibition or recreational purposes, or kept as a domestic pet without violating the provisions of this article;

     e.     Keep, use, be connected with or interested in the management of, or receive money or other consideration for the admission of a person to, a place kept or used for the purpose of fighting or baiting a living animal or creature;

     f.     Be present and witness, pay admission to, encourage, aid or assist in an activity enumerated in subsection e. of this section;

     g.     Permit or suffer a place owned or controlled by him to be used as provided in subsection e. of this section;

     h.     Carry, or cause to be carried, a living animal or creature in or upon a vehicle or otherwise, in a cruel or inhumane manner;

     i.      Use a dog or dogs for the purpose of drawing or helping to draw a vehicle for business purposes;

     j.     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;

     k.    Abandon a maimed, sick, infirm or disabled animal or creature to die in a public place;

     l.      Willfully sell, or offer to sell, use, expose, or cause or permit to be sold or offered for sale, used or exposed, a horse or other animal having the disease known as glanders or farcy, or other contagious or infectious disease dangerous to the health or life of human beings or animals, or who shall, when any such disease is beyond recovery, refuse, upon demand, to deprive the animal of life;

     m.    Own, operate, manage or conduct a roadside stand or market for the sale of merchandise along a public street or highway; or a shopping mall, or a part of the premises thereof; and keep a living animal or creature confined, or allowed to roam in an area whether or not the area is enclosed, on these premises as an exhibit; except that this subsection shall not be applicable to:  a pet shop licensed pursuant to P.L.1941, c.151 (C.4:19-15.1 et seq.); a person who keeps an animal, in a humane manner, for the purpose of the protection of the premises; or a recognized breeders' association, a 4-H club, an educational agricultural program, an equestrian team, or a humane society conducting an exhibition, show or performance;

     n.     Keep or exhibit a wild animal at a roadside stand or market located along a public street or highway of this State; a gasoline station; or a shopping mall, or a part of the premises thereof;

     o.    Sell, offer for sale, barter or give away or display live baby chicks, ducklings or other fowl or rabbits, turtles or chameleons which have been dyed or artificially colored or otherwise treated so as to impart to them an artificial color;

     p.    Use any animal, reptile, or fowl for the purpose of soliciting any alms, collections, contributions, subscriptions, donations, or payment of money except in connection with exhibitions, shows or performances conducted in a bona fide manner by recognized breeders' associations, 4-H clubs or other similar bona fide organizations;

     q.    Sell or offer for sale, barter, or give away living rabbits, turtles, baby chicks, ducklings or other fowl under two months of age, for use as household or domestic pets;

     r.     Sell, offer for sale, barter or give away living baby chicks, ducklings or other fowl, or rabbits, turtles or chameleons under two months of age for any purpose not prohibited by subsection q. of this section and who shall fail to provide proper facilities for the care of such animals;

     s.     Artificially mark sheep or cattle, or cause them to be marked, by cropping or cutting off both ears, cropping or cutting either ear more than one inch from the tip end thereof, or half cropping or cutting both ears or either ear more than one inch from the tip end thereof, or who shall have or keep in the person's possession sheep or cattle, which the person claims to own, marked contrary to this subsection unless they were bought in market or of a stranger;

     t.     Abandon a domesticated animal;

     u.     For amusement or gain, cause, allow, or permit the fighting or baiting of a living animal or creature;

     v.     Own, possess, keep, train, promote, purchase, or knowingly sell a living animal or creature for the purpose of fighting or baiting that animal or creature;

     w.    Gamble on the outcome of a fight involving a living animal or creature;

     x.     Knowingly sell or barter or offer for sale or barter, at wholesale or retail, the fur or hair of a domestic dog or cat or any product made in whole or in part from the fur or hair of a domestic dog or cat, unless such fur or hair for sale or barter is from a commercial grooming establishment or a veterinary office or clinic or is for use for scientific research;

     y.     Knowingly sell or barter or offer for sale or barter, at wholesale or retail, for human consumption, the flesh of a domestic dog or cat or any product made in whole or in part from the flesh of a domestic dog or cat;

     z.     Surgically debark or silence a dog in violation of section 1 or 2 of P.L.2002, c.102 (C.4:19-38 or C.4:19-39);

     aa.   Use a live pigeon, fowl or other bird for the purpose of a target, or to be shot at either for amusement or as a test of skill in marksmanship, except that this subsection and subsections bb. and cc. shall not apply to the shooting of game;

     bb.  Shoot at a bird used as described in subsection aa. of this section, or is a party to such shooting; [or]

     cc.   Lease a building, room, field or premises, or knowingly permit the use thereof for the purposes of subsection aa. or bb. of this section;

     dd.  Commit an act of sexual penetration or sexual contact with any animal, whether living or dead;

     ee.   Implants or place in or on an animal, by surgery, ingestion, or other means, a controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog as defined in Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes, or otherwise use the animal, to facilitate the commission of, or an attempt to commit, or flight after committing or attempting to commit any crime or offense enumerated in chapters 35 or 36 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes, or cause or procure such acts to be done;

     ff.    Improperly euthanize an animal by killing it through the use of decompression, the administration of a lethal gas other than an inhalant anesthetic, succinylcholine chloride, curare, curariform drugs, another substance which acts as a neuromuscular blocking agent, or other means than those used for the proper euthanizing of the animal --

     Shall forfeit and pay a sum according to the following schedule, to be sued for and recovered, with costs, in a civil action by any person in the name of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or a county society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, as appropriate, or, in the name of the municipality if brought by a certified animal control officer or animal cruelty investigator:

     For a violation of subsection ee. or paragraph (3) of subsection a. of this section, a sum of not less than $5,000 nor more than $7,500;

     For a violation of subsection e., f., g., u., v., w., [or] z. , or dd. of this section or of paragraph [(3)] (2), (4), or (11) of subsection a. of this section, [or for a second or subsequent violation of paragraph (2) of subsection a. of this section,] a sum of not less than $3,000 nor more than $5,000;

     For a violation of subsection l. of this section or for a [first] violation of paragraph [(2)] (5), (6), (7), or (10) of subsection a. of this section, a sum of not less than [$1,000] $1,500 nor more than $3,000;

     For a violation of subsection x. or y. of this section, a sum of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000 for each domestic dog or cat fur or fur or hair product or domestic dog or cat carcass or meat product;

     For a violation of subsection t. of this section, a sum of not less than [$500] $1,500 nor more than [$1,000] $3,000, but if the violation occurs on or near a highway, [a mandatory] an additional sum of $1,000;

     For a violation of subsection c., d., h., j., k., aa., bb., [or] cc. , or ff. of this section or of paragraph (1) , (8), or (9) of subsection a. of this section, a sum of not less than [$250] $500 nor more than [$1,000] $2,500; and

     For a violation of subsection i., m., n., o., p., q., r., or s. of this section, a sum of not less than $250 nor more than $500.

(cf: P.L.2005, c.372, s.16)

 

     15.  The title to part C of article 2 of chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes is amended to read as follows:

     C.    CIVIL PENALTIES; RECOVERY.

(cf: Title, part C, article 2, chapter 22, Title 4 of the Revised Statutes)

 

     16.  Section 14 of P.L.1941, c.151 (C. 4:19-15.14) is amended to read as follows:

     14.  a.  The [State] Department of Health and Senior Services shall, within six months of the approval of [this act] P.L.1941, c.151 (C.4:19-15.1 et seq.) and with the [co-operation] cooperation and assistance of the [State] Department of Agriculture, prepare and promulgate rules and regulations governing the sanitary conduct and operation of kennels, pet shops, shelters and pounds, to preserve sanitation therein and prevent the spread of rabies and other diseases of dogs within and from such establishments.

     b.    No later than 180 days after the date of enactment of P.L.     , c.   (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the Department of Health and Senior Services, in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture, shall revise the rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to subsection a. of this section, or any subsequent revisions thereof, to comply with the provisions of P.L.    , c.   (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), if the Department of Health and Senior Services determines it is necessary.

     The provisions of the rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to subsection a. of this section, or any subsequent revisions thereof, need not comply with the provisions of P.L.    , c.   (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), with respect to requiring veterinary care designed to prevent or relieve injury, neglect or disease or requiring reasonable access to a clean and adequate exercise area as specified under the definition of minimum care established pursuant to P.L.    , c.   (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).  The Department of Health and Senior Services shall require kennels, pet shops, shelters and pounds to provide prompt, basic veterinary care and, to the extent possible as determined by the department, appropriate exercise or appropriate access to an exercise area.

     [Such] c.  The rules and regulations adopted pursuant to subsections a. and b. of this section shall be enforced by the [State] Department of Health and Senior Services [and by] , local boards of health , and local health agencies .

(cf: P.L.1941, c.151, s.14)

 

     17.  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, an animal cruelty investigator, 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,] section 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 of P.L.    , c.   (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), R.S.4:22‑18, [R.S.4:22‑19, R.S.4:22‑20 or R.S.4:22‑23]  , or liable for a civil penalty pursuant to R.S.4:22-26.

     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,] section 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 of P.L.    , c.   (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), R.S.4:22‑18, [R.S.4:22‑19, R.S.4:22‑20 or R.S.4:22‑23]  , or liable for a civil penalty pursuant to R.S.4:22-26, adjudge an animal forfeited for such disposition as the court deems appropriate.

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

 

     18.  R.S.4:22-51 is amended to read as follows:

     4:22-51.  When a living animal [or creature] is impounded or confined [as provided in section 4:22-19 of this title], and [shall continue to be without] is not provided necessary food and water for more than twelve successive hours, any person may, from time to time as often as is necessary, enter into or upon the [pound in which] kennel, shelter, or pound where the animal [or creature] is impounded or confined and supply it with necessary food and  water so long as it shall remain impounded or confined. Such person shall not  be liable to an action for such entry.

     The actual cost of the food, water and bedding provided, [together with] and an additional amount of twenty [per cent additional] percent of that cost, may be collected by [such] the person providing the food, water, and bedding from the owner of the animal [or creature] in an action at law[, together with costs, and the] .  The animal [or creature] shall not be exempt from levy and sale upon [an execution issued upon] the issuance of a  judgment therefor.

(cf: R.S.4:22-51)

 

     19.  The following sections are repealed: R.S.4:22-17; R.S.4:22-19; section 2 of P.L.1988, c.160 (C.4:22-19.4); R.S.4:22-20; and R.S.4:22-23.

 

     20.  This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill revises current animal cruelty offenses concerning abuse, abandonment, neglect, and improper euthanizing of animals, thereby creating the animal cruelty offenses of animal abuse, aggravated animal abuse, animal abandonment, aggravated animal abandonment, animal neglect, aggravated animal neglect, extreme animal neglect, and improper euthanizing of an animal in chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes.  The bill also increases criminal penalties for a number of existing offenses, establishes penalties for new offenses, and revises current civil penalty provisions to reflect these revisions to criminal animal cruelty offenses.  The bill establishes minimum fines for criminal offenses, and additional criminal penalties, including community service, mental health counseling, restitution, confiscation of animals, and prohibitions on future ownership of animals.  Finally, the bill repeals sections of conflicting law.