SENATE BILL No. 2923

 

To the Senate:

     Pursuant to Article V, Section I, Paragraph 14 of the New Jersey Constitution, I am returning Senate Bill No. 2923 with my recommendations for reconsideration. 

This bill establishes a pilot program for the sterilization of dogs and cats released for adoption.  Using a voluntary framework for community participation, this bill will allow New Jersey to evaluate the potential efficacy of mandatory pet sterilization for all adopted animals.  Each year, millions of dogs and cats are euthanized because of overpopulation.  Mandatory sterilization for adopted animals is a humane solution to this senseless loss of life.  Senate Bill No. 2923 also sensibly requires a pound or shelter to offer a voluntarily surrendered animal for adoption for at least seven days before euthanizing, and permits transferring surrendered animals to a rescue facility or foster home.

Separately, this bill modifies the State’s impoundment laws.  Under existing law, any animal captured by an animal control officer must be held for seven days before it can be offered for adoption, transferred to a more suitable shelter, or euthanized.  Senate Bill No. 2923 changes this standard, and permits these animals to be transferred or euthanized before seven days if the shelter determines that the age, health, or behavior of the animal warrants such action. 

I share the intent of the sponsors in crafting this exception.  Under current law, animals with incurable injury or disease must have their suffering unfairly prolonged for a week, rather than humanely relieving their pain.  Unfortunately, this exception also creates the potential that older or mildly injured animals could be euthanized immediately, and before even a diligent search by an owner could locate a lost pet.          

I have worked closely with this bill’s sponsors to address revisions to this section that could inadvertently prevent owners from finding and bringing home their lost pets.  I therefore recommend removing these provisions and maintaining a seven day hold period for any animal not voluntarily surrendered before it can be offered for adoption, transferred to another facility, or euthanized.

 These amendments, as well as the pilot program, will protect companion animals, their owners, and our State’s pounds and animal shelters. 

Accordingly, I herewith return Senate Bill No. 2923 and recommend that it be amended as follows:

 

Page 3, Section 1, Lines 14-16:       Delete in their entirety

 

Page 3, Section 2, Line 26:           After “this section” delete “.  Specifically, the certified animal control officer may

 

Page 3, Section 2, Line 27:           Delete “take into custody and impound

 

Page 3, Section 2, Line 28:           After “Any dog” delete “or other animal

 

Page 3, Section 2, Line 30:           After “dog” delete “or other animal

 

Page 3, Section 2, Line 32:           After “dog” delete “or stray animal

 

Page 3, Section 2, Line 33:           After “Any dog” delete “or other animal

 

Page 3, Section 2, Line 35:           After “dog” delete “or other animal

 

Page 4, Section 2, Line 35:           After “a shelter or pound” insert “, in which case the provisions of subsection e. of this section shall apply” and after “;” insert “or

 

Page 4, Section 2, Line 36:           After “(2)” delete “the age, health, or other care needs of the animal require the

 

Page 4, Section 2, Lines 37-41:       Delete in their entirety  

 

Page 4, Section 2, Line 42:           Delete “(4)

 

Page 5, Section 2, Line 9:            After “otherwise provided for under” delete “subsections d. and” and insert “subsection

 

Page 5, Section 2, Line 17:           After “the animal has been” delete “sterilized,

 

Page 5, Section 2, Line 17:           After “adopted” delete “,

 

Page 5, Section 2, Line 21:           After “charged with its care,” delete “without requiring it to be sterilized,

 

Page 5, Section 2, Line 32:           After “a shelter or pound” insert “, not to exceed $4 per day

 

Page 6, Section 2, Line 33:           After “if necessary pursuant to” delete “subsections d.,” and insert “subsection

 

Page 6, Section 2, Line 33:           After “e.” delete “,

 

Page 7, Section 3, Line 5:            After “b.” delete “The” and insert “A shelter, pound, or kennel operating as a shelter or pound in a county participating in the”

 

Page 7, Section 3, Line 5:            After “pilot program” insert “established under subsection a. of this section”

 

Page 7, Section 3, Line 5:            After “shall” delete “implement the following requirements in”

 

Page 7, Section 3, Lines 6-38:        Delete in their entirety

 

Page 7, Section 3, Line 39:           Delete “(4) If” and insert “require every cat or dog to be sterilized before releasing it to”

 

Page 7, Section 3, Line 39:           After “a person” delete “seeks to adopt” and insert “adopting”

 

Page 7, Section 3, Line 39:           After “a cat or dog” insert “from the shelter, pound, or kennel operating as a shelter or pound”

 

Page 7, Section 3, Line 40:           After “permitted pursuant to” delete “this subsection, the shelter, pound, or kennel”

 

Page 7, Section 3, Line 41:           Delete in its entirety

 

Page 7, Section 3, Line 42:           Delete “person adopting it, shall require the animal to be sterilized” and insert “section 16 of P.L.1941, c.151 (C.4:19-15.16), except as provided under section 4 of P.L. ____, c.___, (C.____)(pending before the Legislature as this bill)

 

Page 7, Section 3, Lines 45-48:       Delete in their entirety 

 

Page 8, Section 3, Lines 1-2:         Delete in their entirety

 

Page 8, Section 4, Line 13:           Delete “pursuant to” and insert “under”

 

Page 8, Section 4, Line 15:           After “from a shelter, pound,” insert “or”

 

Page 8, Section 4, Line 16:           Delete “or animal rescue organization facility,”

 

Page 8, Section 4, Line 19:           After “by the shelter, pound,” insert “or”

 

Page 8, Section 4, Line 20:           After “pound” delete “, or animal rescue organization facility”

 

Page 8, Section 4, Line 21:           After “b. The shelter, pound,” insert “or”

 

Page 8, Section 4, Line 21:           After “a shelter or pound” delete “,”

 

Page 8, Section 4, Line 22:           Delete “or animal rescue organization facility”

 

Page 8, Section 4, Line 28:           After “age.  The shelter, pound,” insert “or”

 

Page 8, Section 4, Line 29:           After “pound” delete “, or animal rescue organization facility”

 

Page 8, Section 4, Line 34:           After the first “pound,” insert “or”

 

Page 8, Section 4, Line 34:           After “a shelter or pound” delete “, or animal rescue”

 


 

Page 8, Section 4, Line 35:           Delete “organization facility”

 

 

                                      Respectfully,

 

/s/ Chris Christie

 

          [seal]                       Governor

 

 

 

 

Attest:

 

/s/ Kevin M. O’Dowd

 

Deputy Chief Counsel to the Governor