SENATE, No. 529

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

217th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2016 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  JENNIFER BECK

District 11 (Monmouth)

Senator  JOSEPH F. VITALE

District 19 (Middlesex)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senator Bateman

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires mental health evaluation for all animal cruelty offenders; designated as “Shyanne’s Law.”

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.

  


An Act concerning mental health evaluations for animal cruelty offenders, designated as Shyanne’s Law, and amending R.S.4:22-17.

 

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

 

     1.    R.S.4:22-17 is amended to read as follows:

     4:22-17.  a.  It shall be unlawful to:

     (1)   Overdrive, overload, drive when overloaded, overwork, abuse, or needlessly kill a living animal or creature;

     (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 of the acts described in paragraph (1) of this subsection to be done;

     (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; or leave the living animal or creature unattended in a vehicle under inhumane conditions adverse to the health or welfare of the living animal or creature; or

     (4)   Fail, as the owner or as a person otherwise charged with the care of a living animal or creature, to provide the living animal or creature with necessary care.

     b.    (1)  A person who violates subsection a. of this section shall be guilty of a disorderly persons offense.  Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:43-3 to the contrary, for every conviction of an offense pursuant to paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection a. of this section, the person shall be fined not less than $250 nor more than $1,000, or be imprisoned for a term of not more than six months, or both, in the discretion of the court; and for every conviction of an offense pursuant to paragraph (3) or (4) of subsection a. of this section, the person shall be fined not less than $500 nor more than $2,000, or be imprisoned for a term of not more than six months, or both, in the discretion of the court.

     (2)   If the person who violates subsection a. of this section has a prior conviction for an offense that would constitute a violation of subsection a. of this section, the person shall be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

     (3)   A person who violates subsection a. of this section shall also be subject to the provisions of subsections e. and f. and, if appropriate, subsection g., of this section.

     c.     It shall be unlawful to purposely, knowingly, or recklessly:

     (1)   Torment, torture, maim, hang, poison, unnecessarily or cruelly beat, cruelly abuse, or needlessly mutilate a living animal or

creature;

     (2)   Cause bodily injury to a living animal or creature by failing to provide the living animal or creature with necessary care, whether as the owner or as a person otherwise charged with the care of the living animal or creature; or

     (3)   Cause or procure an act described in paragraph (1) or (2) of this subsection to be done, by any direct or indirect means, including but not limited to through the use of another living animal or creature.

     d.    (1)  A person who violates paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of subsection c. of this section shall be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree, except that the person shall be guilty of a crime of the third degree if:

     (a)   the animal or creature dies as a result of the violation;

     (b)   the animal or creature suffers serious bodily injury as a result of the violation; or

     (c)   the person has a prior conviction for an offense that would constitute a violation of paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of subsection c. of this section.

     (2)   A person who violates any provision of subsection c. of this section shall also be subject to the provisions of subsections e. and f. and, if appropriate, subsection g., of this section.

     e.     For a violation of this section, in addition to imposing any other appropriate penalties established for a crime of the third degree, crime of the fourth degree, or disorderly persons offense, as the case may be, pursuant to Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes, the court shall:

     (1)   impose a term of community service of up to 30 days, and may direct that the term of community service be served in 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 ; and

     (2)   order the violator to receive a mental health evaluation by a licensed psychologist or therapist named by the court, and subsequent mental health counseling, if warranted by the evaluation, for a period of time to be prescribed by the licensed psychologist or therapist.  The cost of the mental health evaluation and any required mental health counseling shall be paid by the violator.  The court shall order the violator to submit the results of the mental health evaluation to the court, and if subsequent counseling is ordered, the court may order the violator to provide documentation of attendance to the court.

     f.     The court also shall require any violator of this section to pay restitution, including but not limited to, the monetary cost of replacing the animal if the animal died or had to be euthanized because of the extent of the animal's injuries, 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, or incurred by any agency, entity, or organization 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 other facility providing for the shelter and care of the animal or animals involved in the violation.

     g.    If a juvenile is adjudicated delinquent for an act which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a disorderly persons offense, crime of the fourth degree, or crime of the third degree pursuant to this section, the court also shall order the juvenile to receive a mental health evaluation by a licensed psychologist or therapist named by the court, and subsequent mental health counseling [by a licensed psychologist or therapist named by the court], if warranted by the evaluation, for a period of time to be prescribed by the licensed psychologist or therapist.  The cost of the mental health evaluation and any required mental health counseling shall be paid by the parents or legal guardian of the juvenile.  The court shall order the parents or legal guardian to submit the results of the mental health evaluation to the court, and if counseling is ordered subsequently, the court may order the parents or legal guardian to provide documentation of attendance to the court.

     h.    The Administrative Office of the Courts shall, with the assistance of the Attorney General, municipal prosecutors, and county prosecutors, maintain a record of any requirements or conditions imposed pursuant to this section or as a result of any conviction pursuant to this section, including, but not limited to mental health evaluations and documentation of mental health counseling attendance. 

(cf:  P.L.2013, c.88, s.2)

 

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill amends current law to require a mental health evaluation for any animal cruelty offender, whether an adult or a juvenile, to be followed by mental health counseling if warranted by the evaluation.  It is designated “Shyanne’s Law” in recognition of Shyanne, a dog that died in the care of an animal behaviorist who had been previously observed abusing an animal.