SENATE, No. 698

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

217th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2016 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  ROBERT M. GORDON

District 38 (Bergen and Passaic)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Authorizes seizure and impoundment of a dog believed to have attacked, severely injured, or killed another domestic animal.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.

  


An Act concerning vicious or potentially dangerous dogs, and amending P.L.1989, c.307.

 

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

 

     1.    Section 3 of P.L.1989, c.307 (C.4:19-19) is amended to read as follows:

     3.    An animal control officer shall seize and impound a dog when the officer has reasonable cause to believe that the dog:

     a.     attacked a person and caused death or serious bodily injury as defined in N.J.S.2C:11-1(b) to that person;

     b.    caused bodily injury as defined in N.J.S.2C:11-1(a) to a person during an unprovoked attack and poses a serious threat of harm to persons or domestic animals;

     c.     engaged in dog fighting activities as described in R.S.4:22-24 and R.S.4:22-26; [or]

     d.    has been trained, tormented, badgered, baited or encouraged to engage in unprovoked attacks upon persons or domestic animals; or

     e.     attacked another domestic animal and severely injured or killed the attacked domestic animal.

     The dog shall be impounded until the final disposition as to whether the dog is vicious or potentially dangerous.  Subject to the approval of the municipal health officer, the dog may be impounded in a facility or other structure agreeable to the owner. 

(cf:  P.L.1989, c.307, s.3) 

 

     2.    Section 4 of P.L.1989, c.307 (C.4:19-20) is amended to read as follows:

     4.    a.  The animal control officer shall immediately notify the municipal court and the municipal health officer [immediately] that [he] a dog has been seized and impounded [a dog] pursuant to section 3 of P.L.1989, c.307 (C.4:19-19), [or that he has reasonable cause to believe that a dog has killed another domestic animal] and that a hearing is required for disposition of the dog.  The animal control officer shall through a reasonable effort attempt to determine the identity of the owner of any dog seized and impounded pursuant to section 3 of P.L.1989, c.307.  If its owner cannot be identified within seven days, that dog may be humanely destroyed.

     b.    The animal control officer shall, within three working days of the determination of the identity of the owner of a dog seized and impounded pursuant to section 3 of P.L.1989, c.307 (C.4:19-19), notify by certified mail, return receipt requested, the owner concerning the seizure and impoundment, and that, if the owner wishes, a hearing will be held to determine whether the impounded dog is vicious or potentially dangerous.  This notice shall also require that the owner return within seven days, by certified mail or hand delivery, a signed statement indicating whether he wishes the hearing to be conducted or, if not, to relinquish ownership of the dog, in which case the dog may be humanely destroyed.  If the owner cannot be notified by certified mail, return receipt requested, or refuses to sign for the certified letter, or does not reply to the certified letter with a signed statement within seven days of receipt, the dog may be humanely destroyed. 

(cf:  P.L.1994, c.187, s.2)

 

     3.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill authorizes the seizure and impoundment of a dog that attacks another domestic animal and severely injures or kills the attacked domestic animal.  “Domestic animal” is defined under the law as any cat, dog, or livestock other than poultry.  The bill also clarifies current law concerning hearings for the seized and impounded dogs to reflect this provision.