ASSEMBLY, No. 4540

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

219th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED AUGUST 13, 2020

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  VALERIE VAINIERI HUTTLE

District 37 (Bergen)

Assemblywoman  CAROL A. MURPHY

District 7 (Burlington)

Assemblyman  RAJ MUKHERJI

District 33 (Hudson)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman Quijano, Assemblymen Benson and Johnson

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Provides immunity from civil and criminal liability for rescue of animal from motor vehicle under inhumane conditions.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning the rescue of an animal from a vehicle under certain circumstances and supplementing Title 2A of the New Jersey Statutes.

 

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

 

     1.    a.  Whenever a domestic companion animal has been left unattended in a motor vehicle under inhumane conditions adverse to the health or welfare of the animal, including, but not limited to, heat, cold, inadequate ventilation, or other circumstances likely to endanger or cause bodily injury or death to the animal, any person who, without license or privilege to otherwise enter the motor vehicle, may in good faith enter the vehicle in order to remove, or render emergency care to, the animal if the person reasonably believes that the animal is in immediate danger of bodily injury or death from the circumstances, provided that prior to entering the motor vehicle the person contacted appropriate rescue personnel to report the circumstances and made a reasonable attempt to locate the owner or operator of the motor vehicle or other person responsible for the animal unless exigent circumstances warrant foregoing such actions.

     b.    After removing the animal from the vehicle, the person shall immediately contact for assistance appropriate rescue personnel, if one has not already been contacted.

     c.     Upon receipt of any such report from a person, the appropriate rescue personnel shall dispatch assistance to the scene of the animal recovery, and immediately seek proper veterinary care for the animal as needed and cause to be commenced any investigation necessary for a suspected violation of R.S.4:22-17 or R.S.4:22-26.

     d.   (1)  A person who acts in accordance with subsections a. and b. of this section shall be immune from civil or criminal liability for:

     (a)  any property damage, or any injury to the animal, caused by any acts or omissions related to breaking into and entering a vehicle and rendering emergency care to a domestic companion animal, unless the person engaged in reckless or willful misconduct; and

     (b)  any violation of the animal cruelty laws of the State unless the person engaged in reckless or willful misconduct.

     (2)  The immunity provided under this section shall be in addition to any other immunity that may apply under the “New Jersey Tort Claims Act,” N.J.S.59:1-1 et seq., or any other law, rule, or regulation.

     e.     As used in this section, “appropriate rescue personnel” means a law enforcement officer, a member of a paid, part paid, or volunteer fire department or fire company, or ambulance, emergency, or rescue squad, a certified animal control officer, a municipal humane law enforcement officer, or a humane law enforcement officer of a county society for the prevention of cruelty to animals.

 

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     In addition to any other immunity provided by the “New Jersey Tort Claims Act,” or any other law, rule, or regulation, this bill, as amended, provides immunity from civil or criminal liability for any acts or omissions related to breaking into and entering a vehicle and rendering emergency care to a domestic companion animal when:

     1) the domestic companion animal has been left unattended in a motor vehicle under inhumane conditions adverse to the health or welfare of the animal;

     2) the person breaking into and entering the vehicle reasonably believes that the animal is in immediate danger of bodily injury or death from the circumstances of the inhumane conditions; and

     3) prior to entering the motor vehicle the person contacted appropriate rescue personnel to report the circumstances and made a reasonable attempt to locate the owner or operator of the motor vehicle or other person responsible for the animal, unless exigent circumstances warrant foregoing such actions.

     The bill requires the person to immediately contact appropriate rescue personnel after removing the animal from the vehicle, if none have already been contacted. The bill also requires the appropriate rescue personnel, upon being contacted, to dispatch assistance to the scene of the animal recovery, immediately seek proper veterinary care for the animal as needed, and cause to commence any investigation necessary for a suspected violation of R.S.4:22-17 or R.S.4:22-26 (animal cruelty).

     The bill defines “appropriate rescue personnel” as a law enforcement officer, a member of a paid, part paid, or volunteer fire department or fire company, or ambulance, emergency, or rescue squad, a certified animal control officer, a municipal humane law enforcement officer, or a humane law enforcement officer of a county society for the prevention of cruelty to animals.