Assembly Panel Approves Increased Penalty For Animal Neglect

TRENTON – An Assembly panel on Monday approved bipartisan legislation sponsored by Assemblywomen Nancy Munoz and L. Grace Spencer to crack down on animal abuse and neglect.

The bill (A-798) was inspired by the treatment of Patrick, a pit bull in Newark who was starved to an extremely emaciated condition, placed in a garbage bag, and dropped down a garbage chute in an apartment complex in the city. The dog is now recuperating and being cared for after a maintenance person in the building collecting garbage noticed movement in one of the garbage bags and found the dog still alive inside.

“Patrick’s case was heartbreaking and absolutely needless,” said Spencer (D-Essex). “It should never have come to this. “Whether it’s the inability to care for an animal or simply a complete lack of compassion, this type of inhumane treatment will not be tolerated.”

Specifically, the bill would make it a crime of the fourth degree for needlessly killing an animal or creature by depriving them of “necessary care” such as proper food, drink, shelter, or protection from the weather. Anyone found guilty of violating this provision would be subject to a fine ranging from $1000 – 3000, up to 18 months imprisonment or both.

The bill was advanced by the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and now awaits consideration by the full Assembly.

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