Two state legislators are sponsoring bills that would offer animals protection against those already found guilty of abusing animals.

New Jersey Statehouse (Kevin McArdle, Townsquare Media NJ)

Senate bill S891, a bill sponsored by Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington), would have courts issue protection orders against someone found guilty of abusing an animal. The order could be against a specific animal or all animals for a specific period of time.

The bill was introduced in January, 2012 and sent to the Senate Economic Growth Committee which has taken no further action.

The New Jersey Animal Abuse Offender Registration Act would be created by Assembly bill A2736. The bill's sponsor, Assemblywoman L.Grace Spencer (D-Essex), proposed the bill following studies showing that animal abuse can happen over a lifetime. Spencer also a number of studies linking animal abusers and acts of violence.

The bill proposes the creation of an animal abuse offender registration system similar to a "Megan's List" to be established by the state Attorney General's office. It would also include those diagnosed with a "conduct disorder," a psychiatric disorder that includes disregard for "societal laws" and could lead to animal abuse.

Introduced in March, 2012, the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee is still considering the bill. The legislative session ends in January and both bills would die if no action is taken although they could be re-introduced in the next session.

The bills have received attention from animal abuse groups in the light of the recent cases of animal abuse in New Jersey. Patrick the pit bull was tied to a railing in her owner's apartment building in Newark and left alone for a week while Sammy, a cocker spaniel from Brick,was taken to a Colts Neck animal hospital by his owner who was found to be responsible for inflicting abuse on the dog.