Making Animal Cruelty Violators Pay Expenses for Injured Pet
A pair of New Jersey lawmakers is working to ensure that those who abuse someone's pet or their own pet are required to literally pay for their actions.
Right now in Garden State, animal cruelty violators face jail time and other criminal penalties, but they are not required to pay for the cost of the care for the animal they hurt. A proposed bill, however, could change that.
"The person who hurts a pet should be liable for the cost of the vet or the hospitalization or any of the costs that result from them abusing the animal. At no point should that be on the animal owner. It should be on the person who committed the crime," said Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak (D-Cape May Court House).
Thursday, the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee approved a bill (A-3034) sponsored by Andrzejczak and Assemblyman Pat Diegnan (D-South Plainfield) that would require animal cruelty violators to pay every cost associated with the care of an animal they hurt.
"I thought that this was already enacted. I thought it was common sense. At no point will a dollar amount replace a loved one's pet, but they become a part of the family at a certain point," said Andrzejczak who can sometimes be seen walking the halls of the State House with his guide dog, a yellow labrador retriever.
Under the measure, if the abused animal dies as the result of mistreatment, the abuser would also have to pay the burial or cremation fees and foot the bill for a replacement pet if the owner would like to have one.
Diegnan thought it was also very important to note that the legislation also applies to pet owners who abuse their own animals.
"Those who commit crimes against animals should be made to pay for their medical and hospitalization bills," Diegnan said in a press release. "It is only right to make sure unscrupulous owners do right by the animals they harm."
There was some concern among two members of the Agriculture and Natural Resources panel who cited the fact that the bill does not specifically state that it applies to those convicted on animal cruelty. The legislation refers to animal cruelty violations.
The bill would also make it illegal for any impounded animal to be sold, euthanized or offered for adoption by the shelter, pound, kennel or animal care facility if the owner pays for the expenses of care. There is an exception if a licensed veterinarian determines the animal is in extreme pain and beyond any reasonable hope of recovery.