TRENTON — A bill has cleared the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee that would determine which dogs are dangerous and vicious enough to be put to death after they attack.

The bill sponsored by Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, D-Bergen, would change language in current law in hopes of protecting the lives of hundreds of dogs in the state.

Under current law, the court is required to deem a dog vicious if there is clear and convincing evidence that the dog has been engaged in dog fighting activities and the dog possesses a threat of serious bodily harm or death to a person.

Johnson's bill removes the part about dog fighting and would allow a judge to use discretion. Johnson said dog lovers believe that some dogs have been euthanized needlessly because of this law.

Under the proposed law, a dog would lose its life if it bit during an unprovoked attack. If the attack was provoked, however, the animal would have a chance to have its life spared.

The bill does not have a name but Johnson jokingly called it "The Giving Every Dog His or Her Day bill."

"Dog owners love their pets. So this is for those animal lovers out there who feel that their dogs were really treated unfairly under the current law, " Johnson said.

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