“Great News, now we just have to keep our fingers crossed that the legislation is approved by the House of Representatives and Senate.
Named after a defenseless pit bull puppy who was tossed into a trash bag and thrown down a garbage chute in a New Jersey apartment house, Patrick’s Law was introduced into the Senate Economic Growth Committee on Thursday in Trenton calling for more severe penalties for animal cruelty.
The bill, S1303 which was introduced by Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean (Morris, Somerset and Union Counties) was approved by a vote of 3-0 and will increase animal cruelty crimes upgrading current disorderly animal cruelty offenses to fourth degree crimes. In cases of egregious abuse cruelty, where a domestic animal dies as a result of a person who has a prior conviction, the crime would be upgraded to a third degree crime.
Punishments would include fines up to $5,000, community service, and restitution including veterinary costs and continued care.
Juveniles involved in animal cruelty could be tried as adults. The bill also provides mental health evaluations and ordered treatment for juveniles.
Patrick’s Law will also include stricter penalties for dog fighting, proper care and shelter for dogs, and more penalties for leaving dogs in hot cars.
The idea of Patrick’s Law was introduced nearly two years ago when a starved one-year-old pit bull was rescued. Named Patrick because of St. Patrick’s Day as the day the miracle dog was rescued, the 20 pound bag of bones who could not even stand on his own was taken to Garden State Veterinary Specialists for emergency treatment. Despite the great odds against his recovery, Patrick not only survived but became a symbol of the need for stricter animal cruelty laws to protect innocent animals.
Kisha Curtis, the New Jersey woman who has been charged with the neglect to Patrick was charged with animal cruelty, but contends she was not responsible for starving the dog, although she has admitted she abandoned Patrick. Curtis is due back in court in October.
Patrick has made a full recovery and continues to reside with his foster family from the Garden State Veterinary Specialists. His future placement will be decided at a later date.
On the Patrick Miracle Facebook page, over 17,000 people “liked” the introduction of the new law, 1217 people shared the link explaining the stricter animal cruelty law, and 2600 people gave their opinions on the page extolling the benefits of Patrick’s Law.
The legislation must be approved by the House of Representatives and Senate.