NJ Senate Passes Patricks Law Strengthening Animal Cruelty Penalties

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The New Jersey Senate unanimously passed S1303, designated as Patrick’s Law, yesterday afternoon.

Patrick

The bill is named for the Pit Bull named Patrick, who was rescued in 2011 after he was starved to the brink of death, then dumped down an apartment complex trash chute in Newark.

The proposed law revises penalties for animal cruelty, toughening both civil and criminal penalties for abuse and neglect. Photographs of the emaciated dog with the big haunting eyes that accompanied his story rallied activists and the general public to the cause.

The bill increases to crimes of the fourth degree the offenses of depriving an animal of necessary sustenance, or abusing an animal, and it increases the grade of these offenses to crimes of the third degree if the animal dies as a result of these acts.  The civil penalty for these offenses will also be increased under the bill to a fine of $1,000 to $3,000 for a first offense, and $3,000 to $5,000 for a second or subsequent offense.

The bill will additionally increase the criminal and civil penalties for inflicting unnecessary cruelty upon a living animal or creature by any direct or indirect means, unnecessarily failing to provide a living animal with proper food, drink, shelter or protection from the weather, or leaving it unattended in a vehicle under inhumane conditions. The criminal penalty will be increased to a fine between $500 and $2,000, imprisonment for a term up to six months, or both, at the discretion of the court. If an animal is killed or dies as a result of one of these violations, or the person has a prior conviction, the person will be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.  The civil penalty recoverable will be a fine of between $500 and $2,000.

Court ordered restitution to the animal’s owner will include the monetary cost of replacing the animal, plus any costs for food, shelter, veterinary care, euthanasia, if necessary, or other costs.

The bill was sponsored by Senators  Tom Kean Dick and Codey. It heads to the Assembly for consideration before it becomes law.

Senator Kean said in a statement after yesterday’s vote, “How someone treats animals in their care is a window into his or her soul. Caring for an animal comes with basic responsibilities that include finding a safe, humane environment for that animal if you cannot or do not wish to care for it any longer. Patrick’s Law will make the penalties for those who shirk those responsibilities appropriately more severe.

A significant aspect of Patrick’s Law is its recognition of extreme neglect as an act of cruelty comparable to any other.

Patrick, called a miracle dog, recovered and continues to thrive.

News Like:http://www.lifewithdogs.tv/2012/10/nj-senate-passes-patricks-law-strengthening-animal-cruelty-penalties/

Patrick’s Law introduced for tougher animal cruelty penalties in N.J.

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“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.

Fully recovered and living happily with his foster parent from Garden State Veterinary Specialists, Patrick has become a symbol for the need for stronger animal cruelty laws.
Credits: Facebook/The Patrick Miracle

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.

Patrick As He Was Found

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.

News Link:http://www.examiner.com/article/patrick-s-law-introduced-for-tougher-animal-cruelty-penalties-n-j

 

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