N.J. moves to increase penalty for cruelty to animals

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A New Jersey Senate committee has voted to increase the penalties for animal abuse.

The measure known as Patrick’s Law comes in response to the case of a pit bull in Newark that was starved, put in a trash bag, and thrown down an apartment building garbage chute.

Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean says even though Patrick is recovering, what happened to the dog was obscene.

That abuse and neglect had to be penalized,” said Kean, R-Union. “It was wrong to start, needs to be recognized as wrong, and we need to now go forward understanding that because of instances like this we need to have real penalties so we can prevent abuses going forward.

The bill Kean in sponsoring upgrades severe physical cruelty to an animal from a disorderly persons offense to a fourth-degree crime. Fines would be raised to a max of $5,000.

Tougher penalties will be a deterrent for people who would otherwise abandon their pet, according to Kathleen Schatzmann, New Jersey director of the Humane Society.

“If they do not have the ability to keep their animal, there are facilities that will take them in,” Schatzmann says. “Contact your local shelter, local rescue. You could even call you police department.

“They can put you in touch with the health department who can let you know of some of the resources that you have in the community,” she says.

The bill’s namesake, found by a maintenance man after it was thrown down a garbage chute, is now recovering.

“Patrick’s case was one of extreme neglect,” Schatzmann said. “Unfortunately, his is not the only case that we have in the state. So we want some from of justice for the suffering of this poor animal.”

News Link:http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/local/item/44237


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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