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.

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Idaho leaves S.D., N.D. alone without felony animal cruelty

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“Sorry folks, word press seems to be on the blink, certain area’s of the publishing page are missing, like ability to highlight words with their meaning, tags, etc.”


A grassroots effort by an animal rights group to enact tougher animal cruelty laws has failed to collect enough signatures to put the question to voters in November.

The group called Idaho 1 of 3 — named because Idaho had been among the three states without felony animal cruelty laws — worked for 10 months on a shoestring budget of less than $5,000 to gather the 47,500 signatures necessary to trigger a ballot initiative. More than 700 people across Idaho volunteered to help the cause.

But Virginia Hemingway, the group’s organizer, said the effort came up short. As of Monday’s deadline, the group had collected only about 30,000 signatures, according to a story published Tuesday by theIdaho Statesman.

Among other things, the initiative would have asked voters to make cases of animal torture a felony on first offense.

Despite the ballot initiative’s failure, the mere threat of it had an effect, spurring lawmakers and the ag industry to pass a tougher animal cruelty bill during the Legislature.

Lawmakers, with the support of the Idaho Cattlemen’s Association, passed the state’s first felony animal cruelty legislation, leaving the South Dakota and North Dakota as the only states without a felony cruelty law.

Under the new law, three animal cruelty convictions in 15 years makes the third offense a felony. Prosecutors can also press felony charges for offenders accused of organizing cockfights accompanied by drugs and betting. The new law exempts normal animal production practices such as branding and castration.

But Hemingway and other animal rights groups say Idaho’s penalties still are too weak, particularly in cases involving torture. Animal rights advocates also complain that more common forms of abuse, such as repeated neglect, still cannot be charged as felonies in Idaho.

The group’s leaders already are considering another campaign.

“If that’s what it takes, then that’s what we’ll do,” said Tony Mangan, a 73-year-old retiree in Spirit Lake who co-founded the group with Hemingway.

Not all animal rights groups are on board for another initiative just yet, however.

Lisa Kauffman, Idaho state director for the Humane Society of the United States, had said her national group would fund a multimillion-dollar ballot initiative campaign and hire paid staff to gather signatures if this year’s initiative failed.

But Kauffman prefers to pursue the group’s goals through the Legislature.

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