A law being considered in New Jersey could pave way for public list of animal abusers.
TRENTON — Anyone convicted of animal abuse in New Jersey may soon find themselves on a list online.
A bill introduced last week in the General Assembly and an accompanying legislation moving through the state Senate calls for the creation of a statewide animal abuse registry to be posted on the state Department of Health’s website.
If signed into law, New Jersey would be the second state in the nation to establish such a list aimed at helping prevent the mistreatment of animals.
In addition to having their name and picture posted online, convicted abusers would be forbidden from owning or keeping any animals and barred from being an animal control officer.
“The animal abuse registry is a tremendous tool for law enforcement, local shelters and animal rescue groups to utilize to ensure the safe placement of animals into good homes,” said Sen. Troy Singleton, D-7th of Palmyra, who sponsored the legislation with Senators Fred Madden, Jim Beach and Senate President Steve Sweeney.
Similar legislation was introduced on Thursday by Assemblyman Daniel Benson.
Both measures prohibit anyone who has been criminally convicted of an animal cruelty violation from owning, keeping, or harboring an animal.
Licensing authorities would be required to check the website to avoid issuing any pet license to abuse on the list. Pet stores, rescue organizations, and animal pounds and shelters also would be required to check the list prior to selling or transferring an animal and to anyone on the registry.
“Without it, these organizations have no way of knowing if a potential adopter has abused animals in the past,” Singleton said. “This registry will hold bad actors accountable and provide peace of mind to the many well-intentioned groups out there looking for good homes for stray and abandoned animals.”
The legislature previously approved the legislation but it was vetoed by then-Gov. Chris Christie.
Following introduction last week in the Assembly, the bill was referred to Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee for consideration. The Senate’s version was merged with another bill on May 31 and passed out of the Senate Economic Growth Committee.