A new bill pending in the New Jersey State Legislature would create an animal abuse registry in New Jersey. This would require individuals who are criminally convicted and/or found civilly liable for acts of animal cruelty to add their names to a publicly accessible database.
Around 5,000 incidents of animal cruelty are reported to the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) each year. The agency has the authority to arrest and fine individuals who are criminally convicted. In addition, animal abusers may be sued in civil court. Under the new legislation, a person convicted would face the additional penalty of having his or her name added to an animal abuse database.
The database is important, claims the bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Troy Singleton, because people who abuse animals have a “proclivity toward violence”, and it is essential to make them known to the community. The proposed database would be accessible to the public on the Department of Health’s website.
Currently, Tennessee is the only state with an animal abuser registry, which was instituted in January. If the bill is passed, New Jersey would become the second state in the nation to keep track of animal abusers via a registry. Florida, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Michigan are also considering similar bills. At this early stage, it is impossible to assess the registry’s effectiveness.
New Jersey has a vast collection of laws that deal with many specific types of animal cruelty. New Jersey’s general animal anti-cruelty statute, 4:22-26, makes it illegal to overwork, torment, kill, neglect, or otherwise abuse any animal under one’s custody or care. A person who violates this law is subject to fines of up to $5,000 as well as potential jail time.
If you or a loved one has been charged with animal cruelty, it is essential that that you retain an attorney to help you avoid the penalties you may face. Adam H. Rosenblum of the Rosenblum Law Firm is a skilled criminal defense attorney in New Jersey that will advocate on your behalf to have the charges against you dropped or reduced. Email the Rosenblum Law Firm or call 1-888-815-3649 for a free consultation about your case.