NJ Strengthens Animal Cruelty Laws

Aug 8, 2017

New Jersey Statehouse

Legislation signed by Governor Christie is strengthening New Jersey's laws against animal cruelty.

Senator Jeff Van Drew says the measure defines prohibited conditions so law enforcement can intervene.

“To really ensure that those animals that are tied up cruelly with a very small lead line in very cold weather and in very hot weather without any of the proper care, that that no longer hopefully is acceptable.”

Brian Hackett is the state director of the Humane Society. He says the new law makes it a crime to leave pets outside without proper shelter for more than 30 minutes when the temperature is above 90 degrees or below 32.

"Dogs were left out to freeze to death or dogs were left out to virtually cook and bake to death in the summer heat. So the state needed better language to give our law enforcement the right legal parameters to enforce the law properly to protect pets while they're outdoors."

The new law also mandates that dog tethers be at least 15 feet long and forbids keeping dogs tied up outside overnight.

Debora Bresch with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says advocates didn't want the law to be too onerous.

"Law enforcement has to give the owner a corrective warning and they give them seven days to comply. But if the animal is in a perilous state, we don't want law enforcement to have to wait for the animal to die or to be close to death before they intervene."

Failure to care appropriatley for the animals would be a disorderly person's offense punishable by fines up to $2,000.