TRENTON, NJ – A bill sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney would create an animal cruelty registry, listing those convicted of the offense.
Legislation was approved by the Senate on Monday, January 8th, with a vote of 36-0.
The registry would be modeled after the similar list of sex offenders under Megan’s Law.
“The abuse and mistreatment of animals violates our standards of basic decency,” said Sweeney.
“A registry sends a message that animal cruelty won’t be tolerated at the same time it will help to prevent repeat offenders. We need to protect pets and other animals that are all but defenseless from abuse by people.”
The bill, S-2295, would require the New Jersey Department of Health to establish a public animal abuser registry of those convicted of an animal cruelty crime on its website and would also bar anyone found guilty of an animal cruelty offense from becoming an animal control officer.
Animal Cruelty Suspect
As with Megan's Law, according to the bill, anyone convicted of animal cruelty in New Jersey would be added to the database. The registry would be publicly accessible on the department’s website.
New Jersey would be the second state, after Tennessee, to create an online registry if the bill is passed.
The legislation stipulates that within 90 days after the effective date of the bill, the courts, the Department of Law and Public Safety, and any other governmental entity maintaining records of an animal cruelty violation, is to provide written notice of the violation and the name of the person convicted of the violation within past 10 years to the Commissioner of Health for the registry.
The bill also expands the offenses to be considered as disqualifying offenses and authorizes the Commissioner of Health to use the animal abuser registry, once established, to update and maintain the list of persons ineligible to be animal control officers.
Assemblyman Troy Singleton is sponsoring the same legislation, A-3421, in the Assembly.
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