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Kean Sponsored “Patrick’s Law” Enhancing Animal Cruelty Penalties Clears Committee

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Senator Tom Kean, Jr. (R- Union), a longtime advocate for the humane treatment of animals, is pleased this legislation he has submitted increasing penalties for animal abuse has been advanced by the Senate Economic Growth Committee.

S-1303, known as “Patrick’s Law”, upgrades from a disorderly persons offense to a crime of the fourth degree the crime of starvation or severe physical cruelty to an animal, and increases corresponding civil penalties. The law was written in response to the now-infamous case of Patrick, a pit-bull whose Newark owner severely starved the animal and eventually threw it down a garbage chute. Patrick was eventually found alive and rescued.

“How someone treats animals in their care is a window into his or her soul,” said Kean. “These instances of abuse, much as it is with humans, are never isolated instances and are indicative of a pattern and violent tendencies. This law makes the penalties for the type of abuse Patrick endured far more appropriately severe.”

Kean noted that there are a variety of resources available to animal owners who cannot or do not wish to take care of their animal any longer.

“Pet ownership comes with basic responsibilities,” Kean continued. “Those wishing to alleviate themselves of those responsibilities have options: putting the animal up for adoption or surrendering it to a rescue organization. I hope by making the penalties for abuse more meaningful we can force people to think twice before taking out one’s aggression or anger on an animal and perhaps avail themselves of those resources instead. There is no reason that any animal should have to suffer as Patrick did.”

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