Establishes and Enhances Animal Cruelty Penalties
Legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean Jr. to establish and enhance animal cruelty penalties in the wake of an infamous case of Patrick the Pitbull in Newark was signed in to law today by Governor Chris Christie.
S1303 or “Patrick’s Law” criminalizes the failure to provide an animal with necessary care and establishes that crime and inflicting unnecessary cruelty on an animal is a disorderly persons offense, punishable by a maximum 6 months imprisonment and a $2,000 fine. This bill establishes the offenses of cruelly abusing a living animal and causing bodily injury to a living animal by failing to provide necessary care as fourth-degree crimes, unless as a result of these acts the animal dies or suffers serious bodily injury in which case the offenses are third-degree crimes.
“Pet ownership is a privilege and carries with it a basic responsibility for loving care,” said Kean. “This law now appropriately punishes and holds accountable any cowardly person who abuses an animal.”
Senator Kean’s legislation was introduced in 2011, in response to the treatment of Patrick, a pit bull who was starved to emaciation, placed in a garbage bag and dropped down a garbage chute in a Newark apartment complex. A 29-year old Newark woman has pleaded guilty to animal cruelty in connection to the case and is scheduled to be sentenced on August 29.
“Patrick suffered deplorable, inexcusable abuse,” Kean added. “These types of sickening actions against innocent animals will not be taken lightly.”