New Jersey, Bill to Keep Dogs Off Chains & In Proper Shelter Passes House and Senate
Update—July 12, 2017: Great news, New Jersey! The proper sheltering/anti-tethering bill was passed by both the House and the Senate, and now heads to the Governor’s desk. We want to thank all of you who spoke up in support of this humane bill.
New Jersey’s cruelty law is currently silent on dog tethering and provides very limited guidance on what constitutes proper shelter, making it impossible for law enforcement to intervene until an animal is in great distress, even when it’s clear that circumstances pose a danger to an animal’s welfare. Just last winter, animal control was forced to return three hound-mixes to a clearly inhumane housing situation in northern NJ, during a deep freeze, due to the inadequacy of the law.
The public expects animals to be protected from cruelty situations like this, but the current cruelty law does not match this expectation, frustrating both the public and law enforcement.
This very fair bill would give law enforcement the tools needed to help these vulnerable animals by clarifying an owner’s obligations and permitting earlier interventions if necessary. Specifically, it would require either more humane tethering (e.g., a 12-foot tether) or removal of a dog from a tether under certain circumstances (e.g., at night, when tethering is banned), and require that humane shelter is provided to all dogs, companion animals and service animals.