NJ considers making it easier to safely surrender unwanted pets
Following the recent tragedies in New Jersey of dogs being left abandoned or dead in crates and cardboard boxes, two state lawmakers have introduced legislation to protect unwanted animals.
Assemblymen Parker Space, R-Sussex, and Hal Wirths, R-Sussex have introduced a bill with bipartisan support giving owners an option to safely surrender their pets.
Wirths cited several incidents that sparked the bill including a deceased brindle-pit bull mix found in a crate in the woods of Millville. Last May, a 10-week-old golden retriever was found trapped in a cage and drowned in a lake in West Milford. In October 2018, a woman was fined for abandoning her blind and deaf Boston terrier in a field near Teterboro Airport. An elderly poodle was dumped in a cardboard box near an animal shelter in Monmouth County on a scorching summer day.
Wirths said the propose law would be an education plan put out by the Department of Health to let people know how they could anonymously drop off a pet that they can't take care of any longer, rather than abandon it in an unsafe environment.
Wirths said the New Jersey Safe Haven for Protection of Domestic Companion Animals Act is similar to the New Jersey Safe Haven law for unwanted babies. Under that bill, parents can anonymously leave unwanted babies in secure, safe locations with no punishment and no questions asked.
Under the pet bill, there is no punishment and no cost to those who surrender their animals to shelters, kennels, veterinary hospitals and police stations.
"This is the right thing to do. It's already illegal, obviously, to abandon an animal and there are strict penalties. This will allow, hopefully no excuse for anybody to do something horrific," said Wirths.
He believes this law is something that is needed in New Jersey, even if it only saves several pets a year.
"Anyone who cares about animals, should care about the bill," he added.