Dog owners in New Jersey could face 5-10 years in prison under new bill for unleashing

TRENTON, NJ – If you own a dog in New Jersey, you should know that a new bill is in the works that could turn you into a criminal and have local building inspectors at your front door.

 If a Democrat-sponsored bill in Trenton passes and is signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy, dog owners who don’t have fences will be subjected to the same law that penalizes child sex offenders, child pornographers, and child rapists. If Republicans ever proposed such a bill, Democrats would call it “Dogs in cages”.

We reported on this last month here: Jersey Democrats Propose 5-10 Year Prison Terms For Dog Owners Who Don’t Follow This New Rule

Democrats in Trenton want New Jersey dog owners to do better. If a new bill proposed by state Democrats passes, it would mean that part of your municipal dog licensing process will also involve the local building department. Democrats want all dog owners to be required to fence in their yards.

They are calling it the “Responsible Dog Ownership Act“.

Republicans are calling it among the worst examples of government overreach, Senator Christopher Connors, Assemblyman Brian Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne Gove oppose legislation (A-2401) that would require dog leashing and fencing requirements throughout the State.

“Imposing leashing and fencing requirements on dog owners is the nanny state at its worst. The overwhelming majority of dog owners are responsible people who take great care to ensure their dogs do not run loose on the streets, let alone pose as a threat to public safety,” the shore Republican team said in a statement. “Requiring dog owners to put up fencing would be a severe financial hardship and a drastic measure that distorts the meaning of what really is in the interest of public safety. With all the challenges that our state currently faces, do we really need to add dog leashes and fencing to the laundry list of existing regulations that interfere in the everyday lives of New Jerseyans?  It’s impractical to add fencing in many places and can cost thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.”

“The Legislature finds and declares that there is a need to focus attention on the behavior of, and safe interaction with, all dogs in the communities of the State; that children are at particular risk from confrontations with unrestrained dogs, due to the size of children in relation to many dogs, but also because of their innocence, inexperience, and emotional perceptions; that dog owners embrace their role as caretakers and trainers of their dogs and are likely to be the first to wish to curtail any negative interactions between themselves, their dogs, children, and any other members of the communities in which they live; and that any regulation of dog behavior must be implemented with consideration, forethought, and reasonableness for the good of both the public and dog owners in the State,” the bill reads. “The Legislature, therefore, determines that it is in the public interest and for the well being of our children and our dogs that the State develop leashing and fencing requirements for dogs, to be implemented by the municipalities in the State, and establish penalties for certain violations that threaten the safety of our children and all members of our communities, all of which are in keeping with responsible dog ownership to which so many, if not all, dog owners in the State are committed and subscribe.”

“The legislation goes so far in the extreme as to require standards for the height and dimensions of the fence area.  Municipalities would be required to enact ordinances and establish a dedicated fund for enforcing the legislation’s requirements with money from dog licenses and penalties for enforcement activity,” the Republican contingent said. “Yes, we understand that the legislation was introduced in reaction to a deadly and violent attack involving two pit bulls.  However, these cases are rare and usually involve bad actors or people who display bad judgement who would simply ignore regulations if imposed. Responsible dog owners would be the only people feeling the real impact of such regulations. And it’s important to note that New Jersey already has laws on the book for vicious and potentially dangerous dogs.”

The GOP team said Trenton already oversees an imposing and extensive bureaucratic regulatory system.  COVID has created even more fiscal challenges for municipalities that cannot afford to act as Trenton’s enforcement agents for excessive and unnecessary regulations that residents don’t want and many simply can’t afford.

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