New Jersey legislators are considering a bill that would require increased regulation over animal shelters and rescues in New Jersey, and anyone else importing animals into the state for sale or adoption. The bill, S2625, was passed by the Senate Economic Growth Committee on August 10 and now proceeds to the Budget and Appropriations Committee.
As reported, this bill requires the registration and reporting of certain information by animal importers. The bill defines an “animal importer” as a person who brings a cat or dog into the State from another state or sovereign entity for the purpose of offering the cat or dog for sale, adoption, or transfer in exchange for any fee, sale, voluntary contribution, service, or other consideration is considered an animal importer under the bill, including animal rescues, adoption, or humane relocation, or delivery organizations.
The bill requires an animal importer to register with the Department of Health (department) and report certain business information to the department, including the number of cats and dogs brought into the State by the animal importer in the preceding calendar year and the state or country of origin of a cat or dog brought into the state by the animal importer. The department may inspect any animal importer’s records or place of business, or the condition or health of any cat or dog in the animal importer’s possession, upon request, provided the department does not enter the animal importer’s residence without authorization.
The bill defines an “animal importer” as
a person who brings any cat or dog into the State from any other state or sovereign entity for the purpose of offering the cat or dog for sale, adoption, or transfer in exchange for any fee, sale, voluntary contribution, service, or other consideration. “Animal importer” includes any commercial or nonprofit animal rescue, adoption, or humane relocation or delivery organization that is not otherwise required to be licensed by the Department of Health.
The bill also requires anyone intending to offer animals for adoption or sale to notify a municipality of plans to offer for sale, adoption, or transfer cats or dogs at a location that is open to the public or at an outdoor location, including a parking lot or shopping center. These parking lot adoption events are of great concern because truck loads of dogs and sometimes other animals, often infected with contagious diseases or congenital or behavioral disorders are transported from random out of state sources to owners with no idea about the issues they are about to adopt along with their new pet, and with no warranty or return policy they can rely upon.
The bill does not just effect animal rescue groups. It would also require an animal grooming facility or animal training facility to obtain a municipal license, based on rules and regulations to be promulgated by the state Department of Health (DOH).
Increased regulation over pets being sold through rescue and shelter entities is desperately needed to protect animal and human health. This bill represents another important step to achieve those goals.
While rules governing animal grooming or training facilities may be difficult to draft, this approach to regulating these industries is much more desirable and achievable than other efforts previously advanced. Existing DOH sanitation and disease control regulations can be modified and applied to grooming and training facilities.