Sister bills S2689 and A4225 have been introduced and reported out of the Senate Committee with amendments and the Assembly Committee, respectively. The bills would change the effective dates of some of the provisions of the law that Governor Christie signed just before leaving office that stripped law enforcement authority from the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and transferred it to county prosecutors. The law also required each municipality to designate a municipal law enforcement officer within each existing police department.
As described in the bill statement:
the revised effective dates for the various sections of P.L.2017, c.331 would be as follows, listed in chronological order of when they already took effect or will take effect in the future because of this bill:
- Section 33 (which prohibits the NJSPCA from taking certain actions with regard to the charters of county societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals, and provides that the act should not be construed to require county societies to surrender any of their assets) took effect on January 16, 2018, and would remain in effect under the bill.
- Section 34 (which pertains to certain responsibilities of the Attorney General under the act) of P.L.2017, c.331 took effect on January 16, 2018, and would remain in effect under the bill.
- Sections 25 (which pertains to municipal responsibilities under the act), 26 (which pertains to applications for designation as a municipal humane law enforcement officer), 27 (which pertains to continuing eligibility of former humane law enforcement officers or agents), and 28 (which pertains to county prosecutor responsibilities under the act) of P.L.2017, c.331 took effect on May 1, 2018, and would remain in effect under the bill.
- Section 29 (which pertains to applications for designation as a humane law enforcement officer of a county society for the prevention of cruelty to animals) of P.L.2017, c.331 would take effect on August 1, 2018.
- Section 35 (which repeals certain sections of existing law concerning the NJSPCA) of P.L.2017, c.331 would continue under this bill to take effect on August 1, 2018.
- Sections 1 through 5 and sections 7 through 24, 30, and 31 of P.L.2017, c.331 would continue under this bill to take effect on August 1, 2018.
- Section 6 (which pertains to the appointment of certified animal control officers) of P.L.2017, c.331 and section 32 (which pertains to county societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals) of P.L.2017, c.331 would take effect on February 1, 2019.
- Finally, the bill, would change the date of the repeal of section 8 of P.L.1997, c.247 (C.4:19-15.16c) from August 1, 2018 to February 1, 2019.
Tim Martin, lobbyist for the NJSPCA, testified at the Senate Environment and Energy Committee on Monday, June 18, 2018, in support of the proposed extensions in the law. The NJ Association of Counties and County Prosecutors Association were also supportive of the bill since it permits counties and municipalities to work out kinks related to training, funding, and sheltering. All 21 counties have already named municipal humane law enforcement officers and assistant prosecutors have been named in all counties to deal with animal cruelty cases. Curriculum has been adopted for official state law enforcement training by the New Jersey Police Training Commission, based on pre-existing training used for Animal Cruelty Investigators and NJSPCA officers.