Legislation ( A3825), just introduced in New Jersey by Assembly Member Burzichelli, would effectively eliminate holding periods and allow shelters to kill animals immediately if the animal is deemed inappropriate for adoption because of the animal's medical, physical, or other condition, or aggressive or dangerous behavior. The proposed bill would give shelters unfettered discretion to kill animals.
Holding periods are critical to the current animal equation. When a dog is found in the streets it is the 'holding period' that becomes the animals buffer between life and death. Almost all states use them to enforce some discipline on the power of shelter managers. New York has a five day holding period, meaning they can't kill the animal before those days have passed. These laws were not put in place due to humanitarian concerns, they serve to protect the animal's owner from the grief and anger of finding his/her dog dead a day after they are lost.
This particular law states the animal can be killed immediately if 'the animal is inappropriate for adoption as determined by the owner or operator of the shelter, pound or kennel operating as a shelter or pound, because of the animal's medical, physical, or other condition, or aggressive or dangerous behavior.' The term "other condition" is not defined and as such is a carte blanche to shelter directors to kill at will.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed similar legislation in 2011 citing concern that older or mildly injured animals could be killed immediately. This proposed legislation is even more permissive and thus onerous. It's success also poses a threat of opening the door to other states considering similar legislation.
Debra J. Wolstein
This petition closed almost 3 years ago
We cannot allow a precedent to be set wherein shelter directors are given unfettered discretion to kill animals at will with no holding period. This would not only be disastrous for NJ, but...
We cannot allow a precedent to be set wherein shelter directors are given unfettered discretion to kill animals at will with no holding period. This would not only be disastrous for NJ, but ultimately pose a threat to lost & homeless animals nationwide. Stop this proposed bill in its tracks!