NJ Laws & Regulations

New Jersey Laws and Regulations

Criminal Charges

4:22-17. Cruelty; disorderly persons offense
a. A person who shall :

1. Overdrive, overload, drive when overloaded, overwork, deprive of necessary sustenance, abuse, or needlessly kill a living animal or creature;

2. Cause or procure any such acts to be done; or

3. Inflict unnecessary cruelty upon a living animal or creature, or unnecessarily fail to provide a living animal or creature of which the person has charge either as an owner or otherwise with proper food, drink, shelter or protection from the weather, or leave it unattended in a vehicle under inhumane conditions adverse to the health or welfare of the living animal or creature-Shall be guilty of a disorderly persons offense, and notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:43-3 to the contrary, for every such offense shall be fined not less than $250 nor more than $1000, or be imprisoned for a term of not more than six months, or both, in the discretion of the court. In addition, the court (1) shall impose a term of community service of up to 30 days, and may direct that the term of community service be served in providing assistance to the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a district (county) society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or any other recognized organization concerned with the prevention of cruelty to animals or the humane treatment and care of animals, or to a municipality’s animal control or animal population control program; (2) may require the violator to pay restitution or otherwise reimburse any costs for food, drink, shelter or veterinary care or treatment, or other costs, incurred by any agency, entity, or organization investigating the violation, including but not limited to the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a district (county) society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, any other recognized organization concerned with the prevention of cruelty to animals or the humane treatment and care of animals, or a local or State governmental entity; and (3) may impose any other appropriate penalties established for a disorderly persons offense pursuant to Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes.

b. A person who shall purposely, knowingly, or recklessly:

1. Torment, torture, maim, hang, poison, unnecessarily or cruelly beat or neelessly mutilate a living animal or creature; or

2. Cause or procure any such acts to be done-
Shall be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

If the animal or creature is cruelly killed or dies as a result of a violation of this subsection, the person shall be guilty of a crime of the third degree.

For a violation of this subsection, in addition to imposing any other appropriate penalties established for a crime of the third degree or a crime of the fourth degree, as the case may be, pursuant to Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes, the court shall impose a term of community service of up to 30 days, and may direct that the term of community service be served in providing assistance to the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a district (county) society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or any other recognized organization concerned with the prevention of cruelty to animals, or the humane treatment and care of animals, or to a municipality’s animal control or animal population control program. The court also may require the violator to pay restitution or otherwise reimburse any costs for food, drink, shelter or veterinary care or treatment, or other costs, incurred by any agency, entity, or organization investigating the violation, including but not limited to the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a district (county) society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, any other recognized organization concerned with the prevention of cruelty to animals or the humane treatment and care of animals, or to a municipality’s animal control or animal population control program.

c. If a juvenile is adjudicated delinquent for an act which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a disorderly persons offense pursuant to subsection a. of this section or a crime of the third degree or crime of the fourth degree pursuant to subsection b. of this section, the court also shall order the juvenile to receive mental health counseling by a licensed psychologist or therapist named by the court for a period of time to be prescribed by the licensed psychologist or therapist.

4:22-18 Carrying animal in cruel, inhumane manner; disorderly persons offense
A person who shall carry, or cause to be carried, a living animal or creature in or upon a vehicle or otherwise, in a cruel or inhumane manner, shall be guilty of a disorderly persons offense and punished as provided in subsection a. of R.S.4:22-17.

4:22-19 Failure to care for or destruction of impounded animals; penalties; collection
A person who shall:
a. Impound or confine, or cause to be impounded or confined, in a pound or other place, aliving animal or creature, and shall fail to supply it during such confinement with a sufficient quantity of good and wholesome food and water; or
b. Destroy or cause to be destroyed any such animal by hypoxia induced by decompression or in any other manner, by the administration of a lethal gas other than an inhalant anesthetic, or in any other manner except by a method of euthanasia generally accepted by the veterinary medical profession as being reliable, appropriate to the type of animal upon which it is to be employed, and capable of producing loss of consciousness and death as rapidly and painlessly as possible for such animal shall, in the case of a violation of subsection a., be guilty of a disorderly persons offense and shall be punished as provided in subsection a. of R.S.4:22-17; or, in the case of a violation of subsection b., be subject to a penalty of $25 for the first offense and $50 for each subsequent offense. The penalty shall be collected in accordance with the “Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999,” P.L.1999, c.274 (C2A:58-10 et. seq.) and all money collected shall be remitted to the State.

This section shall apply to kennels, pet shops, shelters and pounds as defined and licensed pursuant to P.L.1941, c. 151 (C.4:19-15.1 et seq.); to pounds and places of confinement owned and operated by municipalities, counties or regional governmental authorities; and to every contractual warden or impounding service, any provision to the contrary in this title notwithstanding.

4:22-20. Abandoning disabled animal to die in public place; abandoning domesticated animal; disorderly persons offense
a. a person who shall abandon a maimed, sick, infirm or disabled animal or creature to die in a public place, shall be guilty of a disorderly persons offense.
b. A person who shall abandon a domesticated animal shall be guilty of a disorderly persons offense. The violator shall be subject to the maximum $1000 penalty.

4:22-21. Sale of horses unfit for work; disorderly persons offense
A person who shall receive or offer for sale a horse that is suffering from abuse or neglect, or which by reason of disability, disease, abuse or lameness, or for any other cause, could not be worked, ridden or otherwise used for show, exhibition, or recreational purposes, or kept as a domestic pet without violating the provisions of this article or any law of this State relating to cruelty to animals shall be guilty of a disorderly persons offense.

4:22-22. Use or disposal of animals having contagious diseases; crime of the fourth degree
A person who shall:

a. Willfully sell, or offer to sell, use, expose, or cause to permit to be sold or offered for sale, used or exposed, any horse or other animal having the disease known as glanders or farcy, or other contagious or infectious disease dangerous to the health or life of human beings or animals; or
b. When any such disease is beyond recovery, refuse upon demand to deprive any such animal of life-
Shall be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

4:22-23. Use of live birds as targets; disorderly persons offense
A person who shall:
a. Use a live pidgeon, fowl or other bird for the purpose of a target, or to be shot at either for amusement or as a test of skill in marksmanship;
b. Shoot as a bird used as described in subsection a. of this section, or is a party to such shooting; or
c. Lease a building, room, field or premises, or knowingly permit the use thereof for the purpose of such shooting-

Shall be guilty of a disorderly persons offense, and shall, in addition to any penalty assessed therefore, be fined $25 for each bird shot at or killed in violation of this section.
This section shall not apply to the shooting of game.

4:22-24. Fighting or baiting animals or creatures and related offenses
A person who shall:
a. Keep, use, be connected with or interested in the management of, or receive money for the admission of a person to, a place kept or used for the purpose of fighting or baiting a living animal or creature;
b. Be present and witness, pay admission to, encourage or assist therein;
c. Permit or suffer a place owned or controlled by him to be so used;
d. For amusement or gain, cause, allow, or permit the fighting or baiting of a living animal or creature;
e. Own, possess, keep, train, promote, purchase or knowingly sell a living animal or creature for the purpose of fighting or baiting that animal or creature; or
f. Gamble on the outcome of a fight involving a living animal or creature-

Shall be guilty of a crime of the third degree.

4:22-25.1. Motorist hitting domestic animal to stop; report
Each person operating a motor vehicle who shall knowingly hit, run over, or cause injury to a cat, dog, horse or cattle shall stop at once, ascertain the extent of injury, report to the nearest police station, police officer, or notify the nearest Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and give his name, address, operator’s license and registration number, and also give the location of the injured animal.

4:22-25.2. Punishment for violation
Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of section 1 of 4:22-25.1 shall be guilty of a petty disorderly persons offense.

4:22-25.4. Prohibition of sale of dog or cat flesh
Any person who sells, barters, or offers for sale or barter, at wholesale or retail, for human consumption, the flesh of a domestic dog or cat or any product made in whole or in part from the flesh of a domestic dog or cat commits a disorderly persons offense, provided that the person knew or reasonably should have known that the flesh was from a domestic dog or cat or the product was made in whole or in part from the flesh of a domestic dog or cat. Notwithstanding the provisions of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes to the contrary, any person found guilty of violating this section shall be subject to a fine of not less than $100 and a term of imprisonment of not less than 30 days.

As used in this section, “domestic dog or cat” means a dog (Canis familiaris) or cat (Felis catus or Felis domesticus) that is generally recognized in the United States as being a household pet and shall not include coyote, fox, lynx, bobcat, or any other wild canine or feline species.

Civil Charges

4:22-26. Acts constituting cruelty in general; penalty
A person who shall:

a.

1.
Overdrive, Overdrive, overload, drive when overloaded, overwork, deprive of necessary sustenance, abuse, or needlessly kill a living animal or creature, or cause or procure any such acts to be done;

2.
Torment, torture, maim, hang, poison, unnecessarily or cruelly beat or neelessly mutilate a living animal or creature; or cause or procure any such acts to be done-

3.
Cruelly kill, or cause or procure the cruel killing of, a living animal or creature, or otherwise cause or procure the death of a living animal or creature from commission of any act described in paragraph (2) of this subsection;

b. (Deleted by amendment, P.L.2003, c.232).

c. Inflict unnecessary cruelty upon a living animal or creature, or unnecessarily fail to provide a living animal or creature of which the person has charge either as an owner or otherwise with proper food, drink, shelter or protection from the weather, or leave it unattended in a vehicle under inhumane conditions adverse to the health or welfare of the living animal or creature-

d. Receive or offer for sale a horse that is suffering from abuse or neglect, or which by reason of disability, disease, abuse or lameness, or any other cause, could not be worked, ridden or otherwise used for show, exhibition or recreational purposes, or kept as a domestic pet without violating the provisions of this article;

e. Keep, use, be connected with or interested in the management of, or receive money or other consideration for the admission of a person to a place kept or used for the purpose of fighting or baiting a living animal or creature;

f. Be present and witness, pay admission to, encourage, aid or assist in an activity enumerated in subsection e. of this section;

g .Permit or suffer a place owned or controlled by him to be used as provided in subsection e. of this section;

h. Carry, or cause to be carried, a living animal or creature in or upon a vehicle or otherwise, in a cruel or inhumane manner;

i. Use a dog or dogs for the purpose of drawing or helping to draw a vehicle for business purposes;

j. Impound or confine or cause to be impounded or confined in a pound or other place a living animal or creature, and shall fail to supply it during such confinement with a sufficient quantity of good and wholesome food and water;

k. Abandon a maimed, sick, infirm or disabled animal or creature to die in a public place;

l. Willfully sell, or offer to sell, use, expose, or cause or permit to be sold or offered for sale, used or exposed, a horse or other animal having the disease known as glanders or farcy, or other contagious or infectious disease dangerous to the health or life of human beings or animals, or who shall, when any such disease is beyond recovery, refuse, upon demand, to deprive the animal of life;

m. Own, operate, manage or conduct a roadside stand or market for the sale of merchandise along a public street or highway; or a shopping mall, or a part of the premises thereof, and keep a living animal or creature confined, or allowed to roam in an area whether or not the area is enclosed, on these premises as an exhibit; except that this subsection shall not be applicable to:
a pet shop licensed pursuant to P.L.1941, c.151 (C.4:19-15.1 et. seq.); a person who keeps an animal , in a humane manner, for the purpose of the protection of the premises; or a recognized breeders association, a 4-H club, an educational agricultural program, an equestrian team, a humane society or other similar charitable or nonprofit organization conducting an exhibition, show or performance;

n. Keep or exhibit a wild animal at a roadside stand or market located along a public street or highway of this State; a gasoline station; or a shopping mall, or a part of the premises thereof;

o. Sell, offer for sale, barter or give away or display live baby chicks, ducklings or other fowl or rabbits, turtles or chameleons which have been dyed or artificially colored or otherwise treated so as to impart to them an artificial color.

p. Use any animal, reptile or fowl for the purpose of soliciting any alms, collections, contributions, subscriptions, donations, or payment of money except in connection with exhibitions, shows or performances conducted in a bona fide manner by recognized breeders’ associations, 4-H clubs or other similar bona fide organizations;

q. Sell or offer for sale, barter or give away living rabbits, turtles, baby chicks, ducklings or other fowl under two months of age, for use as household or domestic pets;

r. Sell, offer for sale, barter or give away living baby chicks, duckling or other fowl, or rabbits, turtles or chameleons under two months of age for any purpose not prohibited by subsection q. of this section and who shall fail to provide proper facilities for the care of such animals;

s. Atificially mark sheep or cattle, or cause them to be marked, by cropping or cutting off both ears, cropping or cutting either ear more than one inch from the tip enf thereof, or half cropping or cutting both ears or either ear more than one inch from the tip end thereof, or who shall have or keep in the person’s possession sheep or cattle, which the person claims to own, marked contrary to this subsection unless they were bought in market or of a stranger;

t. Abandon a domesticated animal;

u. For amusement or gain, cause, allow, or permit the fighting or baiting of a living animal or creature;

v. Own, possess, keep, train, promote, purchase or knowingly sell a living animal or creature for the purpose of fighting or baiting that animal or creature;

w. Gamble on the outcome of a fight involving a living animal or creature;

y. Knowingly sell or barter or offer for sale or barter, at wholesale or retail, for human consumption, the flesh of a domestic dog or cat or any product made in whole or in part from the flesh of a domestic dog or cat;

z. Surgically debark or silence a dog in violation of section 1 or 2 of P.L.2002, c. 102 (C:4:19-38 or C.4:19-39);

aa. Use a live pidgeon, fowl or other bird for the purpose of a target, or to be shot at either for amusement or as a test of skill in marksmanship, except that this subsection and subsections bb. And cc. shall not apply to the shooting of game;

bb. Shoot as a bird used as described in subsection aa. of this section, or is a party to such shooting; or
cc. Lease a building, room, field or premises, or knowingly permit the use thereof for the purposes of subsection aa. Or bb. Of this section-

Shall forfeit and pay a sum according to the following schedule, to be sued for and discovered, with costs, in a civil action by any person in the name of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals;

For a violation of subsections e.,f.,g.,u.,v.,w., or z. of this section or of paragraph (3) of subsection a. of this section, or for a second or subsequent violation of paragraph(2) of subsection a. of this section, a sum of up to $5000.
For a violation of subsection l. of this section or for a first violation of paragraph (2) of subsection a. of this section, a sum of up to $3000.
For a violation of subsections x. or y. of this section, a sum of up to $1000 for each domestic dog or cat fur or fur or hair product or domestic dog or cat carcass or meat product;
For a violation of subsection t. of this section, a sum of not less than $500 nor more than $1000, but if the violation occurs on or near a highway, a mandatory sum of up to $1000; and
For a violation of subsections I.,m.,n.,o.,p.,q.,r., or s. of this section, a sum of up to $500.