New Jersey Responsible Dog Ownership Act May Require Owners of Large Dogs to Have Fences – CBS New York
LINCOLN PARK, NJ (CBSNewYork) – If you own a dog in New Jersey, you may soon be forced to put a fence around your property.
This is if some lawmakers get what they want.
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As CBS2’s Nick Caloway reports, after a 3-year-old boy was mutilated to death by pit bulls in his backyard in Carteret in March, there is new pressure for legislation to prevent similar attacks. A group of New Jersey lawmakers introduced a bill that would require owners of large dogs to put up fences.
At All Creatures Great and Small Animal Hospital in Fairfield, some pet owners resisted the idea.
“I can’t get most people to call me back to even put together a deck or something.” So getting fined for not having a fence would definitely be a burden, âsaid Donna Sheerin of West Caldwell.
It would be a huge burden on low income families to find thousands of dollars to put up a new fence.
The bill would also create fines for recklessly allowing a dog to roam off leash.
Tanya Kudlacik and Stephanie DeVivo co-founded Brick City Rescue, a foster dog rescue group.
âI don’t think owning a fence makes a dog owner responsible,â DeVivo said.
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She says fencing requirements and fines will force some families to abandon their pets.
âSo they’re going to throw their dogs into shelters, or donate dogs, or euthanize them,â DeVivo said.
The bill’s main sponsor, MP Benjie Wimberly, a Democrat from Paterson, did not respond to our requests for comment, but earlier this month he defended the proposal at a committee meeting, citing public safety.
âI am a dog owner and have been for most of my life. But you can’t put the price on a human in that position, âhe said.
Pet advocates Caloway spoke to said education would be more effective.
âTeaching people to be a responsible pet owner and educating them would be more helpful than just putting a fence around a yard,â Kudlacik said.
A large number of animal rights groups in New Jersey and across the country have spoken out against this bill, and now the legislation is being considered by the Speaker of the Assembly.
âProtecting pets, the public, and in particular our children and vulnerable neighbors, has been the goal of this legislation. To ensure that everyone is and can be protected responsibly, the speaker on Thursday proposed the Responsible Dog Ownership Act for full consideration by the Assembly, âa spokesperson for the speaker said.
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Nick Caloway contributed to this report.