PIJAC

New Jersey pet care experts urge Senate to protect companion animals

Contact Information

 

Dustin Siggins
PIJAC Communications Director
(202) 452-1525 Ext. 1080
Dutsin@PIJAC.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Four New Jersey pet care professionals and a national leader in animal advocacy today called on state Senators to support Governor Chris Christie’s conditional veto of Senate Bill 3041. The bill, which would undermine New Jersey’s Pet Purchase Protection Act, is before the Senate tomorrow for a veto override vote.

Overriding the veto risks pet health, consumer choice, and jobs said the five experts on a press conference call.

“I hope that New Jersey’s Senators will recognize…Overriding Governor Christie’s veto is tantamount to putting your constituents out of work, and undermining the pet protection law that was enacted just two years ago. Our four-legged friends deserve better than being put at risk by misguided legislation,” said Furrylicious owner Cindy Knowles.

Knowles, who employs 10 people, described how her company differentiates between unethical breeders who put profits before pets, and responsible breeders who provide healthy cats and dogs to her store and others.

Shake-A-Paw’s Jeff Morton said that Senate Bill 3041 is going after New Jersey’s “most highly regulated source of cats and dogs…” According to Morton, “Online, street, and other sales are not regulated at all, yet S3041 does nothing to stop these illegal sales where animals are abused, malnourished, and otherwise made second to profits.”

“At Shake-A-Paw, we are proud to put pets first,” continued Morton. “We cannot do this if S3041 becomes law, and so I urge the Senate to uphold Governor Christie’s conditional veto.”

Bark Avenue owner Gary Hager of Red Bank said that customers rely on his store for pets that have specific traits to fit their needs. According to Hager, “we’ve placed probably over 2,700 puppies in their forever homes with loving families, with ones that specifically wanted access to hypoallergenic, very specific breeds…”

Hager went on to say that Senate Bill 3041 “doesn’t serve the state, it doesn’t serve the constituents, it doesn’t serve the consumers.”

Animal cruelty investigator, New Jersey Federation of Dog Clubs President, and dog education expert Jeffrey Ball said that hobby breeders like himself are at risk if the governor’s veto is overridden.

“The [bill’s]…vague language in the ‘pet dealer’ definition would force many families, responsible owners, and enthusiasts into the category of ‘commercial enterprise,’ just because they were in a situation to transfer 10 pets in any one year,” said Ball, whose Great Danes can sometimes have more than 10 pets in a single litter. “An even bigger issue is that most municipalities do not allow commercial enterprises such as animal “dealers” in residential zones. This means if you are a hobby breeder or your family has a one-time litter of puppies or kittens, you could be in violation of state and local zoning laws, and forced to choose between your home and your hobby.”

Pet Industry Joint Advisory President Council Mike Bober said his organization was supporting the state-based small businesses, and he praised Christie for the conditional veto because Senate Bill 3041 “has an online reporting requirement that may be illegal – and, therefore, risks putting taxpayers on the hook for lawsuits against the state.”

Bober, whose organization advocates on behalf of animals across the country, also told a reporter that New Jersey’s pet shops are under strict state provisions related to transparency, animal health, and warranties, in addition to federal restrictions on breeder sourcing.

Note: On Tuesday, Bober told New Jersey 101.5 host Bill Spadea why state Senators should not override Governor Christie’s vote. That interview can be heard here.