August 2020 - Being a Responsible Pet Owner
If you adopted a pet while under recent stay-at-home orders, congratulations! You’re in good company. Shelters across the country reported a record number of adoption and foster applications during the pandemic, allowing them to place most of their animals in homes.
Your furry companion may have started out as a welcome distraction in an otherwise trying time, but he or she is a commitment. New Jersey has several laws to promote responsible pet ownership and protect you, your community, and your pets from injury.Licenses
All dogs and, in some municipalities, cats must be licensed. Proof of rabies vaccine or certificate of exemption under State Department Health regulations is required. Fines apply for failure to license your pet.Dog Bites
New Jersey is a strict liability state regarding dog bites, meaning you can be held liable in a civil lawsuit for injuries incurred if your pet bites someone while that person is on public property or legally on private property. This also covers injuries from your dog jumping on or otherwise attacking someone.Leash Laws
Local municipalities have the authority to pass and enforce leash laws, which serve several purposes, including reducing:
- accidents caused by pets running into traffic;
- fights with other unrestrained animals and/or wildlife
- exposure to canine diseases like Parvo and Distemper which can be transmitted through animal waste.
On a sunny 70-degree day, temperatures inside a car can rise to 104 degrees in half an hour; 113 degrees in an hour. Under these conditions, a pet can suffer from heatstroke in only 15 minutes.
The first time you’re caught leaving an unattended pet in a car in New Jersey, you could be charged as a disorderly person and fined between $250 and $1,000. If your pet dies, the charge can rise to a 4th degree crime, and if you have a prior conviction, to a 3rd degree crime.
Note: We’re the only state to consider driving with loose pets in your car an act of animal cruelty.
Have a safe – and pet-friendly – summer!