Johnson Bill Clarifying What Classifies as a Vicious and Potentially Dangerous Dog Clears Assembly Panel
(TRENTON) – To more accurately and appropriately determine which dogs are dangerous and vicious enough to truly require euthanization, legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Gordon Johnson to change language in current law which can potentially protect the lives of hundreds of dogs in New Jersey cleared the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee Monday.
“The decision to end a life, whether that life is human or of another species, is an incredibly difficult one, and one which should warrant appropriate reasoning and rationale,” said Johnson (D-Bergen). “While protecting the lives of our residents is our first and foremost priority, there is no need to unnecessarily euthanize a living creature based on a mere suspicion of potential future danger when there may not be enough evidence to suggest that the dog is truly that dangerous.”
Under current law, with regards to vicious dogs, a municipal court is required to deem a dog vicious if there is clear and convincing evidence that the dog has engaged in dog fighting activities and the dog poses a threat of serious bodily injury or death to a person.
The bill (A-1822) revises the current law concerning vicious and potentially dangerous dogs to remove the requirement for courts to deem a dog vicious just for having participated in dog fighting activities, while maintaining the language requiring a dog be designated as vicious if they pose a serious threat to a person.
Additionally, under current law, a municipal court is required to designate a dog as potentially dangerous if there is clear and convincing evidence that the dog both severely killed another domestic animal and poses a threat of serious bodily injury or death to a person or another domestic animal.
This bill also revises this, removing the current provision mandating that courts deem a dog to be potentially dangerous for unprovoked attacks on domestic animals, while maintaining the current requirement that dogs be considered potentially dangerous if there is clear and convincing evidence that the dog has been trained, tormented, badgered, baited or encourage to engage in unprovoked attacks on people only.
The bill now heads to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.