The controversial legislation mandates dog owners install fences for “larger dogs”. The legislation equates responsible dog ownership with fencing dogs inside a yard as a way to ensure public safety from dog attacks.
The bill’s main sponsor, Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly, a Democrat from Paterson feels that Responsible Dog Ownership Act will keep neighbors safe.
Opponents cite the bill is unenforceable and punitive in nature.
Here are the main points that were brought up by those opposed to the bill:
- 99% of municipalities in NJ already have leash laws and ordinances in place that require dog owners to act responsibly; municipalities need to crack down and enforce these regulations consistently. Enforce leash laws, not fencing laws.
- Requiring dog owners to install fencing is punitive for those of lower socioeconomic means, and could lead to dog owners giving up their dogs because they cannot afford to put up the required fencing.
- NJ has a statute that prohibits passing legislation that discriminates against certain dog breeds. By targeting “large dogs” the fencing aspect of the bill attempts to circumvent that statute.
- Dog owners who can’t afford to meet the bill’s requirements may have to give up their beloved dogs to a shelter, causing shelters to be overwhelmed across the state.
- The bill could discourage people from adopting dogs especially large dogs, leading more dogs to be euthanized in shelters. The threat of potential costs, overall stigma, and visits from law enforcement could have a chilling effect on ownership for all types of dogs, not just large breeds.
- This bill could actually increase the number of unleased/unrestrained dogs, and give rise to more attacks. Dog owners who cannot afford the mandatory fencing and/or are afraid of other aspects of the bill may simply turn their dogs loose in the neighborhood, hoping someone else will take the dogs in, rather than turn them over to a shelter.
- The bill may discourage dog owners, particularly those with large dogs, from registering their pets, hiding them from local officials and others. This could lead to pet owners forgoing vet visits and routine medical care for their pets as well.
- The fencing provisions in the bill would not have avoided either of tragedies that occurred that spurred the bill’s movement: in both the incident in Paterson 8 years ago and the one that just happened in Carteret, the dogs resided at homes with fencing.
- National studies show that 90% of dog owners do not have fencing, and this bill would be prohibitively expensive for many residents. The average cost for installing 150 linear feet of fence ranges anywhere from $3,000 to $9,000 dollars.
- Small dogs are just as dangerous as large dogs, yet large dogs are being singled out.
To read more about this Controversial Bill CLICK HERE