By Erika N. Chen-Walsh
October 12, 2012
The New Jersey Legislature is gearing up to restrict the ownership of exotic animals, including reptiles. On September 20, 2012, the New Jersey Senate introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 127 which was referred to the Senate Economic Growth Committee. SCR 127 seeks to establish a task force on the “Illegal Trade and Inhumane Treatment of Endangered and Exotic Animals.” On the same day it was introduced and referred to committee, it was released from committee with amendments and had its second reading.
October 11, 2012, the New Jersey Assembly introduced Concurrent Resolution 163, the Assembly companion bill to SCR 127, which was referred to the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
The task force members, as defined in both Resolutions, are stacked heavily in favor of the animal rights industry and shall include the following:
One member with significant managerial experience at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection or the United States Environmental Protection Agency, who shall serve as chairperson of the task force;
b. One member representing the nonprofit organization known as Big Cat Rescue;
c. One member representing the nonprofit organization known as EcoHealth Alliance;
d. One member representing the nonprofit organization known as the Humane Society of the United States; and
e. Two members of the public, one of whom shall be appointed by the President of the Senate and one of whom shall be appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly, both of whom shall not hold elective office, and who shall have substantial knowledge and expertise related to endangered and exotic animals.
The full text of SCR 127 can be read here: http://legiscan.com/gaits/text/664110
The full text of ACR 163 can be read here: http://legiscan.com/gaits/text/665821
On October 4, 2012, the New Jersey Senate introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 2233 which seeks to modify New Jersey’s existing statute regarding ownership of exotic animals to include a new provision requiring $250,000 in liability insurance for every applicant of a permit to possess a “live potentially dangerous indigenous animal or a live potentially dangerous exotic animal” prior to the issuance of the permit.
On October 11, 2012, SCR 2233’s companion bill, ACR 3338 was introduced in the New Jersey Assembly and was referred to the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee.
The full text of SCR 2233 can be read here: http://legiscan.com/gaits/text/665599
The full text of ACR 163 can be read here: http://legiscan.com/gaits/text/665815
Importantly, SCR 2233 and ACR 163 allow the specific “potentially dangerous exotic animals” and “potentially dangerous indigenous animals” to be determined through administrative rule. However, both definitions include reptiles and amphibians explicitly.
Wake up, New Jersey, and be prepared for to fight to protect your exotic pets.