Senator Declan O’Scanlon and Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso have introduced legislation that will increase certain animal abuse crimes to the second degree level. Convictions for second degree crimes carry penalties of five to 10 years imprisonment and fines of up to $150,000.
The legislation is named for River, a pitbull/mix that was rescued by a Good Samaritan, Jennifer Vaz of Highlands, who discovered the dog caged and left to drown on the banks of the Shrewbury River at Veterans Memorial Park last June.
Aaron Davis of Long Branch is awaiting trail on third and fourth degree animal cruelty charges for allegedly leaving River caged to drown. If passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor, such future offenses will carry second degree penalties.
“We’ve been working on this legislation for months behind the scenes to make sure that it does exactly what we want it to do: create an accurate punishment for abhorrent, malicious treatment of animals,” said O’Scanlon. “Anyone who has ever come to my office has met my dog Fin, I bring him with me all the time. He is truly an important member of my family and a best friend to myself and my children. It is unfathomable to me that any person could deliberately hurt an animal. They put their complete trust in us, and anyone who would consciously and purposefully torture or kill them–like what was done to River–deserves the greatest punishment that we can deliver.”
O’Scanlon’s bill, S-3453,was introduced in the Senate on February 7 and assigned to the Senate Environment and Energy Committee. DiMaso introduced an identical bill, A-5022,which was assigned to the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
I’m proud to introduce this legislation creating the second degree crime of aggravated animal abuse. On behalf of the animals that love us, we must hold accountable those people who commit horrific acts against them. Finneas approves of this legislation!https://t.co/KaWPJHygF3 pic.twitter.com/uEKGL7z95i
— Declan O’Scanlon (@declanoscanlon) February 8, 2019