A bill that would ban the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet shops in the state of New Jersey, US, has been championed again by politicians after previous attempts failed. On 4th December 2023, the state Senate Economic Growth committee heard from animal advocates on the proposed Bill S4079, including former state Sen. Ray Lesniak, who appeared in Trenton to testify in support of the bill. He co-sponsored another bill aiming for the same in 2017 that was vetoed by then-Gov. Chris Christie. Sen. Ray Lesniak said, “We were there. We were there at the finish line. Now, this is certainly the time to take it up again.”
Despite the current laws that should already prevent irresponsible companion animal traders, there has been a lack of oversight that has allowed them to sell dogs in New Jersey stores. Other states, including New York, have passed similar bills to protect companion animals. Brian Hackett, with the Associated Humane Society, said, “If New Jersey doesn’t pass this law in 2024, some of those bad actors in New York are going to come across the river to our state.”
Pet shops found to be selling cats, dogs, or rabbits would face a $500 fine for each violation. Unfortunately, the bill does not prevent the sales of exotics, and pet stores could still sell snakes or lizards. Animal rescue organizations and shelters would be prohibited from obtaining cats, dogs, or rabbits from breeders.
The bill, which is sponsored by Sen. Brian Stack (D-Hudson), has yet to be voted at the committee and it’s unclear if a vote will be scheduled before the legislative session ends in early January. There is not an Assembly companion bill on this issue.