New Jersey Guide Dog Protection Bill Signed Into Law Today!

“Dusty’s Law,” which establishes criminal penalties for killing, injuring, or interfering with a service animal or guide dog in New Jersey, was signed into law today (January 21, 2014) and takes effect immediately.

Under the provisions of this new law, it is a crime of the fourth degree for a person to recklessly kill a service animal or guide dog, or to recklessly permit a dog that he or she owns or has immediate control over, to kill a service animal or guide dog. Fourth degree crimes are punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 18 months, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. 

A person who recklessly injures a service animal or guide dog, or recklessly permits a dog that he or she owns or has immediate control over, to injure a service animal or guide dog is a disorderly persons offense.

Disorderly persons offenses are punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to six months, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

A person who recklessly interferes with the use of a service animal or guide dog, or who recklessly permits a dog that he or she owns or over which he or she has immediate control to interfere with a guide dog, by obstructing, intimidating, or otherwise jeopardizing the safety of that service animal or guide dog or its handler, is guilty of a petty disorderly persons offense. Petty disorderly persons offenses are punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 30 days, a fine of up to $500, or both.

Dusty’s Law also requires a person who recklessly kills, injures, or interferes with a service animal or guide dog to pay restitution.

Restitution under the bill includes, but is not limited to, the value of the service animal or guide dog; replacement and training or retraining expenses for the service animal or guide dog and the handler; veterinary and other medical and boarding expenses for the service animal or guide dog; medical expenses for the handler; and lost wages or income incurred by the handler during any period that the handler is without the services of the service animal or guide dog.

A person acts “recklessly” with respect to a material element of an offense under this State’s criminal code when he or she consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the material element exists or will result from his or her conduct. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that, considering the nature and purpose of the person’s conduct and the circumstances known to the person, its disregard involves a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the person’s situation.

The text of the bill that was signed into law on Tuesday, January 21, 2014 can be found at:

http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2012/Bills/S2000/1907_R1.HTM

 

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