New Jersey to Consider Animal Cruelty as a Lifelong ‘Conviction’-Guilty or Not!!
Maybe this will get people to pay attention to the ramifications imposed on people falsely accused of animal cruelty as the Animal Rights Extremists are attempting to forge ahead with more laws that make the lives of animals more important than people. The new proposed New Jersey law applies to both criminal and civil charges/procedures even thou a person can loose their animals thru civil procedure and never convicted of any crime.
Now consider the reality of what this really means…A person who is charged with a crime against their PROPERTY can then be punished the rest of their lives, even if there was no criminal conviction and an agreement was made to give up that PROPERTY; grouped together with people convicted of animal cruelty-REALLY?!? Come on-that makes little to no sense. Then again, unless you have been charged or know someone who has been charged then you have little to no idea how anyone/everyone is accused are framed-yes, I said framed to take a fall and reason so few people able to escape the court and the charges with their animals. If this bill were to become law the costs for prosecuting someone for animal cruelty will go up as it will affect the rest of their lives and he courts will be more jammed up than they already are with real criminals and appeals with people fighting for more than the return of their property.
Just how can everyone who is accused of animal cruelty be grouped together, whether intentional or not, misdemeanor for a not violent crime or a felony (non-violent v violent crime for animal cruelty is also at question here) as if any cruelty actually existed at all or if it was made up as they proceeded. This New Jersey bill grouping both civil forfeiture and criminal convictions, misdemeanors and felonies together would have to be considered both illegal and unconstitutional as it affects ones ability to make a living and their ability to provide. This bill is a direct abuse of civil liberty but demonstrates the mindset of the Animal Rights Extremist attitude and true agenda.
Illegal general warrants do not satisfy the conditions for applying for a warrant, yet done all the time, with no one paying attention and most certainly not a court appointed attorney when it should be the first thing addressed-the most important thing to the case. What was the cause provided to the judge for issuing the search warrant and exactly what was to be taken-most certainly which animal is the reason for there to be cruelty charges. Was it a conclusion or a cause for the action. Warrants lacking probable cause are granted and used all the time-Judges in the lower courts are usually laymen non-lawyers who might not know the difference or even concern themselves-some even figure if law enforcement asks for a warrant than there must be reason to grant it. Thus, the court battle that ensues is like no other when appearing before the same judge who issued that warrant.
What appears like a slam dunk against the owner is actually an “in rem” proceeding and not against anyone-judged on the condition of the property. So, without cause to have taken a single animal thus less all the animals and without a jury but the judge who issued the warrant; the proceeding takes place and animals are then ‘awarded’ to some NFP organization who had just stated in court that the animals were abused yet, shortly after receiving the animals, they are up for sale as “Retail Rescue Pets” unless there is an appeal. None of which is actual proper procedure from the start, people loosing their property and more often then not, there are no criminal charges.
The purpose of an original proceeding is to decide the condition of the animals and if the animals are to be held until after a criminal trial holding the owner or caregiver (or both) responsible for the condition of the property. An “in rem” proceeding has nothing to do with awarding anyone any animal…it is strictly to determine the condition at the time of the taking. And most certainly has nothing to do with guilt of a crime yet they want to hold civil forfeiture against people-Seriously!?!
The good news: “As written, Moose’s Law is unenforceable, unreasonable, and almost certainly doomed to fail.”
Coming Soon: Certification Required To Work With Animals In New Jersey
Legislators plan to re-introduce Moose’s Law in New Jersey’s new legislative session, despite Governor Christie’s pocket veto of the bill. The law would prohibit anyone from working with animals in New Jersey, unless the Department of Health (“DOH”) certifies that each employee (volunteer or paid) never violated any part of New Jersey’s animal cruelty statute, or committed any similar violations in other states. The logistics and cost of these investigations have never been addressed, and it is not clear if the information required for review is readily available, can be obtained within the time frame proscribed in the bill, or will actually protect animals from abuse. However, anyone who is not certified is barred from employment which involves contact with animals in New Jersey.
Additionally, the employment bar is permanent, and mandatory, upon a finding of criminal or civil liability of any provision of the animal cruelty statute. The type of businesses that will be affected by these new employment restrictions include:
- Pet stores
- Animal Shelters and Rescues
- Farms with animals-dairy, beef, chickens, ducks, swine, fish, llama, etc.
- Horse barns, stables, racing facilities, including those run by the State of New Jersey
- Veterinary hospitals
- Animal breeders, kennels, doggie day care facilities
- Livestock haulers
- Live bird markets
- Zoos and aquaria
- State and federal officials who work with animals
- Research facilities
- Schools with animals in the classroom
- Animal trainers and groomers
Everyone currently working at these facilities would have to be cleared by the Department of Health before they are permitted to retain their employment. Any new employees cannot work directly with animals, unsupervised, until the DOH provides the certification.
In addition to concerns about this bill that were previously addressed, some of the outstanding legal issues and unintended consequences of this bill include:
- Due process concerns for individuals who previously pled guilty to animal cruelty charges, or agreed to pay a civil penalty instead of pursuing legal defenses. Barring these individuals from employment in any animal-related enterprise, after the fact, is not only unfair, but violates their constitutional rights.
- Criminal violators may be able to expunge their records, and, once expunged, the bar to employment with animals could be reversed. Compare that with an individual who violated a similar provision of the statute, but was only found civilly liable. That individual would not have the ability to expunge their record. Not only is that result nonsensical, defendants may be inclined to reject the ability to plea to a lesser civil charge, because of this permanent punishment. Criminal charges require proof beyond a reasonable doubt, instead of merely a preponderance of the evidence. Therefore, these cases would consume considerably greater prosecutorial and judicial resources than they currently require.
- Veterinarians, licensed by the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, could have their license revoked without any review by the licensing board, and their professional career permanently terminated.
- Other business owners could face similar draconian results, with no recourse seemingly available, once found criminally or civilly liable. Recent amendments to the cruelty statute added negligence as a statutory violation. Therefore, even unintentional acts could result in a permanent bar to one’s chosen field of work.
The mandatory bar to employment in the re-introduced bill should be amended to permit a judge to consider whether such a bar is reasonable, on a temporary or permanent basis, based on the facts of each case.
To be clear, there are situations where a violator should be banned from working with animals, for a proscribed or permanent period of time. However, that determination should be left to the trier of fact.
It is unfortunate that the suffering endured by Moose is not better memorialized by a law that could actually prevent the cruelty he was exposed to. As written, Moose’s Law is unenforceable, unreasonable, and almost certainly doomed to fail.
Disclaimer connected to this blog…Things said are of my opinion and the opinions of others…Stay tuned -B