A bill that would raise the penalty for certain animal cruelty offenses in New Jersey was approved by The Senate Economic Growth Committee on Thursday. This is the first step for the bill to become a law. Known as “Patrick’s Law”, the bill is named for the Pit Bull that inspired it.
In March of 2011, Patrick was found in the bottom of a trash chute in Newark, NJ. Patrick was starving, and had little to no muscle or body fat on his body. He should’ve been dead. A maintenance worker discovered him barely moving and contacted the City of Newark animal control. He was rushed to the local Humane Society where the veterinarians did not expect him to live through the night. Patrick fought for his life and not only lived through that first night but managed to make a full recovery.
Patrick’s story has being raising awareness on the issue of animal abuse and is now inspiring law makers to make changes. “Patrick’s Law” must pass the full Senate and Assembly to become a law. Its first vote on Thursday in the Senate Economic Growth Committee was 3-0, a strong indication that it has a good chance to succeed. The law calls to increase the penalties for those who commit cruelty to animals like Patrick.
The bill would raise the penalties from a disorderly offense to a fourth-degree offense. The civil penalty for first time offenders would increase from $1,000 to $3,000. Second time offenders would face a penalty of $5,000. Abuse that results in the death of an animal would now be a third-degree crime, which would also raise the penalty defendants would receive. The bill also calls to increase penalties for dog-fighting, for not providing proper care and shelter, and for leaving dogs in hot cars.
Kisha Curtis, the New Jersey woman charged with animal cruelty in Patrick’s case, is due back in court in October. Curtis maintains she was not responsible for starving the dog but admits she abandoned him.