Kenneth Vercammen is a Middlesex County trial attorney who has published 130 articles in national and New Jersey publications on Criminal Law and litigation topics. He was awarded the NJ State State Bar Municipal Court Practitioner of the Year. He lectures and handles criminal cases, Municipal Court, DWI, traffic and other litigation matters. He is Co Chair of the ABA Criminal Law Committee, GP and was a speaker at the ABA Annual Meeting. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us or New clients email us evenings and weekends go to www.njlaws.com/ContactKenV.htm

Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, P.C,

2053 Woodbridge Avenue,

Edison, NJ 08817,

(732) 572-0500,

www.njlaws.com

Monday, December 26, 2011

NJ Court Rule 4:22-17 Cruelty to Animals

NJ Court Rule 4:22-17 Cruelty to Animals

Our office represents people charged with offenses in Criminal Court, Juvenile and Municipal Court. We provide representation throughout New Jersey. Criminal charges can cost you. If convicted, you can face high fines, jail, Probation and other penalties. Don't give up! Our Law Office can provide experienced attorney representation for criminal violations. Our website njlaws.com provides information on criminal offenses we can be retained to represent people.

The following is current criminal laws plus amendments as of April, 2004 dealing with cruelty to animals:

4:22-17. a. A person who shall:

(1)Overdrive, overload, drive when overloaded, overwork, deprive of necessary sustenance, abuse, or needlessly kill a living animal or creature;

(2)Cause or procure any such acts to be done; or

(3)Inflict unnecessary cruelty upon a living animal or creature, or unnecessarily fail to provide a living animal or creature of which the person has charge either as an owner or otherwise with proper food, drink, shelter or protection from the weather, or leave it unattended in a vehicle under inhumane conditions adverse to the health or welfare of the living animal or creature--

Shall be guilty of a disorderly persons offense, and notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S. 2C:43-3 to the contrary, for every such offense shall be fined not less than $250 nor more than $1,000, or be imprisoned for a term of not more than six months, or both, in the discretion of the court. In addition, the court (1) shall impose a term of community service of up to 30 days, and may direct that the term of community service be served in providing assistance to the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a district (county) society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or any other recognized organization concerned with the prevention of cruelty to animals or the humane treatment and care of animals, or to a municipality's animal control or animal population control program; (2) may require the violator to pay restitution or otherwise reimburse any costs for food, drink, shelter, or veterinary care or treatment, or other costs, incurred by any agency, entity, or organization investigating the violation, including but not limited to the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a district (county) society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, any other recognized organization concerned with the prevention of cruelty to animals or the humane treatment and care of animals, or a local or State governmental entity; and (3) may impose any other appropriate penalties established for a disorderly persons offense pursuant to Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes.

b. A person who shall purposely, knowingly, or recklessly:

(1)Torment, torture, maim, hang, poison, unnecessarily or cruelly beat, or needlessly mutilate a living animal or creature; or

(2)Cause or procure any such acts to be done--

Shall be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

If the animal or creature is cruelly killed or dies as a result of a violation of this subsection, or the person has a prior conviction for a violation of this subsection, the person shall be guilty of a crime of the third degree.

For a violation of this subsection, in addition to imposing any other appropriate penalties established for a crime of the third degree or a crime of the fourth degree, as the case may be, pursuant to Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes, the court shall impose a term of community service of up to 30 days, and may direct that the term of community service be served in providing assistance to the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a district (county) society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or any other recognized organization concerned with the prevention of cruelty to animals or the humane treatment and care of animals, or to a municipality's animal control or animal population control program. The court also may require the violator to pay restitution or otherwise reimburse any costs for food, drink, shelter, or veterinary care or treatment, or other costs, incurred by any agency, entity, or organization investigating the violation, including but not limited to the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a district (county) society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, any other recognized organization concerned with the prevention of cruelty to animals or the humane treatment and care of animals, or to a municipality's animal control or animal population control program.

c. If a juvenile is adjudicated delinquent for an act which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a disorderly persons offense pursuant to subsection a. of this section or a crime of the third degree or crime of the fourth degree pursuant to subsection b. of this section, the court also shall order the juvenile to receive mental health counseling by a licensed psychologist or therapist named by the court for a period of time to be prescribed by the licensed psychologist or therapist.

Amended 2003, c.232, s.1.

4:22-18. Carrying animal in cruel, inhumane manner; disorderly persons offense A person who shall carry, or cause to be carried, a living animal or creature in or upon a vehicle or otherwise, in a cruel or inhumane manner, shall be guilty of a disorderly persons offense and punished as provided in subsection a. of R.S. 4:22-17.

Amended 2001, c.229, s.2.

4:22-19. Failure to care for, destruction of impounded animals; penalties; collection A person who shall:

a. Impound or confine, or cause to be impounded or confined, in a pound or other place, a living animal or creature, and shall fail to supply it during such confinement with a sufficient quantity of good and wholesome food and water; or

b. Destroy or cause to be destroyed any such animal by hypoxia induced by decompression or in any other manner, by the administration of a lethal gas other than an inhalant anesthetic, or in any other manner except by a method of euthanasia generally accepted by the veterinary medical profession as being reliable, appropriate to the type of animal upon which it is to be employed, and capable of producing loss of consciousness and death as rapidly and painlessly as possible for such animal shall, in the case of a violation of subsection a., be guilty of a disorderly persons offense and shall be punished as provided in subsection a. of R.S. 4:22-17; or, in the case of a violation of subsection b., be subject to a penalty of $25 for the first offense and $50 for each subsequent offense. Each animal destroyed in violation of subsection b. shall constitute a separate offense. The penalty shall be collected in accordance with the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999," P.L. 1999, c.274 (C. 2A:58-10 et seq.) and all money collected shall be remitted to the State.

This section shall apply to kennels, pet shops, shelters and pounds as defined and licensed pursuant to P.L. 1941, c.151 (C.4:19-15.1 et seq.); to pounds and places of confinement owned and operated by municipalities, counties or regional governmental authorities; and to every contractual warden or impounding service, any provision to the contrary in this title notwithstanding.

Amended 2001, c.229, s.3.

4:22-20. Abandoning disabled animal to die in public place; disorderly persons offense a. A person who shall abandon a maimed, sick, infirm or disabled animal or creature to die in a public place, shall be guilty of a disorderly persons offense.

b. A person who shall abandon a domesticated animal shall be guilty of a disorderly persons offense. The violator shall be subject to the maximum $1,000 penalty.

4:22-24. Animal fighting crimes 4:22-24. A person who shall: a. Keep, use, be connected with or interested in the management of, or receive money for the admission of a person to, a place kept or used for the purpose of fighting or baiting a living animal or creature;

b. Be present and witness, pay admission to, encourage or assist therein;

c. Permit or suffer a place owned or controlled by him to be so used; d. For amusement or gain, cause, allow, or permit the fighting or baiting of a living animal or creature;

e. Own, possess, keep, train, promote, purchase, or knowingly sell a living animal or creature for the purpose of fighting or baiting that animal or creature; or

f. Gamble on the outcome of a fight involving a living animal or creature-- Shall be guilty of a crime of the third degree.

4:22-25.1. Motorist hitting domestic animal to stop; report Each person operating a motor vehicle who shall knowingly hit, run over, or cause injury to a cat, dog, horse or cattle shall stop at once, ascertain the extent of injury, report to the nearest police station, police officer, or notify the nearest Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and give his name, address, operator's license and registration number, and also give the location of the injured animal.

4:22-25.2. Violations; petty disorderly persons offense 2. Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of section 1 of P.L. 1939, c.315 (C.4:22-25.1) shall be guilty of a petty disorderly persons offense.

4:22-26 Penalties for various acts constituting cruelty.

4:22-26. A person who shall:

a. (1) Overdrive, overload, drive when overloaded, overwork, deprive of necessary sustenance, abuse, or needlessly kill a living animal or creature, or cause or procure any such acts to be done;

(2)Torment, torture, maim, hang, poison, unnecessarily or cruelly beat, or needlessly mutilate a living animal or creature, or cause or procure any such acts to be done;

(3)Cruelly kill, or cause or procure the cruel killing of, a living animal or creature, or otherwise cause or procure the death of a living animal or creature from commission of any act described in paragraph (2) of this subsection;

b.(Deleted by amendment, P.L. 2003, c.232).

c. Inflict unnecessary cruelty upon a living animal or creature, or unnecessarily fail to provide a living animal or creature of which the person has charge either as an owner or otherwise with proper food, drink, shelter or protection from the weather, or leave it unattended in a vehicle under inhumane conditions adverse to the health or welfare of the living animal or creature;

d. Receive or offer for sale a horse that is suffering from abuse or neglect, or which by reason of disability, disease, abuse or lameness, or any other cause, could not be worked, ridden or otherwise used for show, exhibition or recreational purposes, or kept as a domestic pet without violating the provisions of this article;

e. Keep, use, be connected with or interested in the management of, or receive money or other consideration for the admission of a person to, a place kept or used for the purpose of fighting or baiting a living animal or creature;

f. Be present and witness, pay admission to, encourage, aid or assist in an activity enumerated in subsection e. of this section;

g. Permit or suffer a place owned or controlled by him to be used as provided in subsection e. of this section;

h. Carry, or cause to be carried, a living animal or creature in or upon a vehicle or otherwise, in a cruel or inhumane manner;i. Use a dog or dogs for the purpose of drawing or helping to draw a vehicle for business purposes;

j. Impound or confine or cause to be impounded or confined in a pound or other place a living animal or creature, and shall fail to supply it during such confinement with a sufficient quantity of good and wholesome food and water;

k. Abandon a maimed, sick, infirm or disabled animal or creature to die in a public place;

l. Willfully sell, or offer to sell, use, expose, or cause or permit to be sold or offered for sale, used or exposed, a horse or other animal having the disease known as glanders or farcy, or other contagious or infectious disease dangerous to the health or life of human beings or animals, or who shall, when any such disease is beyond recovery, refuse, upon demand, to deprive the animal of life;

m. Own, operate, manage or conduct a roadside stand or market for the sale of merchandise along a public street or highway; or a shopping mall, or a part of the premises thereof; and keep a living animal or creature confined, or allowed to roam in an area whether or not the area is enclosed, on these premises as an exhibit; except that this subsection shall not be applicable to: a pet shop licensed pursuant to P.L. 1941, c. 151 (C. 4:19-15.1 et seq.); a person who keeps an animal, in a humane manner, for the purpose of the protection of the premises; or a recognized breeders' association, a 4-H club, an educational agricultural program, an equestrian team, a humane society or other similar charitable or nonprofit organization conducting an exhibition, show or performance;

n. Keep or exhibit a wild animal at a roadside stand or market located along a public street or highway of this State; a gasoline station; or a shopping mall, or a part of the premises thereof;

o. Sell, offer for sale, barter or give away or display live baby chicks, ducklings or other fowl or rabbits, turtles or chameleons which have been dyed or artificially colored or otherwise treated so as to impart to them an artificial color;

p. Use any animal, reptile, or fowl for the purpose of soliciting any alms, collections, contributions, subscriptions, donations, or payment of money except in connection with exhibitions, shows or performances conducted in a bona fide manner by recognized breeders' associations, 4-H clubs or other similar bona fide organizations;

q. Sell or offer for sale, barter, or give away living rabbits, turtles, baby chicks, ducklings or other fowl under two months of age, for use as household or domestic pets;

r. Sell, offer for sale, barter or give away living baby chicks, ducklings or other fowl, or rabbits, turtles or chameleons under two months of age for any purpose not prohibited by subsection q. of this section and who shall fail to provide proper facilities for the care of such animals;

s. Artificially mark sheep or cattle, or cause them to be marked, by cropping or cutting off both ears, cropping or cutting either ear more than one inch from the tip end thereof, or half cropping or cutting both ears or either ear more than one inch from the tip end thereof, or who shall have or keep in the person's possession sheep or cattle, which the person claims to own, marked contrary to this subsection unless they were bought in market or of a stranger;

t. Abandon a domesticated animal;

u. For amusement or gain, cause, allow, or permit the fighting or baiting of a living animal or creature;

v. Own, possess, keep, train, promote, purchase, or knowingly sell a living animal or creature for the purpose of fighting or baiting that animal or creature;

w. Gamble on the outcome of a fight involving a living animal or creature;

x. Knowingly sell or barter or offer for sale or barter, at wholesale or retail, the fur or hair of a domestic dog or cat or any product made in whole or in part from the fur or hair of a domestic dog or cat, unless such fur or hair for sale or barter is from a commercial grooming establishment or a veterinary office or clinic or is for use for scientific research;

y. Knowingly sell or barter or offer for sale or barter, at wholesale or retail, for human consumption, the flesh of a domestic dog or cat or any product made in whole or in part from the flesh of a domestic dog or cat;

z. Surgically debark or silence a dog in violation of section 1 or 2 of P.L. 2002, c. 102 (C.4:19-38 or C.4:19-39);

aa. Use a live pigeon, fowl or other bird for the purpose of a target, or to be shot at either for amusement or as a test of skill in marksmanship, except that this subsection and subsections bb. and cc. shall not apply to the shooting of game;

bb. Shoot at a bird used as described in subsection aa. of this section, or is a party to such shooting; or

cc. Lease a building, room, field or premises, or knowingly permit the use thereof for the purposes of subsection aa. or bb. of this section --

Shall forfeit and pay a sum according to the following schedule, to be sued for and recovered, with costs, in a civil action by any person in the name of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals:

For a violation of subsection e., f., g., u., v., w., or z. of this section or of paragraph (3) of subsection a. of this section, or for a second or subsequent violation of paragraph (2) of subsection a. of this section, a sum of up to $5,000;

For a violation of subsection l. of this section or for a first violation of paragraph (2) of subsection a. of this section, a sum of up to $3,000;

For a violation of subsection x. or y. of this section, a sum of up to $1,000 for each domestic dog or cat fur or fur or hair product or domestic dog or cat carcass or meat product;

For a violation of subsection t. of this section, a sum of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000, but if the violation occurs on or near a highway, a mandatory sum of $1,000;

For a violation of subsection c., d., h., j., k., aa., bb., or cc. of this section or of paragraph (1) of subsection a. of this section, a sum of up to $1,000; and

For a violation of subsection i., m., n., o., p., q., r., or s. of this section, a sum of up to $500.

Amended 2003, c. 232, s. 3.

4:22-26.1. Confiscation, forfeiture of animal 1. An officer or agent of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or a certified animal control officer, may petition a court of competent jurisdiction to have any animal confiscated and forfeited that is owned or possessed by a person at the time the person is found to be guilty of violating R.S. 4:22-17, R.S. 4:22-18, R.S. 4:22-19, R.S. 4:22-20 or R.S. 4:22-23. Upon a finding that the continued possession by that person poses a threat to the animal's welfare, the court may, in addition to any other penalty that may be imposed for a violation of R.S. 4:22-17, R.S. 4:22-18, R.S. 4:22-19, R.S. 4:22-20 or R.S. 4:22-23, adjudge an animal forfeited for such disposition as the court deems appropriate.

4:22-28 Civil, criminal actions separate.

4:22-28. The indictment of a person under the provisions of this article, or the holding of a person to bail to await the action of a grand jury or court, shall not in any way relieve that person from liability to be sued for the appropriate penalties under R.S. 4:22-26.

4:22-29 Jurisdiction for action for penalty.

4:22-29. The action for the penalty prescribed in R.S. 4:22-26 shall be brought:

a. In the Superior Court; or

b. In a municipal court of the municipality wherein the defendant resides or where the offense was committed.

Amended 2003, c. 232, s. 5.

4:22-32 Enforcement and collection of penalties; warrant.

4:22-32. Penalties for violations of R.S. 4:22-26 shall be enforced and collected in a summary manner under the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999," P.L. 1999, c. 274 (C. 2A:58-10 et seq.). A warrant may issue when the defendant is temporarily within the jurisdiction of the court, but not residing therein; or when the defendant is likely to evade judgment by removal therefrom; or when the defendant's name or residence is unknown.

4:22-48. Forfeiture, sale of seized animals 4:22-48. The person seizing animals, creatures, implements or appliances as authorized in section 4:22-47 of this Title, shall, within 24 hours thereafter, apply to a court of competent jurisdiction to have the same forfeited and sold.

If, upon the hearing of the application, it is found and adjudged that at the time of the seizure the animals, creatures, implements or appliances were engaged or used in violation of section 4:22-47 or paragraphs "e," "f," "g," "u," "v," or "w" of section 4:22-26 of this Title, or were owned, possessed or kept with the intent that they should be so engaged or used, they shall be adjudged forfeited, and the court shall order the same sold in such manner as it shall deem proper, and after deducting the costs and expenses, shall dispose of the proceeds as provided in section 4:22-55 of this Title.

A bird or animal found or adjudged to be of no use or value may be liberated or disposed of as directed by the court.

The costs of sheltering, caring for, treating, and if necessary, destroying an animal or creature, including veterinary expenses therefor, until the animal or creature is adjudged forfeited and sold, liberated, or disposed of pursuant to this section shall be borne by the owner of the animal or creature.

A creature or property which is adjudged not forfeited shall be returned to the owner, and the person making the seizure shall pay all costs and expenses thereof.

4:22-48.1. Owner to bear expenses a. A person authorized to take possession of a living animal or creature pursuant to R.S. 4:22-47 may provide such shelter, care, and treatment therefor, including veterinary care and treatment, that is reasonably necessary, the costs of which shall be borne by the owner of the seized animal or creature.

b. Notwithstanding the provisions of R.S. 4:22-48 to the contrary, a person seizing a living animal or creature pursuant to R.S. 4:22-47 may destroy it before it is adjudged forfeited if the animal or creature is thought to be beyond reasonable hope of recovery, the cost of which destruction shall be borne by the owner of the seized animal or creature. A person destroying an animal or creature pursuant to the authority of this subsection shall not be liable therefor to the owner of the animal or creature.

4:22-48.2 Owner of confiscated animal responsible for certain costs 1. The costs of sheltering, caring for, or treating any animal that has been confiscated from a person arrested pursuant to the provisions of R.S. 4:22-47 by an agent of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or any other person authorized to make an arrest pursuant to article 2 of chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes, until the animal is adjudged forfeited or until the animal is returned to the owner, shall be borne by the owner of the animal.

CONCLUSION

If charged with any criminal offense, immediately schedule an appointment with a criminal trial attorney. Don't rely on a real estate attorney, public defender or a family member who took a law class in school. When your life and job is on the line, hire the best attorney available.

Consequences of a Criminal Guilty Plea

1. You will have to appear in open court and tell the judge what you did that makes you guilty of the particular offense(s)

2. Do you understand that if you plead guilty:

a. You will have a criminal record

b. You may go to Jail or Prison.

c. You will have to pay Fines and Court Costs.

3. If you are on Probation, you will have to submit to random drug and urine testing. If you violate Probation, you often go to jail.

4. In indictable matters, you will be required to provide a DNA sample, which could be used by law enforcement for the investigation of criminal activity, and pay for the cost of testing.

5. You must pay restitution if the court finds there is a victim who has suffered a loss and if the court finds that you are able or will be able in the future to pay restitution.

6. If you are a public office holder or employee, you can be required to forfeit your office or job by virtue of your plea of guilty.

7. If you are not a United States citizen or national, you may be deported by virtue of your plea of guilty.

8. You must wait 5-10 years to expunge a first offense. 2C:52-3

9. You could be put on Probation.

10. In Drug Cases, a mandatory DEDR penalty of $500-$1,000, and lose your driver's license for 6 months - 2years. You must pay a Law Enforcement Officers Training and Equipment Fund penalty of $30.

11. You may be required to do Community Service.

12. You must pay a minimum Violent Crimes Compensation Board assessment of $50 ($100 minimum if you are convicted of a crime of violence) for each count to which you plead guilty.

13. You must pay a $75 Safe Neighborhood Services Fund assessment for each conviction.

14. If you are being sentenced to probation, you must pay a fee of up to $25 per month for the term of probation.

15. You lose the presumption against incarceration in future cases. 2C:44-1

16. You may lose your right to vote.

The defense of a person charged with a criminal offense is not impossible. There are a number of viable defenses and arguments which can be pursued to achieve a successful result. Advocacy, commitment, and persistence are essential to defending a client accused of a criminal offense.

Jail for Crimes and Disorderly Conduct:

If someone pleads Guilty or is found Guilty of a criminal offense, the following is the statutory Prison/Jail terms.

NJSA 2C: 43-8 (1) In the case of a crime of the first degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between 10 years and 20 years;

(2) In the case of a crime of the second degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between five years and 10 years;

(3) In the case of a crime of the third degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between three years and five years;

(4) In the case of a crime of the fourth degree, for a specific term which shall be fixed by the court and shall not exceed 18 months.

2C:43-3 Fines have been increased recently! 2C:43-3. Fines and Restitutions. A person who has been convicted of an offense may be sentenced to pay a fine, to make restitution, or both, such fine not to exceed:

a. (1) $200,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the first degree;

(2) $150,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the second degree;

b. (1) $15,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the third degree;

(2) $10,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the fourth degree;

c. $1,000.00, when the conviction is of a disorderly persons offense;

d. $500.00, when the conviction is of a petty disorderly persons offense;