A bill requiring animals in shelters to be neutered and spayed has been altered into a proposal that would make it easier to kill surrendered, abandoned, and lost pets in New Jersey.

State legislature records show that Bill S-2847 was originally introduced to “require spaying or neutering of cats or dogs prior to sale or other release from animal rescue organization facility, kennel, pet shop, shelter or pound.”

The bill was introduced in December, but on February 6th, a group of state senators including the bill’s sponsors, Stephen Sweeney (D-3, (Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem) and Nilsa Cruz-Perez (D-5, Camden and Gloucester), amended the bill with several changes that have raised concern in animal rights groups.

Currently NJ shelters must give owners a seven-day written notice that their animal will be euthanized or adopted out if not reclaimed. The amended bill would overturn the state’s mandatory seven-day waiting period for euthanizing animals. The new rules would allow euthanasia for the following reasons:

  • When the animal’s “age, health, or behavior” warrants euthanizing the animal
  • When the animal is suffering from “an intractable illness other than rabies” that threatens the welfare of the other impounded animals

The new rule has no time limit, so these animals could be put down without any waiting period.

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