A measure that would ban convicted animal abusers from owning or working with pets has cleared a significant hurdle in Trenton.

"Moose's Law" passed the state Senate and has been referred to an Assembly committee.

The measure is named for a chocolate Labrador from Delran that died in a hot car in July 2012 after being lured away from its owners by a self-described dog trainer, according to state legislators.

“While animal abuse is already illegal in New Jersey, this measure expands and strengthens animal cruelty consequences and helps to ensure our furry friends are not unknowingly placed in the wrong hands," state Sen. Christopher "Kip" Bateman, R-Somerset, said in a written statement.

The legislation, of which Bateman is a primary sponsor, would make it illegal for "an animal-related enterprise" like a pet shop, a veterinary officer, groomer's, kennel or an animal shelter, to employ or let individuals volunteer if they have been convicted of criminal animal cruelty offenses.

A convicted animal abuser also would be prevented from owning or living in a residence with a pet within at least two years of the conviction or being released from jail for an animal cruelty offense, under the measure.

Bateman said he is hopeful that the measure will get to the desk of Gov. Phil Murphy for his signature by the end of the year.

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