Archive for June, 2015

New Dog Legislation on The Way: Large Breed Dogs Beware

By admin

Monday, June 15th, 2015

On May 11, 2015, two New Jersey lawmakers introduced “The Responsible Dog Ownership Act”. The legislation would ask the New Jersey Department of Health to establish new requirements for dog owners. Most notably, the legislation would require dog owners to have a fence on their property that was at least eight feet high.

The new dog legislation is in response two separate attacks that occurred in recent years, in which children were attacked and bitten by neighborhood dogs. The fence requirement would be for dog owners with “large breed dogs”. The difficulty will be establishing what size dog is a large breed dog. The lawmakers would ask the Department of Health to consult with experts in this field to determine what a large breed would be and what requirements should be placed on their owners.

Questions about whether the fencing requirement would be retroactive and apply to owners who already have large breed dogs are still up in the air. While the possible law is far from being put on the books, the outrage and debate is sure to come. The requirement for private citizens to spend large sums of money to build these fences may have some doubters believing their rights are being infringed upon.

And what happens to those dogs that are considered large breeds but have owners who cannot afford a fence? Are the dogs sent to overcrowded shelters or kennels? The topic will surely have much debate among New Jersey citizens as it makes its way though the new dog legislature. Balancing the safety of citizens against the requirement to spend what amounts to a tax will be a difficult task for lawmakers and whatever the result, there is sure to be dissenting opinions.