It has been an incredibly long and arduous fight, but we are proud to announce that the bill formerly known as New Jersey SB 63 pertaining to dog breeding and sourcing has finally been conditionally vetoed! Kudos and huge thanks to NAIA Board Members Barbara Reichman and Julian Prager for their hard work and incredible commitment to this fight, combined with all of YOU who took the time to make your voices heard. Thanks to Governor Chris Christie and his staff for listening to our concerns and doing the research necessary to understand the complexity of the issues and make the appropriate changes. As of May 1, Governor Christie has returned the bill to the legislature with the changes we and the rest of the stakeholders had requested.
The bill has taken a long and winding road with many twists and turns, beginning as legislation to force pet stores to source only from shelters and rescues then dropping that requirement (thanks in large part to our input) and morphing into a bill that would treat hobby breeders as commercial breeders. The bill has gone through several different forms and bill numbers, the last version that was presented to the Governor being S3041. It was a much better version than what we started with but was still damaging and would still treat small hobby breeders as pet dealers and all the unrealistic requirements that would entail.
We at NAIA Trust have been working hard to unravel the confusion and keep you abreast to help you efficiently take action. NAIA Board Members Barbara Reichman and Julian Prager have worked directly with legislators throughout this entire process, right up to the Governor’s office. They have devoted countless hours drafting proposed amendments and positions, developing relationships, and communicating our concerns to protect breeders and owners. Between their work and the flood of calls to the Governor’s desk, we have finally succeeded!
Gov. Christie agreed with us in his conditional veto of the bill; he stated that while he commended the efforts to protect New Jersey pet purchasers, aspects of the bill went too far. “The bill would also have the unintended consequence of restricting consumer access to pets, even from responsible breeders,” stated Gov. Christie in his veto. He is definitely a friend to responsible dog breeders; he GETS it. He also made sure to get rid of all of the awful animal rights propaganda that was included in the recitals and findings to the bill. Some of the important changes he has made include:
- Both the definition of “breeder” and “pet dealer” were changed to only apply to USDA licensed breeders, so in essence pet shops would be required to purchase from USDA licensed breeders (as they are now), and small at-home breeders are left out of the unrealistic requirements as we wanted.
- The attempt to regulate out of state pet sellers has been removed.
- The inclusion of anyone selling more than 10 dogs or cats in the state of New Jersey has been removed from the definition of pet dealers.
- The bill previously prohibited pet shops from obtaining animals from breeders that had three or more USDA citations; this was replaced with “3 or more separate, final, and conclusive orders for violations.”
So, what happens next?
While this conditional veto represents a major battle won, the war is not over yet. The veto still has to go back to the legislature. The legislature can either accept the veto, do nothing (which means it will die), or they can attempt to override it. An override would require 27 votes in the Senate, and that never happened under 8 years of Gov. Christie.
Because the conditional veto will go back to the legislature, we will still need your support and help to ensure that Gov. Christie’s partial veto is accepted. Simply make sure you are signed up to follow NAIA Trust and will receive our alerts. Following NAIA Trust is easy and will keep you up-to-date on legislative issues like this one that affect you and your animals. If you haven’t signed up for NAIA Trust yet, you are missing out. We have made many improvements to our site to make it easier to understand the issues and taking action is as easy is clicking a button if you make sure to check “remember me” when you sign up for our alerts. Sign up here with NAIA Trust today to be a part of future victories like this momentous one in New Jersey!