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Pet humanization trend evident in newly proposed laws

Newly proposed pet legislation increasing in scope and trending alongside humanization sentiment. This edition of Pet Legal Briefs discusses new pet legislation occurring in California, New Jersey and Nationwide.

Pet humanization trend evident in newly proposed laws

To keep you informed on pet-related laws being considered or enacted across the US, we have provided a few summaries. This edition discusses new pet legislation occurring in California, New Jersey and Nationwide.

California: New Bill Promises Pet Adopters Tax Relief on Covered Expenses

Assemblyman Marc Steinorth (R) recently introduced CA AB292 to give CA taxpayers some relief. The bill establishes a tax credit of up to $100.00 to anyone who can prove adoption of a qualified pet from a “public animal control agency or shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group." A qualified pet includes pets over four years of age, determined by the rescue organization. Cats are specifically mentioned in the bill, but there’s no explanation as to why. 

New Jersey: Pet Purchase Protection Act Updates Aimed at Curbing Pet Mill and Breeder Abuses

Senator Raymond Leonia (D) sponsored S3041, with a vote expected on March 13. The bill reflects changes to the "Pet Purchase Protection Act" by establishing new requirements for pet dealers and pet shops. The new bill language is designed to address the continued abuses by brokers, pet shops and Internet sales agents acting as "puppy mills" and "kitten mills" selling animals to New Jersey citizens, whose conditions of health and or behavior are unknown to the buyer at the time of sale. Too often, this results in sick or abused pets being sold to unsuspecting buyers, saddling them with emotional, financial and other burdens. The bill also aims to "restructure(ing) the regulation of the retail sale of kittens and puppies in the State" which is hoped will have a positive impact on the reduction of sick animal sales and unnecessary animal euthanasia statewide. 

New Jersey: Bill Extends Animal Cruelty Laws to Extreme Weather and Evacuation Situations

New Jersey has upped the ante in the animal care legislation trend by proposing SB 1640. Sponsored by Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D), the bill would establish penalties for leaving "domestic companion animals" out to suffer extreme weather conditions or other emergency conditions such as floods, forest fires, public disturbances, etc. The bill would make it a violation of the state animal cruelty laws to leave a companion animal outdoors when an evacuation has been ordered due to weather or other conditions. "Domestic animal companion" is intended to mean animals normally sheltered inside the home, unlike livestock animals, which are exempt from this bill. 

Nationwide: Amtrak Allows Certain Pets to Travel on Trains 

Amtrak has recently changed its pet travel policy after a successful pilot program. It now allows dogs and cats 20 lbs. or less to travel with their owners when certain conditions are met. The charge is $25.00 per pet, unless you have two pets that can comfortably fit into one travel carrier, or one pet and their litter. For more information and tips on traveling with your pet, read “Planes, trains and automobiles: essential tips for pet travel.”


David Chambers is a retired paralegal living in Chicago with his partner, Stephanie, and two fluffy cats, Jasper and Joy.

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