2016 New Jersey Revised Statutes
Title 4 - Agriculture And Domestic Animals
Section 4:19-15.16 - Unclaimed Dogs Or Other Animals To Be Euthanized, Offered For Adoption.

NJ Rev Stat § 4:19-15.16 (2016) What's This?

4:19-15.16 Unclaimed dogs or other animals to be euthanized, offered for adoption.

16. a. The certified animal control officer appointed by the governing body of the municipality shall take into custody and impound any animal, to thereafter be euthanized or offered for adoption, as provided in this section:

(1)Any dog off the premises of the owner or of the person charged with the care of the dog, which is reasonably believed to be a stray dog;

(2)Any dog off the premises of the owner or the person charged with the care of the dog without a current registration tag on its collar or elsewhere;

(3)Any female dog in season off the premises of the owner or the person charged with the care of the dog;

(4)Any dog or other animal which is suspected to be rabid; or

(5)Any dog or other animal off the premises of the owner or the person charged with its care that is reported to, or observed by, a certified animal control officer to be ill, injured, or creating a threat to public health, safety, or welfare, or otherwise interfering with the enjoyment of property.

b.If an animal taken into custody and impounded pursuant to subsection a. of this section has a collar or harness with identification of the name and address of any person, or has a registration tag, or has a microchip with an identification number that can be traced to the owner or person charged with the care of the animal, or the owner or the person charged with the care of the animal is otherwise known, the certified animal control officer shall ascertain the name and address of the owner or the person charged with the care of the animal, and serve to the identified person as soon as practicable, a notice in writing that the animal has been seized and will be liable to be offered for adoption or euthanized if not claimed within seven days after the service of the notice.

c.A notice required pursuant to this section may be served: (1) by delivering it to the person on whom it is to be served, or by leaving it at the person's usual or last known place of residence or the address given on the collar, harness, or microchip identification; or (2) by mailing the notice to that person at the person's usual or last known place of residence, or to the address given on the collar, harness or microchip identification.

d.A shelter, pound, or kennel operating as a shelter or pound receiving an animal from a certified animal control officer pursuant to subsection a. of this section, or from any other individual, group, or organization, shall hold the animal for at least seven days before offering it for adoption, or euthanizing, relocating, or sterilizing the animal, except if:

(1)the animal is surrendered voluntarily by its owner to the shelter, pound, or kennel operating as a shelter or pound, in which case the provisions of subsection e. of this section shall apply; or

(2)the animal is suspected of being rabid, in which case the provisions of subsection j. of this section shall apply.

e.If a shelter, pound or kennel operating as a shelter or pound is not required to hold an animal for at least seven days pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection d. of this section, the shelter, pound, or kennel operating as a shelter or pound:

(1)shall offer the animal for adoption for at least seven days before euthanizing it; or

(2)may transfer the animal to an animal rescue organization facility or a foster home prior to offering it for adoption if such a transfer is determined to be in the best interest of the animal by the shelter, pound, or kennel operating as a shelter or pound.

f.Except as otherwise provided for under subsection e. of this section, no shelter, pound, or kennel operating as a shelter or pound receiving an animal from a certified animal control officer may transfer the animal to an animal rescue organization facility or a foster home until the shelter, pound, or kennel operating as a shelter or pound has held the animal for at least seven days.

g.If the owner or the person charged with the care of the animal seeks to claim it within seven days, or after the seven days have elapsed but before the animal has been adopted or euthanized, the shelter, pound, or kennel operating as a shelter or pound:

(1)shall, in the case of a cat or dog, release it to the owner or person charged with its care, provided the owner or person charged with the care of the animal provides proof of ownership, which may include a valid cat or dog license, registration, rabies inoculation certificate, or documentation from the owner's veterinarian that the cat or dog has received regular care from that veterinarian;

(2)may, in the case of a cat or dog, charge the cost of sterilizing the cat or dog, if the owner requests such sterilizing when claiming it; and

(3)may require the owner or person charged with the care of the animal to pay all the animal's expenses while in the care of the shelter, pound, or kennel operating as a shelter or pound, not to exceed $4 per day.

h.If the animal remains unclaimed, is not claimed due to the failure of the owner or other person to comply with the requirements of this section, or is not adopted after seven days after the date on which notice is served pursuant to subsection c. of this section or, if no notice can be served, not less than seven days after the date on which the animal was impounded, the impounded animal may be placed in a foster home, transferred to another shelter, pound, kennel operating as a shelter or pound, or animal rescue organization facility, or euthanized in a manner causing as little pain as possible and consistent with the provisions of R.S.4:22-19.

i.At the time of adoption, the right of ownership in the animal shall transfer to the new owner. No dog or other animal taken into custody, impounded, sent or otherwise brought to a shelter, pound, or kennel operating as a shelter or pound shall be sold or otherwise be made available for the purpose of experimentation. Any person who sells or otherwise makes available any such dog or other animal for the purpose of experimentation shall be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

j.Any animal seized under this section suspected of being rabid shall be immediately reported to the executive officer of the local board of health and to the Department of Health, and shall be quarantined, observed, and otherwise handled and dealt with as appropriate for an animal suspected of being rabid or as required by the Department of Health for the animals.

k.When a certified animal control officer takes into custody and impounds, or causes to be taken into custody and impounded, an animal, the certified animal control officer may place the animal in the custody of, or cause the animal to be placed in the custody of, only a licensed shelter, pound, or kennel operating as a shelter or pound. The certified animal control officer may not place the animal in the custody of, or cause the animal to be placed in the custody of, any animal rescue organization facility, foster home, or other unlicensed facility. However, the licensed shelter, pound, or kennel operating as a shelter or pound may place the animal in an animal rescue organization facility, foster home, or other unlicensed facility if necessary pursuant to subsection e. or h. of this section.

l.Notwithstanding the provisions of this section and sections 3 and 4 of P.L.2011, c.142 (C.4:19-15.30 and C.4:19-15.31) to the contrary, no cat or dog being transferred between shelters, pounds, or kennels operating as shelters or pounds, or being transferred to an animal rescue organization facility or placed in a foster home, shall be required to be sterilized prior to that transfer.

L.1941, c.151, s.16; amended 1959, c.33; 1973, c.161, s.2; 1974, c.69, s.1; 1977, c.231, s.2; 1978, c.186; 1983, c.525, s.2; 1987, c.376; 1997, c.324; 2011, c.142, s.2; 2012, c.17, s.7.


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