Patrick's Law receives approval from New Jersey Senate

The New Jersey Senate unanimously voted its support for proposed legislation known as Patrick’s Law, which would impose tougher penalties for people who neglect or abuse animals, according to

Patrick’s Law, officially titled S1303, is named for a 2011 incident that made national headlines when a New Jersey pit bull named Patrick was starved and left to die in a trash chute. Patrick is now reportedly healthy and living with a new family, but his story prompted Sens. Tom Kean, R-Union, and Dick Codey, D-Essex, to sponsor the bill bearing his name.

The bill is intended to crack down on animal abuse and neglect by classifying abuse or deprivation of food or water as a fourth-degree offense instead of a disorderly persons offense, according to The crime would be elevated to third-degree if the animal dies as a result of the abuse or neglect.

In addition to more serious criminal charges, Patrick’s Law will leave offenders with lighter wallets. The first offense will cost between $1,000 and $3,000, and the second will be $3,000 to $5,000.

The bill’s language also enforces stricter penalties for people who leave animals in hot cars or engage dogs in fighting activities.

Patrick's Law now heads to the Assembly for consideration and voting.

Read the full text of Patrick's Law

NEWStat Legislation & regulation