Killing, Injuring Guide Dogs Criminalized Under Bill
Inspired by the sad story of “Dusty”, a seeing eye dog in-training at a Morristown facility that was brutally attacked by another dog, Senator Anthony Bucco (R- Morris) has submitted legislation to the Senate establishing criminal penalties for those who, and owners of animals that, kill, injure, or interfere with a guide dog.
The bill, was approved by the New Jersey Senate yesterday.
“Guide dogs are critical to the ability of visually and hearing impaired New Jerseyans to navigate their daily lives, and their highly specialized training comes at great expense,” said Bucco.
“Killing or injuring these animals isn’t just an act of animal cruelty or destruction of property, it is a crime against the person who relies on the dog. As such, I believe these instances must be treated with a greater degree of severity than the average case of human cruelty or dog-on-dog aggression.”
Bucco’s bill makes such incidents a crime of the fourth degree, including those cases where an animal in another individual’s care is not properly controlled and attacks a guide dog.
The bill is known as “Dusty’s Law”, after a puppy being trained at The Seeing Eye, a Morristown training facility that is the oldest guide dog training institution in the world. The puppy was attacked by another dog being kept locally as a house pet, and sustained injuries rendering him unable to serve as a seeing eye companion.