A proposed New Jersey bill would give animals legal representation in court on abuse cases. Assemblywoman Annette Quijano is behind the bill aimed at having law students and attorneys who could volunteer to represent the pets pro bono.
The legal volunteer would be present to make the animals case when abusers face a judge. In an interview with PIX11 News, chief animal control officer of Paterson John DeCando stated
“Dogs need representation. They need people to come forward on their behalf. They can’t speak. It would be nice to have someone pro bono come forward and represent an animal that can’t speak for themselves.”
Quijano’s bill is being modeled after Desmonds Law, named for a Connecticut dog who was killed by his owner who didn’t receive any jail time for animal cruelty. Desmond’s owner only received a 4-month rehabilitation program.
DeCando says he’s never lost a fight in prosecuting animal abuse cases. In the decades he’s fought for animal justice he’s seen many animal abusers who get off with a slap on the wrist and he’s determined to change that.
A similar bill (A25) has been proposed by New York Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal and will be re-introduced on January 9. Rosenthal stated
“From divorce to abuse cases, animals are involved in all manner of court proceedings. These advocates will help to decrease the likelihood that animals end up in cruel situations, and I look forward to working to see it become law.”
It would be good for animals for similar bills to be made into law in all 50 states. Animal cruelty should be taken seriously as a precursor to an abuser eventually harming people (especially someone the abuser claims to love).