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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
May 02, 2005

Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D.

For Further Information Contact:
(609) 984-7160

Health and Senior Services Proposes to Readopt with Amendments N.J.A.C. 8:23A, Rules Governing Animal Facility Operation, Animal Control Officer and Animal Cruelty Investigator Certification, Spaying and Neutering Fees and Rabies Inoculation


The Department of Health and Senior Services is proposing to readopt the rules at N.J.A.C. 8:23A governing Animal Facility Operation, Animal Control Officer and Animal Cruelty Investigator Certification, Pilot Spaying and Neutering Clinic Fees, and Rabies Inoculation.  The Department is proposing technical amendments throughout the chapter.  In addition, the Department is proposing substantive amendments as described below.

Kennels, Pet Shops Shelters and Pounds

N.J.A.C. 8:23A-1, Sanitary Operation of Kennels, Pet Shops, Shelters and Pounds, has existed since prior to 1969, and implements the Department’s statutory mandate to establish rules addressing the sanitary conduct and operations of kennels, pet shops, shelters and pounds to preserve sanitation therein and prevent the spread of rabies and other diseases from animals within and from such facilities.  The Department is proposing a number of substantive amendments to this subchapter.

The Department is proposing to amend the definition of “boarding” at N.J.A.C. 8:23A-1.1 to provide that facilities that provide food and/or shelter to dogs for a fee and at the request of the owner or caretaker would have to be licensed, regardless of whether an overnight stay is involved.  This would ensure that dog daycare facilities meet and maintain the same sanitary and humane standards as overnight boarding facilities, in order to prevent disease transmission and protect both human and animal health.

The Department is proposing amendments at N.J.A.C. 8:23A-1.10(a) to articulate the documentation needed to establish ownership, or adequate representation of ownership, of an animal brought to a shelter or pound for elective euthanasia.  Another proposed amendment would provide that shelters and pounds are not required to perform elective euthanasia being requested by the owner or owner’s representative and that it is within the discretion of the facility to make the decision concerning euthanasia.  Another proposed amendment would provide that if an animal being surrendered has bitten a person within 10 days, the animal may be either confined for rabies observation for a period of 10 days from the bite or euthanized and tested for rabies, with the local health agency being notified in either situation.  The existing rule appeared to encourage euthanasia and testing of the animal as the primary option after a bite.

The Department is proposing to amend N.J.A.C. 8:23A-1.10(b) to expand the minimum number of hours that a shelter or pound is required to be open during which persons are permitted to enter to look for animals that are missing, or to view animals for potential adoption.  The Department intends the expanded hours to ensure that the public has greater opportunity to look for missing animals in such facilities, which will help reunite lost animals with their owners.  The Department anticipates that expanded viewing hours would also increase the number of adoptions.  Another proposed amendment would clarify the ability of the public to look at facility records to assist them in seeking missing animals.

The Department is proposing to amend N.J.A.C. 8:23A-1.11 to require that licensed animal facilities that euthanize animals have a scale available to weigh animals, and a stethoscope to auscultate the heart to evidence the death of euthanized animals prior to disposal.  A weight-in-pounds to dosage chart for all drugs used during euthanasia would also be required.  The proposed amendments would respond to a recent incident in which an animal was under-dosed with euthanasia drugs at a shelter and later discovered alive at a landfill.

Animal Control Officer

 and Animal Cruelty Investigator Certification

N.J.A.C. 8:23A-2, Animal Control Offer and Animal Cruelty Investigator Certification has existed since 1984, and establishes procedures for the certification of animal control officer and animal cruelty investigator certification.  More than 150 people have completed this new course of study and are eligible to enforce animal cruelty statutes in the municipalities in which they are employed.  The Department is proposing only technical amendments to this subchapter.

Low Cost Spaying and Neutering

N.J.A.C. 8:23A-3, Pilot Low Cost Spaying and Neutering Clinic Surgery Fees, has existed since 1993, and establishes a fee schedule and other requirements for the State’s pilot low-cost spaying and neutering clinic located in Hillside, NJ.  The clinic is funded by revenues obtained from surgery fees, a continuing health service grant from the Department, and through its own fundraising efforts.  A 20-cent per dog license pilot clinic surcharge fee, which municipal clerks collect and transmit to the Department, funds the health grant.

 The clinic is open for use by all NJ residents regardless of income status and provides a valuable public service in spaying and neutering dogs and cats and thereby helping to control the number of stray dogs and cats in the State.  There have been more than 80,000 spay or neuter surgeries performed at the clinic since its inception.

The Department is proposing to increase the surgery fees the clinic charges to assist the clinic in remaining financially viable.  The proposed amendment would increase surgery fees by $5.00 per weight category in each of the eight current categories, and would create two new fee categories for female and male dogs over 80 pounds.  The increased surgery prices would continue to remain well under those charged by private practice veterinarians.  The last fee increase was six years ago in 1998.

Rabies Inoculation

N.J.A.C. 8:23A-4, Rabies Inoculation, sets standards for the duration of immunity for animal rabies vaccines for the licensure of dogs by municipal licensing officials.  The rules allow veterinarians to exempt individual dogs from the inoculation requirement by certifying in writing that the dog cannot be immunized due to a specific infirmity, physical condition, or therapeutic regimen.  The Department is proposing only a technical amendment to this subchapter.

The proposal appears in the May 2, 2005 issue of the New Jersey Register.  The public has until July 1, 2005 to comment on the proposal.  Persons wishing to comment on the proposal must submit their comments in writing to Colin T. Campbell, D.V.M., Senior Public Health Veterinarian, Infectious and Zoonotic Disease Program, Communicable Disease Service, New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, 3635 Quakerbridge Road, P O Box 369, Trenton, NJ 08625-0369. 

Written comments must be postmarked on or before July 1, 2005, which is the close of the 60-day public comment period.

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