Bill Text: NJ S3551 | 2018-2019 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Requires registry of animal rescue organizations; requires animal rescue, pet shop, shelter, or pound notify person adopting or purchasing animal of animal's behavioral and medical history; designated as "Rocky's Law."

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 3-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-03-05 - Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Environment and Energy Committee [S3551 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2018-S3551-Introduced.html

SENATE, No. 3551

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MARCH 5, 2019

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  NICHOLAS P. SCUTARI

District 22 (Middlesex, Somerset and Union)

Senator  JOSEPH P. CRYAN

District 20 (Union)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires registry of animal rescue organizations; requires animal rescue, pet shop, shelter, or pound notify person adopting or purchasing animal of animal's behavioral and medical history; designated as "Rocky's Law."

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

 


An Act concerning notification of the behavioral and medical history of an animal when offering the animal for sale or adoption, and amending and supplementing Title 4 of the Revised Statutes and P.L.1999, c.336 (C.56:8-1 et seq.).

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

      1.   (New section)     a.   In addition to the requirements of section 16 of P.L.1941, c.151 (C.4:19-15.16), an animal rescue organization facility, shelter, and pound in the State shall document the health, behavioral, and medical history of an animal prior to offering the animal for adoption by obtaining and retaining records of:

     (1)   a complete medical examination by a State licensed veterinarian performed on the animal when the animal is received by the animal rescue organization facility, shelter, or pound and a subsequent medical examination no more than 14 days before the animal is adopted;

     (2)   a complete behavioral and psychological assessment by a certified animal behaviorist, psychologist, or trainer, including a safety and temperament certification verifying that the animal does not appear to exhibit behavior or tendencies that would make the animal dangerous or unsuitable for adoption;

     (3)   to the extent possible, information concerning the animal's history, including any dangerous behavior, illnesses, injuries, physical or behavioral abnormalities, history of dangerous behavior, vaccinations received, number, type, and location of homes the animal has had, the reasons the animal left its previous homes, any history of biting, scratching, or attacking people or animals, or any other known health, behavioral, or medical information that may cause concern for a person adopting the animal.

      b.   To the extent possible, an animal rescue organization facility, shelter, or pound shall determine and maintain records of the: 

     (1)   date and place of birth of each animal placed in its care, and the actual age, or approximate age as established by a veterinarian, of the animal;

     (2)   sex, color markings, and other identifying information of the animal, including any tag, tattoo, collar number, or microchip information;

     (3)   name and address of the veterinarian last attending to the animal before the animal was placed in the animal rescue organization facility, shelter, or pound and any health, behavioral, or medical records that may be available from the veterinarian;

     (4)   name and address of the veterinarian attending to the animal while the animal is in the custody of the animal rescue organization facility, shelter, or pound, and the dates of the initial and any subsequent examinations of the animal;

     (5)   first and last name of the breeder of the animal, the full street address of where the breeder is doing business, an email address, if available, by which to contact the breeder, the breeder's United States Department of Agriculture license number, the breeder's state license number if the breeder is required to be licensed in the state in which the breeder is located, and any health, behavioral, or medical records that may be available therefrom; and

     (6)   first and last name of the broker of the animal if different from the breeder, the full street address of where the broker is doing business, an email address, if available, by which to contact the broker, the United States Department of Agriculture license number of the broker, the broker's state license number if the broker is required to be licensed in the state in which the broker is located, and any health, behavioral, or medical records that may be available therefrom.

      c.    An animal rescue organization facility, shelter, or pound in the State shall disclose in writing any information obtained concerning the animal pursuant to subsections a. and b. of this subsection to any person considering, or applying for, adoption of the animal, with an advisory notice that the records may be incomplete.  The person adopting the animal shall sign a form verifying that the person received the written disclosure and advisory notice required pursuant to this section.

      d.   An animal rescue organization facility, shelter, or pound shall not post or describe any behavioral information about an animal on the Internet without evidence of the behavioral information posted or described.  If the animal rescue organization facility, shelter, or pound has no evidence of behavioral information for the animal,  the animal rescue organization facility, shelter, or pound shall post that the animal's behavior history is unknown or that the animal's behavior has not been tested or assessed in a home environment.

      e.    At the time of adoption or no more than 14 days before an adoption is final, a State licensed veterinarian shall examine and certify that the animal:

     (1)   is free of fever, parasites, and contagious hair loss;

     (2)   is not vomiting;

     (3)   does not have loose stools and has feces free of disease, infection, and parasites;

     (4)   is in good health, or has specific health, mental, or medical problems as reported in writing and provided to the person adopting the animal; 

     (5)   if the animal is a dog, has received its first parvo and distemper vaccines and at least one booster, and the dog's rabies inoculations are up-to-date; and

     (6)   has not exhibited dangerous behavior, that the animal's behavior history is unknown, or that any known dangerous behavior has been disclosed in writing and provided to the person adopting the animal.

      f.    Failure to comply with the provisions of this section, the posting of unsubstantiated information concerning the health or behavior of an animal on the Internet, or describing unsubstantiated health or behavioral history on the Internet or to a person adopting the animal shall constitute an unlawful practice and a violation of P.L.1960, c.39 (C.56:8-1 et seq.).

      g.   In addition to the penalties that may apply pursuant to P.L.1960, c.39 (C.56:8-1 et seq.), if an adopted animal causes bodily harm to, or death of, another animal or any person after the adoption of the animal from an animal rescue organization, shelter, or pound, and the animal rescue organization, shelter, or pound failed to provide the safety and temperament certification required pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection a. of this section or knowingly withheld any behavioral information required to be disclosed pursuant to paragraph (6) of subsection e. of this section, the animal rescue organization, shelter, or pound shall be liable for a penalty in the amount of five times the adoption fee charged for the animal.

 

      2.   (New section)     a.   In addition to the requirements of section 4 of P.L.1999, c.331 (C.56:8-95), a pet shop in the State shall document the health, behavioral, and medical history of an animal to the extent possible prior to offering the animal for sale by obtaining and retaining records of:

     (1)   a complete medical examination by a State licensed veterinarian performed on the animal when the animal is received by the pet shop for sale and a subsequent medical examination no more than 14 days before the animal is sold;

     (2)   a complete behavioral and psychological assessment by a certified animal behaviorist, psychologist, or trainer, including a safety and temperament certification verifying that the animal does not appear to exhibit behavior or tendencies that would make the animal dangerous or unsuitable for sale as a pet; and

     (3)   information concerning the animal's history, including any dangerous behavior, illnesses, injuries, physical or behavioral abnormalities, history of dangerous behavior, vaccinations received, number, type, and location of homes the animal has had, the reasons the animal left its previous homes, any history of biting, scratching, or attacking people or animals, or any other known health, behavioral, or medical information that may cause concern for a person purchasing the animal as a pet.

      b.   A pet shop shall disclose in writing all information obtained concerning the animal pursuant to subsection a. of this subsection, and the information required to be recorded or posted pursuant to subsections b. and c. of section 4 of P.L.1999, c.331 (C.56:8-95)  to any person who considers the purchase of, or purchases, an animal, with an advisory notice that the records may be incomplete.  The person adopting the animal shall sign a form verifying that the person received the written disclosure and advisory notice required pursuant to this section.

      c.    A pet shop shall not post or describe any behavioral information about an animal on the Internet without evidence of the behavioral information posted or described.  If the pet shop has no evidence of behavioral information for the animal,  the pet shop shall post that the animal's behavior history is unknown or that the animal's behavior has not been tested or assessed in a home environment.

      d.   At the time of sale or no more than 14 days before the sale of an animal is final, a State licensed veterinarian shall examine and certify that the animal:

     (1)   is free of fever, parasites, and contagious hair loss;

     (2)   is not vomiting;

     (3)   does not have loose stools and has feces free of disease, infection, or parasites;

     (4)   is in good health, or has specific health, mental, or medical problems as reported in writing and provided to the person purchasing the animal; 

     (5)   if the animal is a dog, has received its first parvo and distemper vaccines and at least one booster, and the dog's rabies inoculations are up-to-date; and

     (6)   has not exhibited dangerous behavior, that the animal's behavior history is unknown, or that any known dangerous behavior has been disclosed in writing and provided to the person purchasing the animal.

      e.    Failure to comply with the provisions of this section, the posting of unsubstantiated information concerning the health or behavior of an animal on the Internet, or describing unsubstantiated health or behavioral history on the Internet or to a person purchasing the animal shall constitute an unlawful practice and a violation of P.L.1960, c.39 (C.56:8-1 et seq.).

      f.    In addition to the penalties that may apply pursuant to P.L.1960, c.39 (C.56:8-1 et seq.)., a pet shop that sells an animal without providing the purchaser with the safety and temperament certification required pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection a. of this section shall be liable for five times the amount paid for the animal if the animal causes bodily harm to, or death of, another animal or any person following the purchase of the animal as a pet.

     3.    Section 6 of P.L.2011, c.142 (C.4:19-15.33) is amended to read as follows:

     6.    a.   The Department of Health shall establish a registry of animal rescue organizations and their facilities in the State. Any animal rescue organization [may voluntarily participate in the registry] operating in the State shall register with the Department of Health and shall comply with the provisions of P.L.2011, c.142 (C.4:19-15.30 et al.), section 16 of P.L.1941, c.151 (C.4:19-15.16), and section 1 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

     b.    The department, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), may adopt any rules and regulations determined necessary to implement the [voluntary] registry and coordinate its use with the provisions of P.L.2011, c.142 (C.4:19-15.30 et al.) [and] , section 16 of P.L.1941, c.151 (C.4:19-15.16) , and section 1 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

(cf: P.L.2012, c.17, s.13)

 

     4.    Section 4 of P.L.1999, c.336 (C.56:8-95) is amended to read as follows:

     4.    a.   Notwithstanding the provisions of any rule or regulation adopted pursuant to [Title 56 of the Revised Statutes as such provisions are applied to pet shops,] P.L.1960, c.39 (C.56:8-1 et seq.) or any other law, and without limiting the prosecution of any other practices which may be unlawful pursuant to [Title 56 of the Revised Statutes, it shall be a deceptive] P.L.1960, c.39 (C.56:8-1 et seq.) or any other law, it shall be an unlawful practice and a violation of P.L.1960, c.39 (C.56:8-1 et seq.) for any owner or operator of a pet shop, or employee thereof, to sell [animals within] an animal to a consumer in the State without complying with the provisions and requirements of this section [and] , section 3 of P.L.2015, c.7 (C.56:8-95.1), and any other applicable provisions, requirements, and prohibitions of P.L.1999, c.336 (C.56:8-92 et al.).

     b.    Within five days prior to the offering for sale of any animal, the owner or operator of a pet shop, or employee thereof, shall have the animal examined by a veterinarian licensed to practice in the State.  The name and address of the examining veterinarian, together with the findings made and treatment, if any, ordered as a result of the examination, shall be noted on the animal history and health certificate for each animal as required by regulations adopted pursuant to Title 56 of the Revised Statutes. If 14 days have passed since the last veterinarian examination of the animal, the owner or operator of the pet shop, or employee thereof, shall have the animal reexamined by a veterinarian licensed to practice in the State as provided for in subsection g. of this section, except as otherwise provided in that subsection.

      c.    Every pet shop offering animals for sale shall post, in a conspicuous location on the cage or enclosure for each animal in the cage or enclosure, a sign declaring:

     (1)   The date and place of birth of each animal, and the actual age, or approximate age as established by a veterinarian, of the animal;

     (2)   The sex, color markings, and other identifying information of the animal, including any tag, tattoo, collar number, or microchip information;

     (3)   The name and address of the veterinarian attending to the animal while the animal is in the custody of the pet shop, and the date of the initial and any subsequent examination of the animal;

     (4)   The first and last name of the breeder of the animal, the full street address of where the breeder is doing business, an email address, if available, by which to contact the breeder, the breeder's USDA license number, and, if the breeder is required to be licensed in the state in which the breeder is located, the breeder's state license number;

     (5)   If the broker is different from the breeder, the first and last name of the broker of the animal, the full street address of where the broker is doing business, an email address, if available, by which to contact the broker, the USDA license number of the broker, and, if the broker is required to be licensed in the state in which the broker is located, the broker's state license number; and

     (6)   The statement "Know Your Rights" in bold type face and no less than 12 point type, followed by the statement in no less than 10 point type, "State law requires that every pet shop offering cats or dogs for sale post in a conspicuous location on or near each cat or dog's cage or enclosure the USDA inspection reports for the breeder and broker of each cat or dog for the two years prior to the first day that the cat or dog is offered for sale.  If you do not see a required inspection report, please request the report from the pet shop. If you have any concerns, please contact the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, 124 Halsey St., Newark, NJ 07102, (973) 504-6200. You may also view these and other USDA inspection reports for the breeder and broker of each cat or dog on the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) website. You are entitled to receive additional information from APHIS about the breeder's or broker's history through the federal Freedom of Information Act."

     Every pet shop offering animals for sale shall also post, in a conspicuous location on or near the cage or enclosure for each animal in the cage or enclosure, the USDA inspection reports for the breeder and the broker of the animal for the two years prior to the first day that the animal is offered for sale by the pet shop.

     The owner or operator of the pet shop shall regularly update the information required to be posted pursuant to this subsection and make changes as necessary to all signage required by this subsection so that the public has access to the correct information at all times.

      d.   The owner or operator of a pet shop, or employee thereof, shall quarantine any animal diagnosed as suffering from a contagious or infectious disease, illness, or condition and may not sell such an animal until such time as a veterinarian licensed to practice in the State treats the animal and determines that such animal is free of clinical signs of infectious disease or that the animal is fit for sale.  All animals required to be quarantined pursuant to this subsection shall be placed in a quarantine area, separated from the general animal population of the pet shop.

      e.    The owner or operator of a pet shop, or designated employee thereof, may inoculate and vaccinate animals prior to purchase only upon the order of a veterinarian.  No owner or operator of a pet shop, or employee thereof, may represent, directly or indirectly, that the owner or operator of the pet shop, or any employee thereof, other than a veterinarian, is qualified to, directly or indirectly, diagnose, prognose, treat, or administer for, prescribe any treatment for, operate concerning, manipulate or apply any apparatus or appliance for addressing, any disease, pain, deformity, defect, injury, wound, or physical condition of any animal after purchase of the animal, for the prevention of, or to test for, the presence of any disease, pain, deformity, defect, injury, wound, or physical condition in an animal after its purchase.  These prohibitions include, but are not limited to, the giving of inoculations or vaccinations after purchase, the diagnosing, prescribing, and dispensing of medication to animals, and the prescribing of any diet or dietary supplement as treatment for any disease, pain, deformity, defect, injury, wound, or physical condition.

      f.    The Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety shall provide each owner or operator of a pet shop with notification forms, to be signed by the owner or operator of the pet shop, or employee thereof, and the consumer at the time of purchase of an animal.  The notification form shall provide the following:

     (1)   The full text of the rights and responsibilities provided for in subsection h. of this section;

     (2)   The full text and description of the recourse to which the consumer is entitled pursuant to subsection i. of this section;

     (3)   The statement that it is the responsibility of the consumer to obtain such certification within the required amount of time provided by subsection h. of this section.

     (4)   The full text of the rights and responsibilities of the owner or operator of the pet shop, and the employees thereof, and the consumer provided in subsection l. of this section;

     (5)   The notification, reporting and enforcement provisions provided in section 5 of P.L.1999, c.336 (C.56:8-96), including the name and address of the local health authority with jurisdiction over the pet shop;

     (6)   The name, full street address, email address, if available, and USDA license number of the breeder of the animal and the broker of the animal, if the broker is different from the breeder;

     (7)   The breeder's state license number, if the breeder is required to be licensed in the state in which the breeder is located, and, if the broker is different from the breeder and the broker is required to be licensed in the state in which the broker is located, the broker's state license number; and

     (8)   An attestation by the owner or operator of the pet shop that, as of the date of purchase of the animal by the pet shop, which shall be specified in the attestation, the breeder and the broker of the animal were in compliance with the requirements concerning the maintenance and care of animals and the sanitary operation of kennels, pet shops, shelters and pounds established in rules and regulations adopted pursuant to section 14 of P.L.1941, c.151 (C.4:19-15.14), as required pursuant to section 3 of P.L.2015, c.7 (C.56:8-95.1).

     The owner or operator of the pet shop, or an employee thereof, shall obtain the signature of the consumer on the form and shall also sign and date the form at the time of purchase of an animal by the consumer, and shall provide the consumer with a signed copy of the form and retain a copy of the form on the pet shop premises.  Copies of all such notices shall be readily available for inspection by an authorized representative of the Division of Consumer Affairs, upon request.  No pet shop owner or operator, or employee thereof, may construe or use the signed notification form required pursuant to this subsection as an abdication of the right to recourse provided for in subsection i., or as a selection of recourse pursuant to subsection k. of this section.

      g.   The owner or operator of a pet shop, or an employee thereof, shall have any animal that has been examined more than 14 days prior to the date of purchase, reexamined by a veterinarian for the purpose of disclosing its condition, within 72 hours of the delivery of the animal to the consumer, unless the consumer has waived the right to the reexamination in writing. The owner or operator of a pet shop, or an employee thereof, shall provide a copy of the written waiver to the consumer prior to the signing of any contract or agreement to purchase the animal and the written waiver shall be in the form established by the director by regulation.

      h.   If at any time within 14 days after the sale and delivery of an animal to a consumer, the animal becomes sick or dies and a veterinarian certifies, within the 14 days after the date of purchase of the animal by the consumer, that the animal is unfit for purchase due to a non-congenital cause or condition, or that the animal died from causes other than an accident, the consumer is entitled to the recourse described in subsection i. of this section.

     If the animal becomes sick or dies within 180 days after the date of purchase and a veterinarian certifies, within the 180 days after the date of purchase of the animal by the consumer, that the animal is unfit for sale due to a congenital or hereditary cause or condition, or a sickness brought on by a congenital or hereditary cause or condition, or died from such a cause or condition or sickness, the consumer shall be entitled to the recourse provided in subsection i. of this section.

     It shall be the responsibility of the consumer to obtain such certification within the required amount of time provided by this subsection, unless the owner or operator of the pet shop, or the employee thereof selling the animal to the consumer, fails to provide the notice required pursuant to subsection f. of this section.  If the owner or operator of the pet shop, or the employee thereof, fails to provide the required notice, the consumer shall be entitled to the recourse provided for in subsection i. of this section.

      i.    Only the consumer shall have the sole authority to determine the recourse the consumer wishes to select and accept, provided that the recourse selected is one of the following:

     (1)   The right to return the animal and receive a full refund of the purchase price, including sales tax, plus the reimbursement of the veterinary fees, including the cost of the veterinarian certification, incurred prior to the receipt by the consumer of the veterinarian certification;

     (2)   The right to retain the animal and to receive reimbursement for veterinary fees incurred prior to the consumer's receipt of the veterinarian certification, plus the future cost of veterinary fees to be incurred in curing or attempting to cure the animal, including the cost of the veterinarian certification;

     (3)   The right to return the animal and to receive in exchange an animal of the consumer's choice, of equivalent value, plus reimbursement of veterinary fees, including the cost of the veterinarian certification, incurred prior to the consumer's receipt of the veterinarian certification; or

     (4)   In the event of the death of the animal from causes other than an accident, the right to a full refund of the purchase price of the animal, including sales tax, or another animal of the consumer's choice of equivalent value, plus reimbursement of veterinary fees, including the cost of the veterinarian certification, incurred prior to the death of the animal.

     The consumer shall be entitled to be reimbursed an amount for veterinary fees up to and including two times the purchase price, including sales tax, of the sick or dead animal.  No reimbursement of veterinary fees shall exceed two times the purchase price, including sales tax, of the sick or dead animal.

      j.    The veterinarian shall provide to the consumer in writing and within the seven days after the consumer consults with the veterinarian any certification that is appropriate pursuant to this section upon the determination that such certification is appropriate.  The certification shall include:

     (1)   The name of the owner;

     (2)   The date or dates of examination;

     (3)   The breed, color, sex, and age of the animal;

     (4)   A statement of the findings of the veterinarian;

     (5)   A statement that the veterinarian certifies the animal to be "unfit for purchase";

     (6)   An itemized statement of veterinary fees incurred as of the date of certification;

     (7)   If the animal may be curable, an estimate of the possible cost to cure, or attempt to cure, the animal;

     (8)   If the animal has died, a statement establishing the probable cause of death; and

     (9)   The name and address of the certifying veterinarian and the date of the certification.

      k.   Upon the presentation of the veterinarian certification required in subsection j. of this section to the pet shop, the consumer shall select the recourse to be provided and the owner or operator of the pet shop, or the employee thereof, shall confirm the selection of recourse in writing.  The confirmation of the selection shall be signed by the owner or operator of the pet shop, or an employee thereof, and the consumer and a copy of the signed confirmation shall be given to the consumer and retained by the owner or operator of the pet shop, or employee thereof, on the pet shop premises. The confirmation of the selection shall be in the form established by the director by regulation.

      l.    The owner or operator of the pet shop, or an employee thereof, shall comply with the selection of recourse by the consumer no later than 10 days after the receipt of the veterinarian certification and the signed confirmation of selection of recourse form.  In the event the owner or operator of the pet shop, or an employee thereof, wishes to contest the selection of recourse of the consumer, the owner or operator of the pet shop, or an employee thereof, shall notify the consumer and the director in writing within the five days after the receipt of the veterinarian certification and the signed confirmation of selection of recourse form.  After notification to the consumer and the director of the division, the owner or operator of the pet shop, or an employee thereof, may require the consumer to produce the animal for examination by a veterinarian chosen by the owner or operator of the pet shop, or employee thereof, at a mutually convenient time and place, except if the animal has died and was required to be cremated for public health reasons.  The director shall set, upon receipt of such notice of contest on the part of the owner or operator of the pet shop, or an employee thereof, a hearing date and hold a hearing, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.) and the Uniform Administrative Procedure Rules adopted pursuant thereto, to determine whether the recourse selected by the consumer should be allowed.  The consumer and the owner or operator of the pet shop, or employee thereof, shall be entitled to any appeal of the decision resulting from the hearing as may be provided for under the law, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, but upon the exhaustion of such remedies and recourse, the consumer and the owner or operator of the pet shop shall comply with the final decision rendered.

     m.   Any owner or operator of a pet shop, or employee thereof, shall be guilty of [a deceptive] an unlawful practice and a violation of P.L.1960, c.39 (C.56:8-1 et seq.) if the owner or operator, or employee thereof, secures or attempts to secure a waiver of any of the provisions of this section except as specifically authorized under subsection g. of this section.

     n.    The owner of a pet shop shall be responsible and liable for any recourse or reimbursement due to a consumer because of violations of any provisions of this section by the owner or operator of the pet shop, or any employee thereof, or because of any document signed pursuant to this section by the owner or operator of the pet shop, or any employee thereof.

     o.    Any pet shop in the State advertising for sale an animal bred by a USDA licensed breeder through print or electronic means, including those posted on the Internet or a website, shall continuously display the name, state of residence, and USDA license number of the breeder of the animal in the advertisement so that this information is easily legible to the consumer.

(cf: P.L.2015, c.7, s.2)

 

     5.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill requires every animal rescue organization facility, shelter, pound, and pet shop in the State to establish an animal's health, behavioral, and medical history prior to offering the animal for adoption or sale, as applicable, by obtaining and retaining records of:

     (1)   a complete medical examination by a State licensed veterinarian performed on the animal when the animal is received by the animal rescue organization facility, shelter, or pound and a subsequent medical examination no more than 14 days before the animal is adopted;

     (2)   a complete behavioral and psychological assessment by a certified animal behaviorist, psychologist, or trainer, including a safety and temperament certification verifying that the animal does not appear to exhibit behavior or tendencies that would make the animal dangerous or unsuitable for adoption; and

     (3)   to the extent possible, any information concerning the animal's history, including any dangerous behavior, illnesses, injuries, physical or behavioral abnormalities, history of dangerous behavior, vaccinations received, number, type, and location of homes the animal has had, the reasons the animal left its previous homes, any history of biting, scratching, or attacking people or animals, or any other known health, behavioral, or medical information that may cause concern for a person adopting the animal.

     The bill requires every animal rescue organization facility, shelter, pound, and pet shop in the State to disclose in writing any and all information obtained concerning the animal's history to any person considering adopting or purchasing the animal as a pet, with an advisory notice that the records may be incomplete.  The bill also requires the person adopting or purchasing the animal to sign a form verifying that the written disclosure was provided.

     Under the bill, it would be an unlawful practice and a violation of the State consumer fraud law to fail to comply with the provisions of sections 1 or 2 of the bill, or to post or describe behavioral information about an animal on the Internet without evidence of that behavioral information. Violators of the State consumer fraud law can be subject to fines of up to $10,000 for a first offense, up to $20,000 for a second or subsequent offense, and the imposition of treble damages.

     In addition to the penalties imposed for violating consumer fraud law, if the animal causes bodily harm to, or death of, another animal or any person following the adoption or sale of the animal, and the animal rescue organization, shelter, pound, or pet shop, as applicable, failed to provide the safety and temperament certification required under the bill or knowingly withheld any behavioral information required to be disclosed under the bill, the animal rescue organization, shelter, or pound would be liable for a penalty of five times the adoption fee charged for the animal or a pet shop would be liable for a penalty of five times the purchase price of the animal.

     This bill is designated as "Rocky's Law" in honor of a domestic companion animal Rocky who lost his life to a rescue animal that had mental health issues that were not disclosed at the time of adoption.

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