SENATE, No. 3333

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

221st LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JUNE 3, 2024

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  CARMEN F. AMATO, JR.

District 9 (Ocean)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Bars enforcement of provision in decedent’s will that would require euthanasia of healthy domestic companion animal.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning domestic companion animals and supplementing Title 3B of the New Jersey Statutes.

 

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

 

     1.    a.  As used in this act:

     (1)   “Fiduciary” includes executors, general administrators of an intestate estate, administrators with the will annexed, substituted administrators, substituted administrators with the will annexed, guardians, substituted guardians, trustees, substituted trustees and, unless restricted by the subject or context, temporary administrators, administrators pendente lite, administrators ad prosequendum, administrators ad litem and other limited fiduciaries.

     (2)   “Domestic companion animal” means any animal commonly referred to as a pet or one that has been bought, bred, raised or otherwise acquired, in accordance with local ordinances and State and federal law, for the primary purpose of providing companionship to the owner, rather than for business or agricultural purposes. 

     b.    Any provision in a will that directs the fiduciary to euthanize a healthy domestic companion animal is against public policy and is void and unenforceable.

 

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would bar the enforcement of any provision in a decedent’s will that would require the euthanasia of a healthy pet.

     The bill was prompted by reports in March 2019 that a healthy Shih Tzu in Virginia was euthanized pursuant to her late owner’s will. Reportedly, a local animal shelter had offered to hold the dog for adoption, but the executor declined. The executor brought the dog to a vet, where she was euthanized.

     Under the bill, any provision in a will that directs the fiduciary to euthanize a healthy domestic companion animal is against public policy and is void and unenforceable.

     The bill’s definition of “fiduciary” is identical to that in N.J.S.3B:1-1: the term includes includes executors, general administrators of an intestate estate, administrators with the will annexed, substituted administrators, substituted administrators with the will annexed, guardians, substituted guardians, trustees, substituted trustees and, unless restricted by the subject or context, temporary administrators, administrators pendente lite, administrators ad prosequendum, administrators ad litem and other limited fiduciaries.

     The bill defines “domestic companion animal” as any animal commonly referred to as a pet or one that has been bought, bred, raised or otherwise acquired, in accordance with local ordinances and State and federal law, for the primary purpose of providing companionship to the owner, rather than for business or agricultural purposes.