Animal Welfare Proposals In Montclair Almost Ready, Councilman Says

MONTCLAIR, NJ — Several proposed ordinances and symbolic resolutions in Montclair that deal with animal welfare are in the works, a town councilman says.

Earlier this week, Peter Yacobellis reported that he has been meeting with the Humane Society of the United States, along with Annette Batson, who leads a new group, Humane Montclair, and Karen Sacks, who leads Partners in Animal Welfare (PAW).

“We decided to propose an initial batch of ordinances and resolutions for the council to consider adopting,” Yacobellis said. “These items will begin to move this month.”

The councilman provided the following statements about each proposal, including his opinion about whether they are expected to pass.

Ordinance to Prohibit the Retail Sale of Puppy Mill Dogs and Cats in Pet Stores (introduced by Councilor Yacobellis and Councilor [Robin] Schlager, co-sponsored by Deputy Mayor [William] Hurlock. Introduced for first reading on Sept. 28th. Should come up for a second/final vote on Oct. 11th.

“I feel strongly that people should know that when they buy a dog or cat from a pet store, they are likely supporting an abusive puppy mill. Puppy mills are inhumane high-volume dog breeding facilities that churn out puppies for profit, ignore the needs of the pups and their mothers, and subject them to neglect, abuse, and illness. Indubitably, promoting animal abuse does not reflect Montclair’s community values. By passing this ordinance, Montclair will join the 134 New Jersey municipalities that have already passed similar legislation to prohibit these sales.”

Resolution Opposing Trade in Fur Products in Montclair (introduced by Councilor Yacobellis and Councilor Schlager. Expected to pass at Sept. 28th meeting).

“Discouraging the trade in fur products in Montclair will increase community awareness of animal welfare, bolster the demand for sustainable and innovative alternatives, and foster a more humane environment. The fur trade is unnecessarily harmful to animals, public health, and the environment, especially considering the vast number of alternatives to fur. Animals slaughtered for their fur suffer tremendously. In addition, COVID-19 infections have been confirmed at fur farms in the U.S. and have been linked to animals most commonly farmed for their fur. The fur production process is also energy intensive and causes air and water pollution. This resolution would give Montclair the opportunity to be a leader on fur sales resolutions as no New Jersey municipalities have passed resolutions discouraging the trade in fur products.”

Resolution Supporting Passage of Confinement Bill, A1970/S1298 introduced by Councilor Yacobellis and Councilor Schlager. Expected to pass at Sept. 28th meeting.

“A1970/S1298 would ban the use of gestation and veal crates, and, thus, allow mother pigs and baby calves enough space to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs. Nearly identical bills to outlaw gestation crates passed with overwhelming bipartisan legislative support in prior years in New Jersey. Ten U.S. states, Canada and the European Union have outlawed them. Similarly, nine U.S. states have banned veal crates. The passage of this resolution would urge the legislature to support A1970/S1298, legislation which would ban the cruel confinement of mother pigs and baby calves. Furthermore, this resolution would help promote community awareness of animal welfare in Montclair and enhance the Township’s humane reputation.”

Resolution Opposing the indiscriminate Killing of Wildlife in the form of Wildlife Killing Contests introduced by Councilor Yacobellis and Councilor Schlager. Expected to pass at Sept. 28th meeting.

“Wildlife killing contests are organized events, unmonitored by the Division of Fish & Wildlife, in which participants compete to kill the most, the heaviest, or even the smallest foxes, coyotes, raccoons, squirrels, and other animals within a certain timeframe for entertainment, prizes, cash, or other inducements. These contests, organized merely for sport and attended by adults and children alike, are simply barbaric and brutal and teach children that indiscriminate killing of animals is not only acceptable but sanctioned. The resolution supports changes to New Jersey statute or regulations to ban any and all future killing contests that target furbearer and unprotected mammal species.”

Backyard Chicken Ordinance – introduced by Councilor Yacobellis and Councilor Schlager with a first reading on Sept. 28th and second/final vote on Oct. 11th.

“The purpose of this ordinance is to modernize Chapter 82 of the code of the Township of Montclair to include requirements consistent with humane standards of care for the construction, location and maintenance of sheds, coops, pens and other structures in which animals or fowl are kept or housed. This includes minimum requirements for health and sanitation. The current ordinance, Montclair E-Code 360 General Code Section II, Chapter 8 Article IV – Animal Raising or Breeding [Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Town of Montclair 4-15-1980 by Ord. No. 80-12 as Art. XIV of Ch. 137 of the 1979 Code] is out of date and sparse in details.”

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