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New Jersey lawmakers consider giving (some) animals attorneys in court

ALL animals need representation. They need people to come forward on their behalf. They can’t speak. Often times animal abusers do not get close to the maximum punishment allowed by law.

CHRISTIE DUFFY: ‘A bill has been proposed in New Jersey by State Assemblywoman Annette Quijano that would give cats and dogs an advocate in court… Law students and attorneys could volunteer to represent the ‘pets’ pro-bono — to make their case when abusers face a judge. “Dogs need representation,” said John DeCando, chief animal control officer for the city of Paterson. “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”. DeCando has been prosecuting animal abuse cases for decades — and he says he’s never lost a fight. But often times animal abusers do not get close to the maximum punishment allowed by law…

Quijano’s bill is modeled after a Connecticut law that is the first of it’s kind, called “Desmond’s law”, named for a dog that was killed by it’s owner, whom did not receive jail time. Brutally beaten, strangled and starved — Desmond’s owner admitted it, but was only sentenced to a 4-month rehabilitation program. “Which was insignificant compared to the magnitude of the injury and pain and suffering he caused to Desmond,” commented Diane Balkin, senior staff attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, which helped craft Desmond’s law… New York Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal has also proposed a similar bill that will be re-introduced in New York on January 9′. SOURCE…

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