TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senate Economic Growth Chair Nilsa Cruz-Perez that would help prevent the abusive treatment of wild and exotic animals in traveling animal acts was approved today by the Senate Economic Growth Committee.
The bill, S-1093, known as “Nosey’s Law,” would prohibit the use of exotic and wild animals in traveling animal acts, defined as any performance which requires an animal to be transported to or from the location of the performance in a mobile or traveling housing facility. Nosey is an elephant who is virtually crippled by arthritis, who was forced to travel the country to give rides at fairs, flea markets and other events. The arthritis has likely caused Nosey unnecessary suffering, permanent disability and reports indicate that Nosey has been denied necessary veterinary care.
“The conditions Nosey and other wild and exotic animals are forced to endure are cruel and inhumane,” said Senator Cruz-Perez (D-Camden/Gloucester). “These animals are not here to be used as entertainment for humans. An injured elephant like Nosey giving rides to children and others can actually be dangerous. If the animal should stumble or collapse due to her fragile condition any rider could be injured.”
Nosey’s former owners have been cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for nearly 200 violations of the Animal Cruelty Act, including chaining Nosey so tightly she couldn’t move and denying her needed veterinary care. It has also been alleged that Nosey has been tortured with electric shock, bull hooks, sledgehammers, shovels and starvation.
“The pain and suffering inflicted on this or any animal should be ended,” said Senator Cruz-Perez. “Our state’s exotic animal regulations are intended to prevent exactly this kind of abuse and the federal Animal Welfare Act was amended to include animals used in exhibition to prevent this sort of mistreatment,”
Any person who violates the law will be subject to the penalties provided in the “The Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act”. This would include civil administrative penalties, civil penalties, and injunctive relief, but not the criminal penalties set forth in the Act.
Nosey has been saved, taken away by court order and currently living in an elephant sanctuary.
The bill would create certain exemptions for New Jersey parks and zoos, universities and government entities.
The bill was released from committee with a 5-0 vote. It next heads to the full Senate for further consideration.