Christie signs bill stripping NJSPCA of its powerPosted: Updated:
Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill into law Monday removing power from the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and giving responsibility for animal cruelty investigations to county prosecutors.
The bill was inspired by a 15-month Kane In Your Corner investigation, followed by a scathing report by the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation.
“I’m just happy the animals will finally be getting what they deserve,” said Collene Wronko, the leader of Reformers NJ, which led a grassroots effort to replace the NJSPCA.
BREAKING: Gov Christie signs law stripping power from #NJSPCA. Bill by retiring @SenatorLesniak was inspired by yr-long #KIYC invest’n & scathing @NewJerseySCI report. Both found financial irregularities, lack of enforcement. New system to be set up over next 6 months.— Walt Kane (@waltkane) January 15, 2018
The NJSPCA will be phased out over the next six months. County SPCAs will remain in existence, meaning that county animal shelters will be unaffected. The legislation was authored by now-retired Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Elizabeth) and passed the state Legislature on the last day of his 40-year legislative career.
"A new day arrives for abused and abandoned animals in New Jersey, as law enforcement will do what law enforcement knows best: enforce the laws. And county SPCAs will be free to do what they do best: provide for and care for abused and abandoned animals," Lesniak said.
Lesniak credited the law to a Kane In Your Corner investigation, which began in the fall of 2016 and exposed numerous issues, including animal cruelty cases apparently sitting uninvestigated, no-bid contracts between the NJSPCA and companies owned by its board of trustees, and various other financial irregularities.
The push to remove the NJSPCA as the state’s “animal police” gathered additional steam in October, when the SCI issued a scathing report recommending it be dissolved.
The NJSPCA and its well-connected Trenton lobbying firm, MBI-Gluckshaw, had been aggressively opposing the legislation, but the NJSPCA may have dealt itself a fatal blow with a plan to use assumed names and anonymous emails to lobby lawmakers. The plan was outlined in an email from an NJSPCA trustee to more than 50 of the group’s law enforcement officers.
Kane in Your CornerMore>>
- Is there a danger of concussion on high-speed thrill rides? The Kane In Your Corner team takes you inside this in-depth investigation.Is there a danger of concussion on high-speed thrill rides? The Kane In Your Corner team takes you inside this in-depth investigation.
- Nearly half of all Americans will take part in this weekend's sales -- but are they really getting bargains?Nearly half of all Americans will take part in this weekend's sales -- but are they really getting bargains?
- Walt Kane talks to New Jersey Better Business Bureau Director Melissa Companick about the history of the Better Business Bureau, the way the organization operates and the services it provides.Want to know more about the Better Business Bureau? Check out the latest Kane In Your Corner podcast to learn about the agency’s services, operations and history.
- It depends on how much you spend, but most analysts say the average family will spend at least an extra $400 a year.It depends on how much you spend, but most analysts say the average family will spend at least an extra $400 a year.
- A Morris County man is out more than $7,000 as the result of a scam that targets people who are already out of work, and the Better Business Bureau says the scam is on the rise in this area.A Morris County man is out more than $7,000 as the result of a scam that targets people who are already out of work, and the Better Business Bureau says the scam is on the rise in this area.