Legislation sponsored by Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Dave Wolfe and Greg McGuckin, all R-Ocean, to protect pet owners and their boarded animals was approved today by the Senate. The bill now heads to Gov. Christie for his consideration.
“Betsy’s Law” was drafted in response to the death of a dog following a minor veterinary procedure. Betsy was boarded overnight and hanged herself in her crate as a result of a lack of animal supervision.
“When pet owners leave their pet in the care of a veterinary facility, they assume the animal is being supervised around the clock and receiving the best of care,” said Holzapfel. “This tragic incident could have been prevented if the facility had better informed its client of its operating procedures.”
The bill, S-903/A-1186, requires veterinarians and animal hospitals to provide pet owners with written notification if a boarded animal will not be subject to 24-hour supervision by a person physically on the premises. Pet owners must also be made aware of the dangers associated with boarding their pets overnight.
“Many pet owners consider their pet a part of their family. When they board their animal they expect it will receive 24-hour supervision,” said Wolfe. “As we have learned from this incident, that isn’t always the case. “Better communication on the part of veterinarians will provide peace of mind for customers, and help prevent similar accidents in the future.”
The measure will allow pet owners to make an informed choice regarding their authorization of an unsupervised veterinary stay for their animal. In addition, it helps prevent veterinarians from misleading animal owners about the safety of these boarding conditions, as was done in Betsy’s case.
“When people board their pets overnight, many are unaware that it may be hours in between visits from a staff member or technician,” stated McGuckin. “This legislation will hopefully prevent other pet owners from experiencing the same tragic outcome as Betsy did when leaving their pet at a facility overnight.”