New Jersey Assemblyman Introduces Black Bear Hunt Bans

New Jersey Assemblyman Anthony Chiappone this month introduced two bills in that would ban black bear hunting in that state and require the New Jersey Fish and Game Council to study alternatives to hunting to control the black bear population.

Assembly Bill 2634 reads in part that,

The Fish and Game Council shall, within 18 months after the date of enactment of this act, conduct a study setting forth (1) the status and management of the black bear population in the State, (2) an analysis of the population growth of black bear in the State, and (3) information on the availability, effectiveness, and implementation of alternative black bear population control methods, reproductive control methods, and sterilization control methods. Upon completion of this study, the State Fish and Game Council shall submit a written report to the Department of Environmental Protection, the Governor, and both Houses of the Legislature.

And just to show that he’s serious about making sure the matter gets thoroughly studied, Chiappone’s bill would allocate the sum of $95,000 to the Fish and Game Council for said study.

The full text of Assembly Bill 2634 can be read here.

Chiappone also introduced Assembly Bill 2704 which would simply ban bear hunting, period, and set up a group separate from the Fish and Game Council to manage black bear populations in the state. That bill has some interesting language (emphasis added),

There is established a Black Bear Study Commission, which shall comprise 11 members as follows: two veterinarians licensed in the State of New Jersey, having experience with black bears, who shall be appointed by the Governor; a representative of the Humane Society of the United States, who shall be appointed by that organization; a representative of the Bear Education and Resource Group, who shall be appointed by that organization; a representative of persons residing in those areas of the State where black bear are regularly found, who shall be appointed by the governing body of West Milford Township in Passaic County; a representative of the Sierra Club, who shall be appointed by that organization; a representative of the Mountain Preservation Society, who shall be appointed by that organization; a member of the Nature Preservation Council, who shall be appointed by that organization; a representative of the Farm Bureau, who shall be appointed by that organization; an animal control officer having experience with black bears, who shall be appointed by the governor; and a representative of the Department of Environmental Protection, who shall be appointed by that agency. The Governor shall appoint the Chair.

Now there’s a great idea — give an animal rights group like HSUS a permanent position on a council that for the next five years would play a major role in setting bear management policies.

This writer wholeheartedly agrees with U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance field director Tony Celebrezze who said in a press release on the bills that,

These bills eliminate science from wildlife management, eradicating the bear hunt without presenting a scientific or biological basis for doing so. Hunting is the most effective bear management tool and it should not be discarded because of the emotional rhetoric of anti-hunters.

The full text of Assembly Bill 2704 can be read here.

Sources:

New Jersey bills will prohibit black bear hunt. Press Release, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, May 14, 2004.

New Jersey Borough Passes Pet Guardian Resolution

Wanaque, New Jersey, became the first municipality in that state to pass a resolution declaring that pet owners are to be referred to as “guardians.”

Wanaque borough attorney Anthony Fiorello told The Record of Bergen County that the resolution was intended to be entirely symbolic,

It has no legal implication other than to try to bring the animal owner to a greater sense of responsibility to his pet.

Newsday quoted In Defense of Animals’ Elliott Katz as praising the change saying,

This will help people’s general consciousness from thinking animals are just commodities to understanding they’re pets and they need care. This will trickle down to children, and you will see people more pro-active about taking care of their pets; they’ll be less likely to abandon animals.

Katz forgot to mention that it would bring about world peace and solve hunger as well.

Source:

Borough pets now have ‘guardians,’ not owners. Newsday, May 13, 2004.

New Jersey Assembly Bill 2634 – Ban on Bear Hunting

 

ASSEMBLY, No. 2634

 

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

 

211th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MAY 3, 2004

 

 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman ANTHONY CHIAPPONE

District 31 (Hudson)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

    Prohibits black bear hunting for five years and until study is issued by Fish
and Game Council; appropriates $95,000.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

    As introduced.

 

An Act concerning the hunting of black bear and making an
appropriation.

 

    Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State
of New Jersey:

 

    1. a. Notwithstanding any law, rule, regulation, or provision of the
State Fish and Game Code to the contrary, there shall be no open
season nor any hunting by permit for black bear anywhere in the State
prior to five years after the effective date of this act and until a study
is conducted by the New Jersey Fish and Game Council pursuant to
subsection b. of this section.

    b. The Fish and Game Council shall, within 18 months after the
date of enactment of this act, conduct a study setting forth (1) the
status and management of the black bear population in the State, (2)
an analysis of the population growth of black bear in the State, and (3)
information on the availability, effectiveness, and implementation of
alternative black bear population control methods, reproductive
control methods, and sterilization control methods. Upon completion
of this study, the State Fish and Game Council shall submit a written
report to the Department of Environmental Protection, the Governor,
and both Houses of the Legislature.

 

    2. There is appropriated from the General Fund to the Fish and
Game Council the sum of $95,000 to carry out the purposes of this
act.

 

    3. This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

    This bill would impose a statutory moratorium on black bear
hunting in the State for five years after the date of enactment of this
bill and require the State Fish and Game Council to conduct a study
on the black bear population in the State.

    The provisions of the bill would provide that the Fish and Game
Council shall, within 18 months after the enactment of this bill,
conduct a study setting forth (1) the status and management of the
black bear population in the State, (2) an analysis of the population
growth of black bear in the State, and (3) information on the
availability, effectiveness, and implementation of alternative black
bear population control methods, reproductive control methods, and
sterilization control methods.
Upon completion of this study, the
State Fish and Game Council shall submit a written report to the
Department of Environmental Protection, the Governor, and both
Houses of the Legislature.

    This bill also would appropriate $95,000 to the Fish and Game
Council for the preparation and completion of the study.

Excluding Animal Killing from Jayson Williams Case Was Appropriate

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals overstepped its bounds quite a bit in arguing that prejudicial evidence about Jayson Williams killing his dog should have been allowed in Williams’ manslaughter trial.

For those not following this case, Williams is a former National Basketball Association star who is charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of a limousine driver who drove Williams and his party to Williams’ mansion in February 2002. According to witnesses, Williams was showing off a shotgun to guests when the gun discharged while aimed at limousine driver Costas Christoffi. In addition to manslaughter, Williams is charged with trying to cover-up the crime including asking guests to lie to police about the circumstances of the shooting.

Testimony at his trial portrayed Williams as a depraved individual. According to one witness, for example, while Christoffi lay wounded and dying, Williams pressed the shotgun into his hands in order to set up a defense that Christoffi had accidentally shot himself.

That testimony was allowed in, but testimony about an alleged incident in 2001 was excluded as prejudicial. Williams’ former teammate Dwayne Schintzius claimed that in 2001, Williams bet him $100 that he could not get one of Williams’ guard dogs out of the house and onto the porch. According to Schintzius, when he returned a few minutes later with the dog, Williams went into the house and returned with a rifle. He then shot and killed the dog and threatened Schintzius with the gun.

After hearing Schintzius’ claims with the jury in recess, Judge Edward Coleman ruled that Schintzius’ testimony would be overly prejudicial and refused to allow the jury to hear testimony about the alleged incident. The judge apparently agreed with Williams’ defense attorney that putting Schintzius on the stand was simply “a strategic attempt by the prosecution to smear Mr. Williams in the eyes of the jury and deny him a fair trial.”

In response, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals issued a press release in February expressing its disappointment at the judge’s decision. According to the ASPCA,

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is shocked by the decision a New Jersey judge has made which bars the submission of evidence that basketball star, Jayson Williams killed his pet Rottweiler at his home in Alexandria, NJ. Williams, who is accused of aggravated manslaughter in the death of Costas Christofi, allegedly shot his pet twice in the head and abdomen just six months prior to the the Christofi shooting.

“There is clearcut evidence which indicates that people who intentionally injure or kill animals are inclined to act violently towards people,” says Dr. Stephanie LaFarge, Director of the ASPCA’s Counseling Services department. “Research has shown that people who are violent toward the family pet as Jayson Williams allegedly was, are more inclined to be violent towards their family and friends.”

What is shocking is that the APSCA would put out such an absurd claim. In fact, it demonstrates exactly why the judge was correct in excluding any evidence about the alleged shooting of the dog — because jurors are likely to jump to the conclusion, as the APSCA apparently has, that if he shot his dog he is “more inclined” to have shot the limousine driver.

Fortunately, in the United States we still judge people based on evidence rather than on studies about possible “inclinations.” The judge in this case was correct — Schintzius’ would have been overly prejudicial and had no business being brought up in his manslaughter trial.

Source:

ASPCA Disappointed at Decision of Judge in the Pretrial Hearing of Jayson Williams. Press Release, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, February 6, 2004.