Christie: Dog restraint bill 'stupid'

Posted: September 30, 2012

New Jersey's cats and dogs won't have to submit to seatbelt-like harnesses when they ride in cars so long as Christopher J. Christie is governor.

Christie said he would not sign a "stupid" proposal pending in the Legislature that would require motorists to secure their animals while in moving vehicles.

Democrats, who control the Senate and General Assembly, are wasting their time with the measure, said the first-term Republican, who is confronting a shortfall in revenue and whose constituents face the highest residential property taxes in the nation and the worst unemployment rate in three decades.

"This will tell you everything you need to know about how New Jersey runs under the Democrats," Christie said Thursday night on his monthly Ask the Governor broadcast on New Jersey 101.5 radio. "They're actually spending their time on this."

"Let's not cut taxes," Christie said. "Let's not plug the holes in the property-tax cap. Let's not get shared services so we can reduce property taxes. Let's not pass ethics reform so these part-time legislators will have to tell you what money they're getting and where they're getting it from."

Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer (D., Essex), who owns a Pomeranian named A. J., five cats, and a rabbit, introduced the bill to require harnesses for animals not being transported in cages. The goal, she said, is to reduce driver distractions and protect the animals in the event of an accident.

Violators would get a $25 ticket that might escalate to higher fines.

If the bill makes it through the Legislature, Christie said, he wouldn't put "my name near something that stupid."

Securing animals is "a bigger issue than people realize," said Spencer, a liability law attorney, who compared it to distractions such as texting while driving.

Christie is pressing for a tax cut to help create jobs.

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