Fairfield Introduces Animal Control Ordinance Following Death of Resident's Dog

Fairfield Township mayor and council introduces new Animal Control ordinance.

FAIRFIELD, NJ — The Township of Fairfield is proposing to adopt an ordinance on animal control due to a recent incident concerning a pit bull and a neighboring dog.

The Fairfield Township Council introduced the proposed ordinance at its meeting on Monday following a complaint from Fairfield resident Desiree Jannicelli, who asked the council on May 8 to review the township’s dog ordinance after she said her dog was killed by her neighbor’s pit bull.

According to Jannicelli, her dog had been injured once before by the same dog, but because they were neighbors, she did not report the incident to police. Jannicelli said she was under the impression that the current animal control ordinance states that a dog should be put down after two incidents.

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“This is two incidents too many,” said Jannicelli, who added that since she never reported the first incident, the neighbor has the right to keep the dog.

Jannicelli said she would like to see each incident judged on a case-to-case basis. She said it has now become a neighbor issue, but also believes the dog to be dangerous.

Mayor James Gasparini said at the May 8 meeting that the township would revisit the ordinance and is now proposing to implement an Animal Control Ordinance adopting the New Jersey uniform requirements for the owners of vicious or potentially dangerous dogs.

The law states that the municipal court shall declare a dog to be potentially dangerous if it finds by clear and convincing evidence that the dog caused bodily injury to a person during an unprovoked attack, and poses a serious threat of bodily injury or death to a person or has severely injured or killed another domestic animal.

It also states that the municipal court shall declare a dog to be potentially dangerous if it “has been trained, tormented, badgered, baited or encouraged to engage in unprovoked attacks upon persons or domestic animals.”

The public hearing on this ordinance will be held on Monday, July 17.

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