New Jersey’s Proposed Seat Belt Law For Dogs Isn’t As Dumb As It Sounds (Just Kidding)

If a New Jersey legislator gets her way, the Garden State will have the toughest seat belt laws in the country…for dogs.

Democratic New Jersey Assemblywoman Grace Spencer has proposed a bill that would give law enforcement the authority to issue a a $20 ticket to anyone caught driving around with their dog unharnessed. Additionally, the offender could be hit with animal cruelty charges.

Cats also are included in Spencer’s bill.

Requiring animals to wear seat belts may make about as much sense as “kitten mittons” (see video below), but there is some logic behind it (none of which was used by Spencer in explaining her bill).

Spencer’s reason for forcing drivers to buckle up their pets stems from a class she visited at a Newark Charter School, where a veterinarian told her about a dog whose leg was broken after its owner made a sudden stop, according to the Newark Star-Ledger.

One dog’s broken leg is hardly a reason for a taxpayer funded argument over seat belts for pets — which Spencer’s bill already has become (Republicans oppose the bill and have proposed their own bill to counter it).

However, dogs can act as a “backseat bullet” if not buckled up during a car wreck.

See an example of a “backseat bullet” — which was part of a British PSA campaign — below:

The problem, however, is that anything — a bag of groceries, a heavy purse, for example — can be a “backseat bullet,” so until Spencer wants to start buckling up inanimate objects, a seat belt law for dogs will do nothing to solve what could be perceived as an actual problem.

Again, though, Spencer’s reason for the law is one dog who broke his leg, not the possibility of people getting crushed to death by a canine projectile. And even the ASPCA doesn’t recognize animals not being buckled up as a serious problem worthy of legislation.

From the Star-Ledger:

But Tim Martin, a spokesman for the New Jersey SPCA, called the
remark an “unscripted moment” and said the group, which is allowed to
enforce animal protection laws, does not target drivers who leave their
pets unbuckled. “The point we were trying to make is having Spot on your
lap while you’re driving is dangerous to both you and the animal,” he

Martin said over the last six years his group investigated 21 cases
of animals allegedly being transported in an unsafe way, about a quarter
of which resulted in fines. But he noted these were for extreme cases,
such as a dog riding on a motorcycle’s gas tank. He wouldn’t comment on
Spencer’s bill but said the group does not view unbelted dogs and cats
as animal cruelty.

And now, without further ado, “Kitten Mittons”:


Cat-Killing Father And Son Face Prison Time In Beating Death Of Own Cat

You’d think that at ages 60 and 29, the prepubescent thrill of killing animals (most typically found in soon-to-be serial killers) would have faded. That, apparently, is not the case for a father and son in Brooklyn, who authorities say beat a cat to death and then tossed it in the road.

Jean Rog Murat, 60, and his son, Robenson Murat, 29, were indicted yesterday on a collection of animal cruelty charges in the beating death of the animal, and now face prison time for killing a defenseless animal.

According to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, on July 12, a neighbor heard noises coming the Murats’ house. Curious, the neighbor did some snooping and watched as the Murats beat their black cat with a stick.


After beating the cat to death, the two alleged sickos left the
animal’s body on a street corner near their house in an apparent attempt
to make it seem as though it was hit by a car. The next morning, Jean
Murat allegedly retrieved the remains, stuck them in a bag, and put them
in the garbage.

The witness called the ASPCA, which investigated the Murat’s home,
where they found a broken stick, “cat fibers,” and blood in the attic.
The two men were arrested shortly after.

“Cruelty to animals is unacceptable behavior in any society and is a
serious crime in New York,” Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes says. “It is often a pre-cursor to domestic violence
and is known to be early evidence of potential serial killing. There
is no reason for such senseless killing of an animal. The defendant in
this case will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

In all, the Murats have been charged with one count each of
aggravated cruelty to animals and overdriving, torturing and injuring
animals and failure to provide proper sustenance for animals.

We realize that not everyone’s a cat person — we certainly fall into
that category — but if you don’t like cats, there’s a simple solution
to avoid the annoyances of feline companionship: don’t get a fucking


Bronx Woman Arrested for Starving Her Pups

No one likes a canine abuser so here’s a story that most likely will not cheer up your Saturday.

At the end of February, the Humane Law Enforcement responded to a complaint in the north borough by neighbors who had spotted two frail pups hanging around an apartment building on Webster Avenue. The dogs belonged to Gillian Irving, a 27-year-old woman who reportedly ignored her two seven-month-old pit bulls for weeks on end.

Yesterday, the American Society for the Prevention for Cruelty to Animal (ASPCA) – a group that conducts large-scale SWAT-esque raids of places involved in animal abuse – concluded that the woman was not only neglecting her pups but starving them to boot. Yes, people like this exist in the world.

When the dogs entered the care of the ASPCA, they respectively weighed 16.4 and 15.2 pounds. After being looked over by veterinarians, the dogs now weigh 27.1 and 26.9 pounds (Gothamist has heart-wrenching before and after shots of these poor pups here).

Thankfully, sweet justice ensued: charges have been placed against the woman for two misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and she could face two years in prison.

Unfortunately, according to CBS, this is the third time of the year that a person like Gillian Irving has been reported in the Bronx and the sixteenth time in all of New York City. These are disturbing statistics, especially after that whole “accident” with Michael Vick. Oh, and also the fact that it’s only April.

In Defense Of Richard Ferrugio, Alleged Cat Bludgeoner…

An Associated Press article made the Internet rounds over the weekend about a man who was arrested last week for allegedly beating a cat to death with a tire iron outside of a bar in Queens last month.

As much as we’d like to vilify 39-year-old Richard Ferrugio for being the complete shit-bag he allegedly is, we figure we’ll play devil’s advocate…for a minute.

Ferrugio was arrested Friday after a lengthy investigation by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for the alleged February 7, bludgeoning.

According to ASPCA investigators, several witnesses, including children,
watched  as Ferrugio pulled a tire iron out of his car and beat the cat
to death with it on a sidewalk outside of the Neirs Tavern in
Woodhaven. He then fled on foot.

As other media outlets are making Ferrugio out to be a monster, we’ll
give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that perhaps the cat was
injured when Ferrugio stumbled upon it, and — concerned for the cat’s
well-being — decided to show it a little mercy by putting it out of its

Oh, yeah…prior to beating the cat with the tire iron, Ferrugio was
thrown out of the Neirs Tavern for being too drunk. Witnesses also say
he kicked the defenseless animal prior to beating it to death with the tire
iron…and that’s about as far as our defense of this alleged creep will

Ferrugio was booked into jail Friday on one count each of aggravated animal cruelty and criminal possession of a weapon.

We’ve reached out to Ferrugio to see if he wants to lend any credence to
our far-fetched yarn about him showing mercy to the injured cat. We
haven’t heard back.