As the year comes to an end, animal advocates celebrate the passage of three new animal protection ordinances and resolutions in Montclair.

Most notably, Montclair prohibited the retail sale of dogs and cats in pet stores. Montclair joins 136 municipalities in New Jersey that have enacted humane pet store laws, deciding that prohibiting pet stores from selling dogs and cats was the best solution to protecting consumers and stopping puppy mills. This ordinance is intended to prevent mill-raised dogs and cats from being sold in any existing or new pet stores in Montclair. Residents can continue to obtain pets from animal g shelters, rescues and responsible breeders.

Montclair also passed two resolutions in support of key animal protection legislation in New Jersey: R-22-204, which opposes the indiscriminate killing of wildlife via wildlife killing contests (supporting A502/S2409); and R-22-200, which opposes the intensive confinement of mother pigs and calves in gestation and veal crates (supporting A1970/S1298).

In wildlife killing contests, participants compete for cash and prizes for killing the most, the largest, or even the smallest coyotes, foxes, squirrels and other animals over one or two days. The Humane Society of the United States documented participants in a Barnegat, NJ killing contest, laughing and posing for photos in front of a string of foxes they had just killed. A502/S2409 would prohibit this cruel spectacle in the Garden State, as eight U.S. states—including Maryland, Massachusetts and Vermont—have already done.

The majority of mother pigs in the pork industry are confined to cages—known as gestation crates—that nearly immobilize them. Baby calves used for veal are often locked in similar cages, called veal crates. These crates are so small the animals can’t even turn around. A1970/S1298 would prohibit this inhumane caging in New Jersey.

“The lives of mother pigs, puppies, coyotes and other animals will be improved with the passage of these animal protection initiatives and Montclair’s support sends a valuable message throughout the state in this holiday season,” said Elissa Frank, New Jersey state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “We express our gratitude to sponsors Councilor Yacobellis and Councilor Schlager for their leadership in moving the humane agenda forward in Montclair.”

Councilor Peter Yacobellis said: “I'm elected by the people but I also like to think of myself as elected to represent our planet and its creatures. Montclair is a town that believes wholeheartedly in the humane treatment of all animals. I'm proud to have been leading a coalition in this town to restore native vegetation, make us an official Monarch USA city, cut back on the use of gas leaf blowers and much more. This is just the latest step in the right direction in terms of making sure our laws reflect our values and that our representatives in Trenton know that we expect them to enact these laws at the state level.”

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