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(TRENTON) – A resolution drafted by Senator Donald Norcross (D-Camden/Gloucester) designating the second Wednesday of every August as “Assistance Animal Recognition Day” was passed by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee today.
“Thousands of New Jersey residents rely on assistance animals every day to help them complete tasks, interact with their world and achieve normalcy,” said Senator Norcross. “Assistance animals provide a tremendous service to their partners. The relationship between animal and owner is essential to their lives, and it’s important we treat that relationship with the proper respect.”
Senator Norcross crafted this resolution in partnership with Leah Levine – founder and CEO of Animals At Work, Inc. Through her non-profit, Ms. Levine works to advocate on behalf of those who utilize assistance animals, in addition to raising awareness and providing training to non users about the important relationship and impact of the assistance animal "team".
“Assistance animals are the hardest working partners in the world,” Levine said. “The focus these animals exhibit, coupled with their unwavering work ethic and devotion is something to be revered. Setting aside a day to honor that commitment and the role these impressive animals play in the lives of so many is a fitting tribute.”
Last session, Senator Norcross championed legislation to allow students with autism and other disabilities to bring their companions to school. The bill, which was signed into law in January 2012, recognizes the role assistance animals play in providing a level of normalcy for their companions that is crucial to their education and development.
The resolution was passed by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee unanimously and next will be considered by the full Senate.
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"When you're asked to cast a vote on a bill and it seems innocuous, and it's got a hidden land mine that perhaps only an expert would see, it would sort of behoove those experts to tell us in advance rather than make us look, shall we say, a little bit indecisive later on." - Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-25).- NJTV
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