KILLING A SERVICE ANIMAL OR GUIDE DOG
N.J.S.A. 2C:29‑3.2 model jury charge
Count _____ of this indictment charges the defendant with the crime of killing a service animal or guide dog.
(Read Appropriate Count of Indictment)
The applicable statute provides, in pertinent part, that:
(a)ny person who recklessly kills a service animal or guide dog, or who recklessly permits a dog that the person owns or over which the person has immediate control, to kill a service animal or guide dog
is guilty of a crime.
In order for you to find the defendant guilty, the State must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
1. that the animal was a service animal or guide dog;
2. that the defendant [CHOOSE APPLICABLE ALTERNATIVE] killed the animal OR permitted a dog he/she owned or over which he/she had immediate control to kill the animal; and
3. that the defendant acted recklessly.
The first element that the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is that the animal was a service animal or guide dog.
“Service animal” means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non‑violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence and the provision of emotional support, well‑being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.
“Guide dog” means a dog which has been or is being raised or trained to provide assistance to a blind or deaf person, including but not limited to a dog that has been or is being raised or trained by a volunteer puppy raiser or staff member of an organization generally recognized as being involved in the rehabilitation of the blind or deaf and reputable and competent to provide dogs with specialized training.
The second element that the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is that the defendant [CHOOSE APPLICABLE ALTERNATIVE] killed the animal OR permitted a dog he/she owned or over which he/she had immediate control to kill the animal.
The third element that the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is that the defendant acted recklessly.
A person acts recklessly with respect to the result of his/her conduct if he/she consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the result will occur from his/her conduct. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that, considering the nature and purpose of the actor’s conduct and the circumstances known to the actor, its disregard involves a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the actor’s situation. One is said to act recklessly if one acts with recklessness, with scorn for the consequences, heedlessly, fool‑hardily.
In other words, you must find that the defendant was aware of and consciously disregarded the risk of causing the death of a service animal or guide dog. If you find that the defendant was aware of and disregarded the risk of causing the death of a service animal or guide dog, you must determine whether the risk that he/she disregarded was substantial and unjustifiable. In doing so, you must consider the nature and purpose of the defendant’s conduct, and the circumstances known to the defendant, and you must determine whether, in light of those factors, the defendant’s disregard of that risk was a gross deviation from the conduct a reasonable person would have observed in the defendant’s situation.
If you find that the State has proven every element of this offense beyond a reasonable doubt, then you must find the defendant guilty. If, however, you find that the State has failed to prove any element of this offense beyond a reasonable doubt, then you must find the defendant not guilty.