Gov. Murphy signs bill holding horse auctioneers accountable

TRENTON, N.J. –Buyers won’t be taken for a ride by crooked horse auctioneers thanks to legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Kevin J. Rooney and Ron Dancer and signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy today.

The legislation (S455/A3673) requires horse auctioneers to post identifying information of a horse online 72 hours before a sale, saving horses that mistakenly end up at auction houses and preventing auctioneers from duping buyers.

“Thankfully, microchips have made identification easier, which is why scanning should be a requirement,” said Rooney. “This legislation helps protects horses and buyers and holds auctioneers responsible for keeping accurate and timely records.”

Currently, auctioneers often rely on a horse’s general appearance for identifying information.  This practice can create a nightmare for an unwitting buyer. An auction organizer can easily use a well-bred horse’s identification papers on a similar looking horse.

Dancer, who spent more than two decades as a professional trainer and driver with the late national hall of famer Stanley Dancer’s Horse Racing Stables, said, “An owner has no way of knowing for sure that their horse is up for auction. Sometimes beloved race horses are erroneously marked for slaughterhouse sale when previous owners would have saved them. Requiring auction organizers to post information will reunite horses with their rightful or past owners.”

Under the law, horse auctioneers must determine if a horse has a microchip, or identifying tattoo or brand and release the information online. Auctioneers are required to maintain records of any horse they sell for at least one year. Records need to include a horse’s identifying information, the date and time the information was posted online, and the date and time the horse was sold.

The bill passed the Senate and Assembly unanimously. 

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