TRENTON >> Keep antifreeze bitter or be penalized.
That’s what Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) is looking to accomplish through legislation co-sponsored by Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak (D-Cape May).
“There are dogs known to lop up antifreeze and it poisons them,” Gusciora said last week. “By putting the bittering agent in it, you’re actually protecting animals and children.”
The proposal, which was approved by the Assembly at the end of last month, would fine individuals who leave out the bittering agent in anti-freeze sold in the state.
Currently, New Jersey law requires the foul-tasting element to be in the car product, but there is no punishment for failing to comply with the measure.
“This adds a little more punch to our current law to ensure that this potentially life-saving measure is complied with,” Gusciora said in a press release. “If manufacturers aren’t willingly complying with it, then we need to create a greater incentive for them to do so.”
According to an article published last month on The Humane Society’s website, the sweet stuff — ethylene glycol — attracts unsuspecting animals with its taste and aroma.
But it’s consequences can be deadly.
Dr. Barry Kipperman, of California-based VetCare, calls antifreeze one of the most common hazards for pets.
“The reason is that this is such a fatal poisoning is that the symptoms take quite some time after the dog drinks the antifreeze to be evident,” Kipperman said Monday in a phone interview. “Usually, within six to 12 hours some dogs may puke, or they may drink a little more water, or they may seem a little sleepy or sedate, but often that doesn’t bring the owner to the vet.”
Then within a day or two, the dog develops kidney failure, the veterinarian said.
“That’s often when they’re seen by the vet,” Kipperman said. “If the owner notices within the hour, the outcomes there are good because we could make them puke and there’s an antidote. But that’s not the typical scenario.”
Violators of the proposed legislation will subject to a $500 fine for each offense.
The bill is awaiting approval by the state Senate.
David Foster, The Trentonian