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Posted on: September 24, 2021

NJ Supreme Court Rules Dog Licenses Subject to OPRA

The Supreme Court of NJ issued its decision in Ernest Bozzi v. City of Jersey City. The Court ruled that owning a dog is a public endeavor without a reasonable expectation of privacy that would exempt personal information from disclosure under OPRA.

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of New Jersey issued its decision in Ernest Bozzi v. City of Jersey City, a case which the League participated in as amicus. In this case the Court was asked to determine whether a dog owner has an objectively reasonable expectation of privacy such that their personal information in a municipal dog licensing record might be exempt from disclosure under the Open Public Records Act (OPRA).
 
 In a 5-2 decision, the Court ruled that owning a dog is a substantially public endeavor in which people do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy that would exempt their personal information from disclosure under the privacy clause of OPRA. The Court found no justifiable claim that public access to the names and addresses of dog owners would violate any reasonable expectation of privacy. The Court did however note that other information contained in a dog licenses record should be redacted, such as the dog’s name, breed, and whether it was a service or therapy animal.
 
 The League would like to thank Carl Woodward, Esq., of Carella, Byrne, Cecchi, Olstein, Brody & Angello, for his tremendous work in representing the League in this matter.
 
Contact: Frank Marshall, Esq., Associate General Counsel, fmarshall@njlm.org, 609-695-3481, x137.

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