They may normally fight like cats and dogs, but for this one issue, Democrats and Republicans came together.

The Homes for Animal Heroes Act, aimed at giving retired research animals a new lease on life, unanimously passed the state Senate. Lawmakers are hoping the Assembly will follow in the Senate's footsteps and send the bill to Gov. Phil Murphy's desk.

Assemblyman Ron Dancer, R-Ocean, said the legislation would provide a home for cats and dogs who have gone through research and scientific purposes at some state research laboratories and universities.

Other co-sponsors include state Sen. Anthony Bucco, R-Morris, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, D-Bergen, and state Sen. Linda Greenstein, D-Mercer.

Dancer said he does not want to see these animals be put to sleep. He and other lawmakers want to put them in homes through adoption once the research is complete.

Besides providing humans with companionship, these animals are providing people with life saving future medical procedures and medicines, which Dancer said has an overall benefit. But the animals still need to be taken cared of afterwards.

"We want to give them the life that they deserve after the research and the scientists have used them for the betterment of society and all of us. We want to give them a home," he said.

Most people associate medical research with mice and rats. But this bill deals with dogs and cats.

New Jersey uses more research animals than any other state in the country according to the USDA. In 2017, more than 5,000 cats and dogs were serving as research animals. Beagles are the most common dog breed used in animal testing because of their size and passive nature.

The bill also requires an agreement between the research facility and the animal rescue organizations that will be providing adoption opportunities. Animal rescue organizations would be given immunity from any liability that may result from the transfer of the animal.

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