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May 4, 2009

The HSUS Praises NY Agencies for Cockfighting Raid

New Yorkers Are Reminded of Animal Fighting Reward Program Offering Up to $5,000

The Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society of the United States applauds the New York Police Department and Animal Care & Control of New York City for raiding a suspected cockfighting operation in the Bronx. The bust occurred late Thursday night and no arrests have been made at this point.

"This case demonstrates the need for lawmakers to give New York's law enforcement agencies the tools they need to effectively crack down on animal fighting," said Patrick Kwan, New York state director for The HSUS. "We ask that Speaker Silver pass legislation that increases penalties for attending cockfights to felony offenses."

Cockfighting is an inherently inhumane public safety issue for communities in New York because the blood sport is often accompanied by other dangerous criminal activities such as illegal drugs, weapons and gambling by spectators. The HSUS offers rewards of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person involved in illegal animal fighting.  

Animal Fighting Reward Program Instructions:

  • If you have information about illegal animal fighting, contact your local police department or animal control agency. If you wish to remain anonymous, you must inform the police officer you speak to. The HSUS protects the identity of anyone who contacts us with information about illegal animal fighting. 
  • If the suspected animal fighter is convicted, ask the law enforcement agency involved in the case to write a letter to The HSUS.
  • The letter should state that your tip helped lead to the arrest and prosecution of the convicted animal fighter and should be mailed or faxed as follows:

Animal Fighting Reward Program
C/O Ann Chynoweth
The Humane Society of the United States
2100 L St. NW
Washington, DC 20037
FAX: 301-721-6414

For more information about The HSUS' animal fighting reward program, call 301-258-1459.

Facts:

  • While dogfighting and cockfighting are felonies in New York (punishable by up to four years of imprisonment and/or a maximum $25,000 fine), possessing animals for the purpose of fighting is only a misdemeanor and attending an animal fight is just a traffic-ticket style violation and misdemeanor.
  • A.B. 6287a and S.B. 3926, current legislation in New York sponsored by Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, D-Brooklyn, and Sen. Toby Stavisky, D-Flushing, would make it a felony to be a spectator at a dogfight or a cockfight, punishable by a maximum fine of $25,000 and/or up to four years of imprisonment.
  • Tens of thousands of people are involved in cockfighting nationwide.
  • Common cockfighting practices include breeding birds for viciousness, drugging them to heighten aggression, and fitting their legs with razor-sharp knives or gaffs, which resemble curved ice picks.
  • Law enforcement officials have documented a strong connection between cockfighting and the distribution of illegal drugs. 

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org. 

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