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June 3, 2009

NY Senate Agriculture Committee Takes Steps to Protect Dogs

Passes Bills Cracking Down on Animal Fighting, Puppy Mills

The Humane Society of the United States

ALBANY, N.Y. — The Humane Society of the United States, on behalf of its more than 800,000 supporters in New York, applauds state Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Darrel Aubertine, D-Watertown, and committee members for passing legislation to strengthen animal fighting laws and stop the proliferation of large-scale puppy mills in New York.

"The Humane Society of the United States urges Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to help ensure passage of these common-sense bills by their respective chambers," said Patrick Kwan, New York state director for The HSUS. "New Yorkers have no tolerance for the cruel treatment of man’s best friends."

On June 2, the Senate’s Agriculture Committee unanimously passed S. 3926, sponsored by Sen. Toby Stavisky, D-Flushing, to increase penalties for spectators at animal fights as well as for persons possessing animals for the purpose of fighting. The Committee also passed S. 5392a, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Squadron, D-Brooklyn, to limit the number of unsterilized dogs for the purposes of breeding that can be housed at a commercial dog breeding facility to 50. The bills have been referred to the Senate’s Codes Committee.

Facts:

  • Animal Fighting: While dogfighting and cockfighting are felonies in New York, possessing animals for the purpose of fighting is only a misdemeanor and attending a fight is just a traffic-ticket style violation and misdemeanor. This makes it more difficult for law enforcement officials to effectively prosecute animal fighters. Moreover, these anemic provisions tend to attract criminals from other states to engage in illegal activities in New York. This bill 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. The Assembly version of the bill, A. 6287a, sponsored by Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, D-Brooklyn, also passed the Assembly’s Agriculture Committee unanimously in April.

  • Puppy Mills: This bill cracks down on one of the worst abuses at large scale dog breeding operations by limiting the number of adult unsterilized animals a person can maintain. Puppy mills are commercial factories that mass-produce puppies for sale to the pet trade. Puppy mills commonly house animals in overcrowded, filthy and inhumane conditions with inadequate shelter and care. The bill will not impact responsible breeders, animal shelters, research facilities, pet stores, veterinarians, groomers or boarding facilities. The Assembly version, A.7 285b, is sponsored by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, D-Westchester.

For more information on The HSUS’ Animal Cruelty & Fighting and Puppy Mill campaigns, please visit humanesociety.org/acf and humanesociety.org/puppymills.

Broadcast-quality video and photos from animal fighting and puppy mill rescues are available for viewing and download by news media outlets at video.hsus.org.

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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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