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The HSUS Praises N.Y. Senate for Vote to Crack Down on Animal Fighting Boosters

Nation’s largest animal protection organization urges N.Y. Assembly to follow suit

ALBANY, N.Y. — The Humane Society of the United States, on behalf of its more than 800,000 supporters in New York, commends the state Senate for unanimously passing S. 3926a, legislation to strengthen the state law against animal fighting.

A.6287b was introduced by Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, D-Brooklyn, and S. 3926a was introduced by Sen. Toby Stavisky, D-Flushing. These bills would provide misdemeanor penalties for spectators at these organized events. Presently, offenders can receive only a traffic ticket-style citation, which does not provide an adequate deterrent against chronic violators.

Spectators who attend animal fights do not stumble upon them accidentally. These criminal activities take place at clandestine locations.

 "We commend Sen. Stavisky, and Assemblyman Lentol for championing these anti-crime bills," said Patrick Kwan, New York state director for The Humane Society of the United States. "Now that the legislation passed in the Senate, we look forward to its passage in the Assembly."


  • Animal fighting spectators, with their admission fees and gambling wagers, fuel these undeniably cruel and criminal industries. Under current law, dogfighters or cockfighters can claim they were only present at an animal fight as spectators, thereby avoiding any meaningful punishment.
  • Law enforcement officials have documented a strong connection between animal fighting operations and narcotics distribution, illegal firearms and other illicit activities. 
  • While dogfighting and cockfighting are felonies in New York, possessing animals for the purpose of fighting is only a misdemeanor, and attending an animal fight is just a traffic-ticket style violation.
  • New York has the nation's fifth-weakest dogfighting laws, making it a magnet for spectators from surrounding states where penalties on spectators are significantly more severe.
  • According to news reports, in June 2008, authorities raided a Bronx, N.Y., building that housed a dogfighting ring. Seven people were arrested and two additional suspects fled from the scene during the raid. Of the seven who were arrested, four were New Jersey residents. New Jersey is currently ranked as having the nation's strongest dogfighting law, punishing spectators with three to five years of imprisonment and/or a maximum $15,000 fine.


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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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