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June 21, 2011

The HSUS Praises New York Legislature for Cracking Down on Dogfighting and Cockfighting

Nation’s largest animal protection organization urges Gov. Cuomo to sign bill

ALBANY, N.Y. – The Humane Society of the United States, on behalf of its more than 800,000 supporters in New York, commends the New York Legislature for passing S.3237a/A.4407a to strengthen current state laws to combat animal fighting. The bill, introduced by Sen. Kenneth LaValle, R-Port Jefferson, and Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, D-Brooklyn, will upgrade the penalty for the spectators who fuel the economy of animal fighting with their admission fees and gambling wagers from a traffic-ticket style violation to a more meaningful misdemeanor crime. The legislation unanimously passed the Senate earlier this month and passed the Assembly yesterday. The bill is now on the way to Gov. Cuomo for his signature.

“New York’s lax animal fighting laws make the state a prime destination for this cruel and criminal industry,” said Patrick Kwan, New York state director for The HSUS. “The Humane Society of the United States urges Governor Cuomo to sign this new law which will bring us closer to stopping this gruesome bloodsport where animals are being forced to fight to the death and tear each other apart.”

New York currently has some of the weakest animal fighting laws in the nation and S.3237a/A.4407a will close a major loophole in the law that allows dogfighters and cockfighters to get a free pass. While animal fighting is a felony in New York, attending an animal fight is just a traffic-ticket style violation that many animal fighters simply consider the cost of doing business. When law enforcement raids dogfights and cockfights, the participants often blend into the crowd and claim they were only spectators, thereby evading any meaningful punishment.

Facts

  • 70 state legislators are sponsors of S.3237a/A.4407a.   
  • Ranked 48th in the nation, New York’s weak anti-dogfighting laws make it a magnet for criminals from surrounding states where penalties on spectators are significantly more severe.
  • Law enforcement officials have documented a strong connection between animal fighting operations and narcotics distribution, illegal firearms and other illicit activities.

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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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