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June 14, 2012

New York Legislature Strips Animal Fighters of Cruelty Tools

The Humane Society of the United States and New York State Humane Association urge Governor Cuomo to sign animal protection bill

The Humane Society of the United States, on behalf of its more than 800,000 supporters in New York, and the New York State Humane Association commend the New York Legislature for passing S.6774a/ A.9552a to strengthen current state laws to combat animal fighting. The bill, introduced by Senator Patty Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, and Assembly Member John McEneny, D-Albany, will prohibit the possession, use and trafficking of animal fighting paraphernalia with the intention to violate New York’s animal fighting laws.

S.6774a/ A.9552a provide misdemeanor penalties for violators with imprisonment of up to 90 days and/or a fine of up to $500 on the first offense and imprisonment of up to one year and/or a fine of up to $1,000 for subsequent offenses within five years. The bill is now on the way to Gov. Cuomo for his signature.

“The New York State Humane Association applauds the leadership of Senator Patty Ritchie and Assembly Member John McEneny for closing a major loophole in New York’s animal fighting laws,” said Samantha Mullen, chair of NYSHA’s legislation committee. “Without the provisions in S.6774a/ A.9552a, law enforcement is often thwarted in efforts to apprehend and convict the individuals involved in this underground illegal activity which still thrives in certain parts of New York.”

“New York has taken a giant step towards stripping animal fighters of the tools that prepare animals for fights and in other cases make the fights bloodier and more lethal,” said Patrick Kwan, New York state director for The HSUS. “The Humane Society of the United States urges Gov. Cuomo to sign this new law which will bring us closer to stopping this extreme cruelty where animals are forced to fight to the death and tear each other apart.”

From specially designed razor-sharp knives that are affixed to the heels of roosters in cockfights, to “rape stands” used to force fighting dogs to breed; specialized paraphernalia that is currently legal in New York, but outlawed in many states, is used extensively in the animal fighting underworld.

Animal Fighting Facts:

  • The New York Legislature has been aggressive in targeting the animal fighting problem. Last year legislation was passed that increased the penalties for attending animal fights. Now the legislature has closed another loophole by targeting paraphernalia used in animal fights.
  • In September 2011 The HSUS assisted the New York State Police in a raid on a cockfighting operation in Bleecker, NY. This facility raised roosters for cockfights and is believed to have been a location used to host fights as well.
  • Animal fighting is closely associated with other criminal activities such as gangs, narcotics, illegal weapons possession, gambling, child endangerment, public corruption and various violent crimes. A three-year study by the Chicago Police Department found that 70 percent of animal offenders had also been arrested for other felonies, including domestic and aggravated battery, illegal drug trafficking and sex crimes.
  • 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. The HSUS asks anyone with information about animal fighting criminals to call 877-TIP-HSUS (877-847-4787). Tipsters' identities are protected.

Media Contact: Katie Jarl, 301-258-1483, kjarl@humanesociety.org

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