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July 19, 2012

The Humane Society of the United States and New York State Humane Association Applaud Gov. Cuomo for Signing Animal Protection Bill

Gov. Cuomo and New York legislature strip animal fighters of cruelty tools

The Humane Society of the United States and the New York Humane Association applaud Gov. Andrew Cuomo for signing legislation to strengthen current state laws to combat animal fighting. Introduced by Sen. Patty Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, and Assembly Member John McEneny, D-Albany, the bill prohibits the possession, use and trafficking of animal fighting paraphernalia with the intention to violate New York’s animal fighting laws.

S.6774a/ A.9552 provides 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.

"Animals forced into the barbaric practice of animal fighting are defenseless, and we need to do everything we can to protect them from this cruel and senseless activity," said Sen. Ritchie, a lifelong dog owner and sponsor of the bill. "By closing this loophole and outlawing animal fighting paraphernalia, we are cracking down on animal fighting and gaining an added protection when it comes to keeping our pets safe."

“Animal fighting is a cruel and senseless act that involves a host of other criminal activities,” said Brian Shapiro, New York state director for The HSUS. “The Humane Society of the United States praises Assembly Member John McEneny and Senator Patty Ritchie for championing this anti-crime and anti-cruelty bill and we are so glad Governor Cuomo signed it into law.”

“The New York State Humane Association is very grateful to Governor Cuomo for his support of a measure which strengthens New York’s animal fighting statutes,” said Samantha Mullen, chair of NYSHA’s legislation committee. “His signature on the ban against animal fighting paraphernalia is the final step toward the enactment of a law that greatly enhances the ability of law enforcement personnel to build their cases against suspected animal fighters.”

Animal Fighting Facts:

  • 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 is used extensively in the animal fighting underworld.
  • 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: Niki Ianni: 301-548-7793, nianni@humanesociety.org

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