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October 17, 2012

The Humane Society of the United States Encourages Enforcement of New Law to Combat Animal Fighting

Pittsburgh dogfighting bust: an HSUS volunteer carried a dog from the property

Kathy Milani/HSUS

Animal welfare groups are encouraging the enforcement of a significant animal protection bill that has officially become law in New York State. The bill, S.6774a/ A.9552a, prohibits the possession, use and trafficking of animal fighting paraphernalia with the intention to violate New York’s animal fighting laws.

“Law enforcement now has more tools at their disposal to shut down illegal animal fighting operations in New York,” said Brian Shapiro, New York state director for The Humane Society of the United States. “We encourage the application of this law and vigorous prosecution of criminals who continue to engage in this cruel blood sport.”

S.6774a/ A.9552a 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.

“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.”

“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."

Examples of the specialized paraphernalia now illegal in New York include specially designed razor-sharp knives that are affixed to the heels of roosters in cockfights and “rape stands” used to force fighting dogs to breed.

Animal Fighting Facts:

  • 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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