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ASPCA Welcomes New Animal Fighting Law in New York State

Governor Cuomo signs bill strengthening state animal fighting laws; makes it a crime to attend an animal fight
August 4, 2011

NEW YORK--The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is celebrating Governor Andrew Cuomo's signing of A.4407/S.3237 as a victory in the continued fight against organized animal fighting. The new law strengthens current state laws against animal fighting and makes attending a dog- or cockfight in New York a misdemeanor offense.

"Animal fighting is an extremely cruel, but lucrative, underground business," said Debora Bresch, an attorney and senior director of ASPCA Government Relations. "It is often associated with a host of other dangerous and illegal activity, including drugs, weapons, and gambling, all of which pose serious threats to public safety. This law will help law enforcement by allowing them to pursue and punish the spectators who drive the market for animal fighting, keeping it alive."

Animal fighting is a felony in all 50 states, and most activities related to animal fighting--including training animals to fight and allowing one's property to be used for an animal fight--are also felonies in New York. Although being a spectator at an animal fight is a felony in nearby states such as Connecticut and New Jersey, attending an animal fight in New York was merely a violation penalized by a small fine and did not result in a criminal record. 

"Spectators who patronize these barbaric events in New York, merely for the entertainment of watching two animals fight to the death, deserve to be charged with a crime," added Bresch.

In 2010, the ASPCA established its Blood Sports unit to train law enforcement and investigate dog fighting and cockfighting across the country, and the ASPCA's Field Investigations and Response team participated in one of Florida's largest cockfighting seizures of 650 fighting roosters. For more information on the ASPCA's efforts to tackle animal fighting, please visit www.aspca.org