ASPCA lobbyists have done it again! Last night, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill that will make attending a dog fight or cockfight in New York State a misdemeanor offense. The law goes into effect in 30 days.
“Animal fighting is an extremely cruel, but lucrative, underground business," says Debora Bresch, an attorney and Senior Director of ASPCA Government Relations. “This new law will allow law enforcement 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 relating to it—including training animals to fight and allowing one's property to be used for an animal fight—are also felonies in New York. But up until today, attending a fight was merely a violation punishable only by a small fine.
“Spectators who patronize these barbaric events in New York, cheering and placing bets while two animals fight to the death, deserve to be charged with a crime," adds Bresch.
Congratulations for seeing this bill through to the end, New York animal advocates!
For more information on the ASPCA’s efforts to tackle animal fighting, please visit our Blood Sports Section.
Love is in the air—and it's time to plan that special date! Here are our top picks for cruelty-free outings that are sure to get those sparks flying.
Skip the circus and head to a movie! Unlike animals under the Big Top, movie actors aren't forced to do anything cruel or unnatural. Besides, there’s nothing more romantic than holding hands and stealing a few kisses under the Big Screen. (Word of warning: skip the popcorn; kernels get caught in your teeth.)
Forgo the horse-drawn carriage and opt for a bike ride. Instead of making an overworked horse carry you through congested streets, take a cruise on a bicycle built for two. After all, what could be more fun than a relaxing tandem bike ride? Pack a picnic lunch and go for pedaling adventure.
Instead of window shopping for puppies, volunteer at your local shelter. Many couples find picking out a new puppy together romantic. But before you take your date window shopping, remember that virtually all puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills. Why not head to a shelter instead? You’re sure to get warm fuzzies spending the day volunteering with your date—and you might not leave empty-handed.
Warning: This will enrage you. Two dogs are thrown in the trunk of a car. The suspects drive around with music blasting to drown out the sounds of fighting. This continues until the movement stops and one of the dogs is dead.
It’s called trunking—and it’s on the rise.
“It’s barbaric,” says ASPCA Animal Fighting Specialist Terry Mills. “It’s dark. It’s cramped. The dogs are fighting for their lives. With the music blasting, no one suspects a thing.”
As with any other illegal underground activity, it is impossible to determine how many people are involved in trunking and dog fighting—but estimates suggest that the number is in the tens of thousands.
Take Action We need you on our side! Please visit our Blood Sports section to learn how you can help end this violent abuse. And if you suspect dog fighting in your neighborhood, please contact the police or your local animal control officer.
We have declared a victory for animals in California—and we couldn’t be happier! Yesterday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that will not only prohibit the roadside sale of animals, but increase the penalties for animal neglect.
“SB 917 is the first animal protection bill to cross Governor Brown’s desk,” says Jill Buckley, Senior Director of Government Relations for the ASPCA. “We applaud him for helping safeguard animals sold in public parking lots and roadside venues—puppies, kittens and other pets will no longer be left to suffer in unsanitary and overcrowded cages without proper food and water.”
The new law goes into effect this January, and will make it a crime to sell a live animal on any street, highway, public right-of-way, parking lot, carnival or boardwalk.
In addition, SB 917 also increases fines and the maximum allowable jail sentence for those convicted of misdemeanor animal neglect.
The ASPCA congratulates and thanks our California supporters for all your efforts on behalf of this bill!
Justice has been served…again! Last Friday, five more defendants were convicted of animal cruelty and sentenced to time behind bars in connection with a massive dog fighting raid that the ASPCA helped carry out in July 2009. The operation spanned eight states—Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nebraska and Mississippi—and resulted in the rescue of more than 500 Pit Bulls.
“Even two years after the bust, the convictions keep coming,” says ASPCA Animal Fighting Specialist Terry Mills, who took part in the operation. In total, 103 arrests have made in conjunction with the raid—40 on federal charges and 63 on state charges.
The convicted offenders aren’t getting off easy.
“In the federal system, the recommended time for dog fighting is only probation to six months,” explains Mills. “Most of the federal judges in these cases are viewing that range as inadequate—sentencing has gone as high as 33 months in federal prison.”
Special Thanks! Serious thumbs up to Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Hudson of the Southern District of Illinois. Hudson has charged 15 defendants, and they’ve received an average sentence of 17 months.
Known as the “Missouri 500,” the rescued pups have since been placed in loving homes or with sanctuaries equipped to meet their special needs.