From the Humane Society on a bill signed recently, strengthening laws against dog fighting and cock fighting:
The Humane Society of the United States, on behalf of its more than 800,000 supporters in New York, applauds Gov. Andrew Cuomo for signing legislation to strengthen current state laws to combat animal fighting. Introduced by Sen. Kenneth LaValle, R-Port Jefferson, and Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, D-Brooklyn, – with 70 total state legislators as co-sponsors – the bill, S.3237a/A.4407a, closes a major loophole in New York’s animal fighting laws that currently allows some dogfighters and cockfighters to escape punishment by masquerading as spectators.
“Throughout New York, animals are forced to fight to the death and tear each other apart,” said Patrick Kwan, New York state director for The HSUS. “The Humane Society of the United States commends Sen. LaValle and Assemblyman Lentol for championing this anti-crime and anti-cruelty bill and thanks Gov. Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Skelos and Assembly Speaker Silver for their leadership in bringing us one major step closer to stopping this gruesome bloodsport.”
While dogfighting and cockfighting are felonies in New York, attending an animal fight is only a traffic-ticket style violation. The new law upgrades the penalty for the spectators who fuel the economy of animal fighting with their admission fees and gambling wagers to a more meaningful misdemeanor crime. It also stops dogfighters from escaping prosecution by blending into the crowd and pretending to be spectators when raided. Under the new law, knowingly attending animal fights will be punishable by up to three months in prison and a $500 fine. A second offense will carry up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
In the 2009/2010 New York state legislative session, the bill also passed unanimously in the Senate under the sponsorship and leadership of Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky, D-Whitestone, but did not pass the Assembly before the session ended. The Assembly unanimously passed the bill in June of 2011. The HSUS extends special appreciation to Sen. Stavisky and other legislators, including Assemblymembers Deborah Glick, D-Manhattan, Brian Kavanagh, D-Manhattan, Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan, Jim Tedisco, R-Schenectady, and Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, Sens. John DeFrancisco R-Syracuse, Liz Krueger, D-Manhattan, and Suzi Oppenheimer, D-Mamaroneck, for their efforts to strengthen New York’s laws against animal fighting. (READ MORE)