New York State Senator Thomas P. Morahan responded to a New York Post investigative report that indicated that "New York City is the Dogfight Capital of the World." The Senator noted that he has authored legislation to significantly increase the penalties to the felony level for those convicted of violating state laws prohibiting animal fighting, including spectators, trainers and owners.
Having learned that there is an organized infrastructure for what is a criminal industry, with dogs and other animals being subjected to illegal animal fighting, Morahan, in collaboration with the Human Society will push legislation he has authored to mandate that all those who participate should face felony charges punishable by prison and/or hefty fines.
"We will put teeth into the law and go after the spectators, as well as the trainers and promoters. It's ironic that New Yorkers can't take pride in a Superbowl or World Series this year in the New York metropolitan area. How sad it is, that, according to the Post story, we do have "the Super Bowl of dogfighting shows" in our the Empire State. This must be put to a halt. I am pleased that Assemblyman Joseph Lentol has agreed to join me in pushing this legislation in the Assembly, " said Morahan.
It is estimated that 40,000 people in the United States are involved in professional dogfighting, highlighted recently by the indictment, guilty plea, and subsequent felony convictions against Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick. While dogfighting is illegal in all 50 states, New York State often prosecutes the crime as a misdemeanor. The new legislation could land perpetrators in jail for up to six years.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS
This bill amends Subdivision 2 of Section 351 of the Agriculture and Markets Law to make it a felony punishable by imprisonment for a period not to exceed six years, or by a fine not to exceed thirty thousand dollars for any person who engages in any of the following conduct: for amusement or gain, causes any animal to engage in animal fighting; or trains any animal under circumstances evincing an intent that such animal engage in animal fighting for amusement or gain; or breeds, sells or offers for sale any animal under circumstances evincing an intent that such animal engage in animal fighting; or permits any act described above to occur on premises under his control; or owns, possesses or
keeps any animal trained to engage in animal fighting on premises under circumstances evincing an intent that such animal engage in animal fighting.
This bill amends Subdivision 3 of Section 351 to make it a felony punishable by imprisonment for a period not to exceed four years, or by a fine not to exceed twenty thousand dollars for any person to own, possess or keep any animal under circumstances evincing an intent that such animal engage in animal fighting.
This bill amends Subdivision 4 of Section 351 to make it a felony punishable by imprisonment not to exceed two years, or by a fine not to exceed ten thousand dollars for any person to be knowingly present as a spectator having paid an admission fee or having made a wager at any place where an exhibition of animal fighting is being conducted.