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

In other news from ASPCA:

The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) applauds Connecticut lawmakers and Governor Dannel Malloy for enacting two important measures to strengthen the state’s protections for animals. The new laws signed by the governor will help protect both children and animals by requiring cross-reporting of child abuse and animal cruelty between the state agencies that respond to such cases. The laws will also improve the welfare of Connecticut’s shelter animals in several ways, including by helping to ensure better veterinary care and by requiring that a description or photo of the animal be posted online in order to increase the animal’s chance of adoption. The ASPCA worked with Connecticut Votes for Animals to support these bills.

“These important laws passed unanimously in both the Connecticut House and Senate, indicating that the state’s lawmakers are serious about protecting people and animals,” said Debora Bresch, an attorney and senior director of ASPCA Government Relations. “These bills represent a measurable step forward and will result in positive outcomes for Connecticut’s animals.”

Introduced by Representative Diana Urban (D-North Stonington/Stonington), House Bill (HB) 6226, helps ensure the safety of Connecticut’s children and animals by requiring caseworkers with the Department of Children and Families to report animal cruelty to the state Department of Agriculture. They must also investigate child abuse upon receiving reports of animal cruelty at the same address.

The ASPCA has long recognized the dangerous potential for animal cruelty to lead to more serious crimes, and its research shows that individuals involved in violent acts against animals present a danger to the public that must be addressed. “When there is animal cruelty in a home, chances are that someone, possibly a child, is also being hurt,” said Dr. Randall Lockwood, ASPCA senior vice president of Forensic Sciences and Anti-Cruelty Projects. “Animal cruelty is more than just an animal control or law enforcement problem, and it requires the skills and resources of many members of a community to respond to and prevent.”

A bill concerning the treatment of ill or injured animals in municipal animal shelters, HB 6303, was also signed into law by Governor Malloy. This law encourages public shelters to provide animals with better care by working with nonprofit rescue organizations and requires the state Department of Agriculture to investigate complaints against animal control officers regarding poor animal care. In addition, the law requires that a description or photo of shelter animals be posted online and offers civil immunity to veterinarians who discount their fees for treating shelter animals.

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