Governor Andrew Cuomo today signed into law Assemblyman Joe Lentol’s (D-North Brooklyn) legislation that increases penalties for being a spectator at an animal fighting event, giving law enforcement authorities new tools to stop this appalling underground activity.
While dog fighting and cockfighting are felonies in New York State, attending an animal fight is a mere traffic-ticket style violation. Often when law enforcement raids dogfights and cockfights, the organizers behind the event blend into the crowd and claim they were only spectators, thereby evading any meaningful punishment. The Lentol bill, A.4407A, improves the law, establishing misdemeanor penalties for the spectators. These are the individuals who help perpetuate the sport by buying tickets to and gambling on the animal fights.
Assemblyman Lentol said, "I am proud that we continue to improve New York Law to fight this horrific and corrupt industry. Now if someone is participating – even by just watching the event – they can be punished by up to one year in jail." Lentol continued, "I believe that as our law enforcement authorities start to use this law, we will see the demand for fights diminish and hopefully stop."
Lentol concluded, "This is a great step forward in fighting inhumane cruelty towards animals."