By Carol Moran

Spectators caught attending animal fights will now face stiffer punishments in New York.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Aug. 4 that will increase the penalties for animal fight attendees from a traffic ticket-style violation to a Class B misdemeanor punishable by either three months in jail, a $500 fine or both. Repeat offenders face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The Humane Society of the United States said although dogfighting and cockfighting are felonies in New York, attendees allow the animal fighting industry to exist by paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars in admissions fees and wagers.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, New York is ranked 48th in the nation for its animal fighting laws — meaning 47 states have stricter regulations. It is one of only four states that doesn’t punsish spectators at animals fights with felony charges.

The new law would also address the problem of fight organizers escaping prosecution by pretending to be spectators, rather than organizers, according to John Goodwin, director of animal cruelty policy at the Humane Society. There is no way for police to distinguish between fighters and spectators…

Tedisco sponsored a bill (A.1580/S.5084) this year that would require those convicted of Buster’s Law to receive a psychiatric examination and would prohibit them from having a pet without court authorization. The bill was referred to the Assembly Agriculture Committee in January. The legislation was sponsored in the Senate by Greg Ball, R-Patterson, where it was advanced to a third reading and then committed to the Rules Committee on June 24.

Another bill (A.1506/S.3804) Tedisco and Ball sponsored would require that convicted animal abusers be placed on a registry. (READ MORE)

About Greg Ball

Assemblyman Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson) is the Senator for New York State's 40th district. A former Vice President of Exceed International Development Corporation, Ball holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the United States Air Force Academy, is currently completing his Masters Thesis of Liberal Studies in International Affairs at Georgetown University, and received an honorable discharge in 2005 at the rank of Captain after service as an active duty officer in the United States Air Force. View all posts by Greg Ball →
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