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New York Legislation Would Make Promoting Enterprise Animal Fighting a Felony

New York Senate Bill 90 and Assembly Bill 696 would introduce a new felony level offense for enterprise animal fighting and consolidate existing definitions.

First Circuit Upholds Puerto Rico Cockfighting Ban

The First Circuit has upheld a Puerto Rico law banning cockfighting, finding that the prohibition violates neither the Commerce Clause nor the First Amendment.

Connecticut Considers Ban on Animal Fighting Paraphernalia

Connecticut House Bill 5338 proposes to amend the state’s anti-cruelty statute to also criminalize the possession, sale, purchase, transfer, or manufacture of animal fighting paraphernalia, including unprescribed veterinary medicine. The offense would constitute a class E felony.

New York Considers Increased Penalties for Animal Fighting

New York Senate Bill 229 would increase penalties for engaging in animal fighting and require psychiatric evaluation and possible treatment for those convicted of the crime of aggravated cruelty to animals.

Washington, D.C. Considers Numerous Changes to its Municipal Animal Care Ordinances

The “Animal Care and Control Omnibus Amendment Act of 2021” would make numerous updates to the District of Columbia municipal regulations concerning companion animals. It would: 1) authorize animal control vehicles to operate emergency lights and sirens when responding to life-threatening animal emergencies; 2) enable the Washington Humane Society to recover costs incurred boarding animals during a pending criminal or other proceeding; 3) prohibit declawing of cats; 4) require pet stores to offer only rescue animals; 5) ban the ownership of dogfighting tools and equipment; 6) criminalize bestiality; and 7) require family law judges to make joint or sole custody decisions that reflect the best interest of the animal in cases of divorce.

Tennessee Bill Would Enhance Penalties for Certain Cockfighting-Related Crimes

Tennessee House Bill 1911 would elevate certain cockfighting-related crimes to felonies and establish attendance at a cockfight as a misdemeanor carrying a monetary penalty of $1,000–$2,500. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Criminal Justice and would become enforceable on July 1, 2022.

New Jersey Proposes Ban on Trunk Fighting

New Jersey Assembly Bill 3231 proposes to ban “trunk fighting,” defined as “the practice of enclosing two or more animals in the trunk or any part of a motor vehicle for the purpose of the animals attacking each other, and possibly fighting until one or more of the animals are dead.” The legislation would make the act a crime of the third degree.

Illinois Allows Barring Companion Animal Ownership in Households of Persons Convicted of Multiple Animal Cruelty Offenses

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has signed into law HB 168 which provides that a “court may order that a person and persons dwelling in the same household may not own, harbor, or have custody or control of any other animal if the person has been convicted of 2 or more of the following offenses: (1) a violation of aggravated cruelty; (2) a violation of animals for entertainment; or (3) a violation of dog fighting.”

Louisiana Considers Creating Crime of Unlawful Possession, Transfer, or Manufacture of Animal Fighting Paraphernalia

Louisiana Senate Bill 144 would make it unlawful to possess, purchase, sell, transfer, or manufacture animal fighting paraphernalia “with the intent to engage in, promote, or facilitate animal fighting.” “Animal fighting paraphernalia” is defined as “equipment, products, implements, or materials of any kind that are used, intended for use, or designed for use in the training, preparation, conditioning, or furtherance of animal fighting, and includes but is not limited to . . . breaking sticks, cat mills, treadmills, fighting pits, spring poles, unprescribed veterinary medicine, veterinary treatment supplies, [and] spurs, gaffs, knives, leather training spur covers, slashers, heels, or any other sharp implement designed to be attached in place of the natural spur of a cock or game fowl.”

Louisiana Creates Crime of Unlawful Possession, Transfer, or Manufacture of Animal Fighting Paraphernalia

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has signed into law Senate Bill 144 which will prohibit the possession, purchase, sale, transfer, and manufacture of animal fighting paraphernalia “with the intent to engage in, promote, or facilitate animal fighting.” “Animal fighting paraphernalia” is defined as “equipment, products, implements, or materials of any kind that are used, intended for use, or designed for use in the training, preparation, conditioning, or furtherance of animal fighting” and includes but is not limited to “breaking sticks, cat mills, treadmills, fighting pits, spring poles, unprescribed veterinary medicine, veterinary treatment supplies,” and “spurs, gaffs, knives, leather training spur covers, slashers, heels, or any other sharp implement designed to be attached in place of the natural spur of a cock or game fowl.” The new law exempts “items normally used in cockfighting that are at least five years old and have historical value” and “the training of animals or the use of [listed] equipment in the training of animals for any purpose not prohibited by law.”