Example:Pam is having a party Saturday night which includes rounds of dog fighting. Andre arrives with his Grand Champion fighter and is waiting his turn in the ring, as the fights go on.
2007 Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act (2007)The law took effect immediately. It provides felony penalties for interstate commerce, import and export related to animal fighting activities, including commerce in cockfighting weapons. It will make it much harder for criminals who engage in dogfighting and cockfighting to continue their operations. Each violation of the federal law may bring up to three years in jail and up to a $250,000 fine for perpetrators.
Animal Law CRJS 230Hudson Valley Community College Valerie A. Lang, J.D., M.L.S.
Stolen from New HavenAnimal Shelter January 2007
NEW YORK:The term, “Animal Fighting”shall mean any fight between dogs or any other animals.
$$$$$$$$$$$$• Dog fighting generates many millions of dollars in unreported income every year.
Formal AgreementIn dog fighting, a formal agreement is usually signed by the owners of the dogs to be matched, often several months in advance of the fight date.
Informal Side BetsThe second and most visible form of gambling at a dogfight involves informal side bets among individual spectators.
Promoters of animal fights usually reap large sums of money from concession sales, such as alcoholicbeverages, admissions fees, and sale of paraphernalia.
$$$$$$$$$$$$Another way those involved in animal fighting ventures make money is by selling animals and breeding services. Champion fighting dog - $10,000+ Stud fees - $1,000+ Puppies - $150-$1,500+
DRUGS AND WEAPONS• Violence associated with these activities seems to be on the rise. – Gang rape of a young woman in TX
Pitbull Problem Flash Video the pit bull problem (what is man without the beasts?) - flash
U.S. Supreme Court on Animal Cruelty Videos – October 2009• A Virginia man prosecuted for selling videos of dog fighting challenged a federal law that makes those videos illegal.• ALDF link
Animal Fighting: New YorkAgriculture and Markets Law, Article 26, Section 351
• New York’s animal cruelty law includes – felony charges – misdemeanor charges, or – violations depending on the activity.
Any person who engages in any of the following conduct is guilty of a felony:(a) For amusement or gain, causes any animal to engage in fighting Example: Tyler and Justin are walking down the streets of Troy with Tyler’s pit bull dog named Blue. Another pit bull is walking down the street in their direction. Tyler looks at Jon and says, “Let’s see what they can do.” Jon agrees.
Any person who engages in any of the following conduct is guilty of a felony:(b)Trains, (c) breeds or sells any animal under circumstances evincing an intent that such animal engage in fighting
Any person who engages in any of the following conduct is guilty of a felony:(d) Permits these acts (causes a fight, trains, breeds, or sells) to occur on premises under his control Example: Jennifer organizes a cock fight at her party Saturday afternoon. None of the animals in the fight are hers, but she arranged the event.
FELONY(e) Owns orpossesses anyanimal trained toengage in fightingon premises wherefighting is beingconducted undercircumstancesevincing an intentthat such animalengage in fighting.
It shall be a misdemeanor to:• Own, possess or keep any animal under circumstances evincing an intent that such animal engage in fighting.
It shall be a misdemeanor to:• Be a spectator and having paid an admission or made a wager at a fight.
2008: Violation Added• Being present as a spectator• Currently as the law stands, if you are a spectator at an animal fight (without betting slips or admission fee) AND have been convicted within 5 years of this, the second conviction is a misdemeanor.
Bill to Strengthen Section 351• If passed into law, this bill would make it a misdemeanor to be knowingly present as a spectator where an exhibition of animal fighting is being conducted, regardless of evidence of betting or paying admission fee. Just being there would be enough.• This bill would also make it a felony to be present as a spectator for any person who has been previously convicted of a being present at an animal fight within the past five years.
In the U.S., fighting dogs are almost exclusively American pit bull terriers.• Pit bulls used for fighting are often kept in a “yard” on extremely heavy chains. This is done to strengthen neck muscles as well as keep the dogs from attacking each other.
How to find out of dog fighting is going on in your area• Check local newspapers and the Want Ad Digest for ads of “Game Bred” Pit Bulls.• Check the Internet.• Talk to Animal Control Officers.• Check with the local Town Clerk.• Check area airports to ascertain if pit bulls are being flown in or out.
Law Enforcement: Be suspicious ofreports regarding stolen dogs in your patrol area.
Due to the usually large group of suspects that may be present at illegal animal fighting exhibitions, and the specialized nature of these criminal activities, there are a number of common problems associated withenforcement of animal fighting laws.
Common Problems: Having enough law enforcement personnel on the scene to detain and arrest all suspects while ensuring officer safety and preserving evidence INTENT – responsibility of law enforcement on scene to gather evidence to establish intent THIS IS CRITICAL when you read Art. 26 Sec. 351
Search Warrants:• When executing a Search Warrant, do not allow the news media on the property.• Photograph the entire scene as well as each animal.• Seize all evidence used for training including; chains, collars, spring poles, weight scales, breaking sticks, drugs, magazines, trophies, computer s, breeding records, carpet, components of any pits, guns, other weapons, etc.
Spring pole, breakingstick, treadmill, magazines, dru gs, alcohol
Suggested “On the Scene” Questions:Why are you here?How did you get here?How were you going to leave?Who did you come with?What did you see?How long before you were detained did you see it going on?
Retain copies• Keep a copy of all records of originals turned over to the police or ADA.• Keep a copy of all photographs.
Coordinate with Law Enforcement• Because of the specialized nature of the criminal activity, participant s are often scattered over a wide area involving multiple jurisdictions.
Think Outside the Box!Additional Charges Criminal mischief, arson, destruction of property Child endangerment Unlawful entry on property such as burglary or trespass Assault with a dangerous instrument Nuisance, noise, zoning, housing code violations Local dog control laws
Vick and the Federal LawThe Constitution enumerates powers – if it isn’t stated in the Constitution, it can’t be done (theoretically).
U.S. ConstitutionArticle 1 Section 8 • Section 8. The Congress shall have power to … • regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes. • If you really want to study this: • click here.
Federal Law Vick was in prison for violating…7 USCS § 2156 (AWA)§ 2156. Animal fighting venture prohibition(a) Sponsoring or exhibiting an animal in an animal fighting venture.(1) In general. Except as provided in paragraph (2), it shall be unlawfulfor any person to knowingly sponsor or exhibit an animal in an animalfighting venture, if any animal in the venture was moved in interstateor foreign commerce.(b) Buying, selling, delivering, or transporting animals for participation in animal fightingventure. It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly sell, buy, transport, deliver,or receive for purposes of transportation, in interstate or foreign commerce, anydog or other animal for purposes of having the dog or other animal participate in an animal fighting venture.
Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act (2007)• Felony penalties for interstate commerce, import and export related to animal fighting activities• It should make it much harder for criminals who engage in dogfighting and cockfighting to continue their operations.• Each violation of the federal law may bring up to three years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.• The law took effect immediately (May 3, 2007).
Original charges:April 2008 • (1) Conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities (conspiracy to engage in racketeering) and (2) Conspiracy to sponsor a dog in an animal fighting venture • Plea: single conspiracy count for running a brutal interstate dogfighting ring with three co-conspirators