Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation to include animal fighting as a designated offense for an eavesdropping or video surveillance warrant.
"This is a particularly cruel and heinous crime, and we must use every tool at our disposal to stamp out these despicable acts once and for all," Governor Cuomo said. "This legislation will give law enforcement new powers to crack down on these rings, protect animals from harm and bring these criminals to justice."
Animal fighting often requires multiple individuals acting in concert, using telephones and web-based communications devices. Currently, the investigation of animal fighting activities does not qualify law enforcement to receive a warrant to conduct electronic surveillance.
This legislation (A2806/S611) authorizes the issuance of eavesdropping and video surveillance warrants for the investigation of animal fighting crimes to provide an important and useful tool to law enforcement intent on ending this horrific crime and to shutting down those who flaunt the State's laws.
Senator Phil Boyle said, "Animal fighting fuels some of the most violent enterprises that corrupt our neighborhoods, and many people did not know that animal fighting was not eligible for a warrant to conduct electronic surveillance. Apart from the well-established social science link between violence against animals and violence against people, law enforcement throughout the state has seen first-hand that vigorous investigations and prosecutions of animal fighting exposes gang networks, narcotics rings, weapons trafficking activity, and other sophisticated and violent criminal enterprises. I applaud Governor Cuomo for signing this measure into law."
Assemblyman Charles D. Lavine said, "Those who profit from cruel animal fighting must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law, and with the crime dependent on organized networks, the use of wiretaps and surveillance video is absolutely necessary to protect the public. This legislation will help end this barbaric practice, and we should all be very appreciative that Governor Cuomo is signing this into law."