Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and “Gateway Crime”
The OAG's Initiative will also target those who abuse or neglect animals. One example of such types of abuse is dogfighting, which is illegal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. New York has multiple statutes addressing animal abuse, including animal fighting. For example, an animal fighting conviction can result in up to 4 years in jail and a $25,000 fine.
In addition, animal abuse can be a “gateway crime” that destabilizes communities. Many communities report growing involvement of juvenile and other offenders in dogfighting or animal abuse, often as a part of gang involvement. This has created an underground environment that often includes other criminal activities, such as illegal gambling, possession of illegal weapons and drugs. Raids on dogfighting rings often result in the arrest of many offenders with outstanding warrants.
The Attorney General’s Animal Protection Initiative will promote public safety by cracking down on individuals or groups that abuse or neglect companion animals, pursue criminal animal fighting enterprises and protect consumers who do not wish to purchase sick or diseased animals from in-state or out-of-state “puppy mills” and ensuring compliance with New York’s consumer protection laws.
The Initiative is comprised of Investigators and Assistant Attorneys General across the entire state, from the OAG's Regional Offices, the Consumer Fraud Bureau, the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau, the Organized Crime Task Force and the Investigations Bureau, who will work to bring the perpetrators of these and other animal crimes to justice.