The following information was provided by the office of Assemblywoman Nancy F. Muñoz.
Legislation sponsored by Deputy Republican Whip Assemblywoman Nancy F. Muñoz that establishes dog fighting as a crime and punishes those who are leaders in a dog fighting system was released by the Assembly Judiciary Committee on March 14.
While animal fighting in general is currently prohibited in the state, Muñoz’s bill, A-2379, specifically identifies dog fighting and would be a third degree crime, which carries a prison term of three-to-five years and a fine of up to $15,000.
A person who conspires with others in order to profit from dog fighting is considered a leader of dog fighting which would be included in the list of offenses considered racketeering activity under New Jersey’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) law. Being a leader of a dog fighting enterprise is a second degree offense.
“All too often, there are accounts of animal cruelty, including the discovery of dog fighting rings that seek to profit from this heinous act,” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “This bill strengthens the penalties for anyone involved in promoting or participating in the ruthless act of dog fighting.
“Profits from dog fighting are oftentimes used by gangs or other criminal elements to fund their illegal activities,” explained Muñoz. “Including the crime of leading a dog fighting ring under the anti-racketeering law will help law enforcement shut down one of the sources of funding for these kinds of criminal enterprises. This legislation is not only about preventing cruelty to dogs, but sends an unmistakable message that no one will profit from it as well.”