New Jersey Strengthens Dog Fighting Laws

After a years-long effort by animal advocates, dog fighting is now an offense under New Jersey’s racketeering statute. The new law (S 736) creates two new crimes: “dog fighting,” which has also been added to the list of offenses under the state’s anti-racketeering law, and “leader of a dog fighting network.” The crime of dog fighting covers both fighting and baiting, which is defined to mean “to attack with violence, to provoke, or to harass a dog with one or more animals” for purposes of training, or causing a dog to engage in dog fighting. Moreover, a number of activities fall under the definition of “dog fighting,” including keeping a place to be used for dog fighting, owning or training dogs for fighting, witnessing the fighting or baiting of dogs, or gambling on a dog fight. Those convicted of any of these offenses are subject to prison terms of 3–5 years. Those convicted of these offenses under the racketeering statute face 5–10 years. In addition, the dogs may be forfeited and the offenders required to pay the costs of their care.

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