NOW LAW: Assemblyman Moriarty Measure To Criminalize Animal Fighting Paraphernalia

To close a loophole in New Jersey law regarding animal fighting, legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrat Paul Moriarty to criminalize the possession of animal fighting paraphernalia was signed into law Friday by Governor Phil Murphy.

The new law (A-4698) makes it illegal to possess animal fighting paraphernalia for the purpose of promoting, facilitating or participating in animal fighting or baiting. Owning, possessing, selling, transferring or manufacturing such materials will be a crime of the third degree under State animal cruelty statutes, punishable by three to five years in prison or a fine of up to $15,000, or both.

Animal fighting is a felony in New Jersey, but it previously was not illegal to possess paraphernalia used in animal fighting activities.

“No domesticated animal is born knowing how to viciously fight another animal; they are trained to do so by people who want nothing more than to profit off of their suffering,” said Moriarty (D-Camden, Gloucester). “Strengthening our animal cruelty laws will undoubtedly help us reduce incidents in New Jersey and rescue animals from abusive situations.”

Additionally, the law establishes a civil penalty of between $3,000 and $5,000 for owning, possessing, buying, selling, transferring or manufacturing animal fighting paraphernalia.

The measure passed the Assembly in June, 76-0, and the Senate in May, 38-0.