Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced an Animal Protection Initiative that would target animal fighting rings and charge individuals who abuse or neglect animals.
The announcement comes after Schneiderman said his office on Wednesday reached a $20,000 civil settlement with a pet store in Yonkers, Westchester County, that was allegedly keeping animals in unsafe conditions.
Louis Gaudio, the owner of the Yonkers store called Puppies Puppies Puppies, was allegedly selling sick puppies to customers and was also involved in other illegal business practices, Schneiderman said. There was no immediate comment from the store.
“Fighting animal cruelty is both a consumer protection issue and a public safety issue,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “There is a direct correlation between the dog fighting rings and other criminal enterprises, including gangs, gambling and illegal drugs, that put out communities at risk.”
To prevent animal cruelty, the office will target individuals who abuse animals, including abuse such as with dog and animal fighting, which is illegal in every state in the country. Schneiderman said animal-fighting convictions in New York could result in up to four years in jail and a $25,000 fine.
New York residents who have complaints or want to report animal abuse could call 1-800-771-7755.