Governor Murphy Signs Legislation To Protect Animals From Trunk Fighting

TRENTON – Today, Governor Phil Murphy signed S975 into law to prohibit animal trunk fighting in New Jersey. Trunk fighting is defined as two or more animals fighting each other that could lead to possible death(s). With this new law, those who are in violation will be subject to a third-degree animal cruelty felony and/or fined up to $5,000 for each offense. 

“Building a stronger and fairer New Jersey includes ensuring animal welfare,” said Governor Murphy. “With today’s bill signing, we are enhancing protections for animals and ensuring that these disturbing activities will not be tolerated.” 

"Trunk fighting is morally reprehensible," said Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean. "In New Jersey, we will not tolerate this barbaric and despicable activity. With this law, we are sending a clear message to anyone who would consider fighting dogs in this most inhumane manner that they will face significant penalties and substantial fines." 

“During my time in the Legislature, I have sponsored multiple proposals to prioritize animal welfare,” said Senator Troy Singleton. “Trunk fighting is a horrifying act of animal cruelty where dogs are provoked to fight to their death in the trunk of a car. It is disgusting and it will not be tolerated in New Jersey with this new law. Those who commit this crime must be brought to justice and be punished accordingly.” 

“Trunk fighting is an act of animal cruelty, plain and simple,” said Assemblymembers Eric Houghtaling and Lisa Swain. “This law will hold the small number of people who take part in this heinous practice accountable for their disgraceful actions. Animal cruelty will never be tolerated in New Jersey.”  

“New Jersey is sending a clear message to these animal abusers and criminals that we have no tolerance for such depravity. The strict penalties enforced through this legislation will serve as strong deterrent and save animals from unthinkable cruelty,” said Assemblyman Ron Dancer.

“We applaud Governor Murphy for taking action today signing this legislation into law,” said Brian R. Hackett, New Jersey State Director, the Humane Society of the United States. “It continues the positive trend of New Jersey having some of the strongest laws in the country against the cruel blood sport of animal fighting. This illicit activity harms animals and the very fabric of our communities and has no place in our society today.”  

“We are thrilled Governor Murphy signed legislation banning trunk fighting, the barbaric practice of forcing two dogs into the trunk of a car to fight to the death,” said Laurie Perla, representative of the Animal Protection League of New Jersey. “This demonstrates Governor Murphy’s continued commitment to enacting humane legislation.” 

"The American Kennel Clubs lauds the leadership of Senators Kean, Singleton, Dancer, Houghtaling and Swain, and Governor Murphy in making trunk fighting a felony,” said Sheila Goffe, VP of Government Relations at The American Kennel Club. “Organized dog fighting is a deplorable practice, and AKC is proud to strongly support leadership and legislation that makes participating in organized dog fighting a felony offense."