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Best Friends Animal Society, Supporters Celebrate as S1923 Becomes Law, Giving Survivors of Dog Fighting a Second Chance

Today Best Friends Animal Society, the only national animal welfare organization dedicated exclusively to ending the killing of dogs and cats in America's shelters by 2025, is celebrating New Jersey Governor Murphy's signing of Senate Bill 1923, which eliminates the presumptuous "vicious" or "potentially dangerous" stigmatization of dogs seized in connection with animal fighting.   

These labels, which were mandated by the previous law, are often a death sentence for dogs, even if the survivor is an eight-week-old puppy, a stolen pet, a dog who could not be trained to fight, a breeding mother dog, or a dog that will thrive in a home.  

Many dogs seized in connection with dog fighting do not pose any risk to other dogs or humans and have gone on to live healthy, happy lives. In the case of dogs seized from Michael Vick, 48 of the 49 dogs were evaluated positively - some going on to become therapy or service dogs.  

Governor Murphy has given dogfighting survivors in New Jersey a new lease on life by signing this bill, which was sponsored by Senator Singleton and several additional co-sponsors.   

"I truly admire the compassionate, lifesaving work performed by Best Friends Animal Society," said Senator Troy Singleton. "Thanks to their advocacy, dogs that were once used in dog fights and automatically assumed to be vicious, can now have a second chance to live a happier life."  

Best Friends Animal Society spearheaded the multi-year effort to gain passage of S1923. Only nine states still discriminate against victims of dogfighting, requiring them to be killed or automatically deemed "vicious" or "dangerous."    

"By signing this lifesaving piece of legislation, Governor Murphy has ensured that all dogs will be treated as individuals in New Jersey, even those who have sustained horrific abuse," said AJ Albrecht, Best Friends Animal Society Legislative Attorney.   

In February 2011, the American Bar Association adopted a resolution to urge laws and policies to protect seized animals, including an evaluation and behavior assessment, with humane euthanasia being the last resort.