Bill to Ban Brutal Wildlife Killing Contests in NYS Passes Both Houses, Now Heads to Gov. Hochul

July 13, 2023
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

The SPCA and other animal welfare organizations across the nation have been diligent in efforts to end barbaric wildlife killing contests (see original story and accompanying articles here >>) and the New York State bill that would outlaw these cruel acts passed both the state Senate and Assembly last month. The bill is now headed to Governor Kathy Hochul’s desk, and the SPCA Serving Erie County is working hard to spread the message about the realities of such barbaric activities, asking people to contact Governor Hochul to urge her to sign the bill outlawing these brutal acts once and for all.

More on wildlife killing contests >>

SPCA President/CEO Cait Daly and Director of Wildlife Barbara Haney have written the following emotional message regarding the importance of outlawing this immoral activity, further encouraging community members to contact the Governor asking for her support. Governor Hochul’s contact information is included below the message. 


The SPCA Serving Erie County has continually been a leader in rallying the moral fiber of our community on issues of animal cruelty. For 156 years we have been there for our animals to champion them and to mature with the community in our efforts to protect them. We must cry out once more, this time for our wildlife.

Over the last few years, we have watched some of our local communities and counties participating in wildlife kill contests, encouraging participants to compete for cash and other prizes for killing the most, the largest, or even the smallest foxes, bobcats, coyotes, squirrels, crows, and other species over a weekend.

We were horrified at the documentation and photos that the Humane Society of the United States acquired that showed dumpsters filled with discarded carcasses of animals. What makes this especially sad is that there is no logical, scientific reason that we can find that may justify dumpsters of dead animals.

Indeed, science unequivocally refutes the claims that this is population control. The evidence goes back for over a century that indiscriminate killing in some species only causes population numbers to grow. This is clearly shown in coyote population biology and cited in numerous studies and recognized by several wildlife agencies across the country, including the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.

Indiscriminate, wanton killing does not manage the population. In fact, quite the opposite. The indiscriminate killing of coyotes can cause a population spike, disrupting the family units, wreaking havoc on the environment. Reason and science alone beg one to find these contests immoral, but it goes further when we consider that wildlife is sovereign and should be a resource held in the public trust for ALL New Yorkers.

S4099 is the legislation that would finally end the wildlife kill contests. Nothing in the proposed legislation changes hunting seasons, bag limits, or any other regulations. Deer, turkey, and bear are exempt from the bill as the state already tightly regulates the seasonal hunting of these species. This bill focuses solely on one thing, ending the use of killing wildlife for cash profits.

In June, this bill passed both chambers with bipartisan support. It now sits in the hands of our very own Governor Kathy Hochul. We implore Governor Hochul to eradicate this practice for the public good.

The SPCA Serving Erie County, one of only a handful of humane societies in the country with a fully-outfitted Wildlife Department, sets the standards for ethics and best practices in caring for and living with wildlife. Let us become the ninth state* to ban these contests. Let us finally put an end to this antiquated practice of killing contests that have no scientific or moral foundation.

Supporters and WNY residents, please contact Governor Hochul using the contact information below and voice your support for this important bill. We respectfully urge Governor Hochul, a Buffalo native, to sign this bill into law. We would be proud to become the ninth state to prohibit these selfish and unnecessary competitions!

SPCA Serving Erie County President/CEO Caitlin Daly
(716) 875-7360, ext. 250

SPCA Director of Wildlife Barbara Haney
(716) 875-7360, ext. 220

Contact Governor Hochul by phone:
1-518-474-8390 | Office hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm

Contact Governor Hochul by website contact form:

Contact Governor Hochul by mail:
The Honorable Kathy Hochul
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224

*Wildlife killing contests are banned in Arizona, California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Vermont, and Washington.