New Bill Looks to Make Attendance at Animal Fighting Events Illegal

In an effort to stop the brutal “sport” that is animal fighting, United States Representatives Tom Marino (R) of Pennsylvania and Betty Sutton (D) of Ohio have recently introduced a new federal legislation that would make it a misdemeanor offense to attend any organized animal fighting event and enforce additional penalties (making it a felony) for bringing, or causing, a minor to attend such an event.  In a sense it would be rounding out existing laws to completely eradicate this type of severe animal cruelty across the country. 

Animal fighting is a grossly deliberate violation of animal’s rights and can involve any number of animals; however, most commonly feature roosters, dogs, and even hogs.  During a match, a fight is instigated between animals who are then egged on by handlers and gamblers to continue until either one or both of the animals give up or die.  Animals that survive the attack are often times physically mutated and left with even deeper emotional scars. 

Organized animal fights are illegal everywhere in the United States, but tracking down when and where these events take place is another harder subject to tackle altogether.  Fights are usually hidden behind closed doors and require passwords and large entrance fees in order to attend.  Gamblers blend in with spectators and vice versa making it difficult to tell who to hold responsible and making it easy for the guilty parties to escape into a crowd avoiding punishment.

There is also strong evidence to suggest that people who are involved in animal fighting, or the gambling on the events, partake in other criminal activities.  The Chicago Police Department, who conducted research on this correlation over a period of three years, found that “70 percent of animal offenders had also been arrested for other felonies, including domestic and aggravated battery, illegal drug trafficking and sex crimes.” 

“Animal fighting events are barbaric and cesspools of gang and other criminal activity,” explains Senator Scott Brown (R) of Massachusetts.  It is hoped that by enforcing stricter laws against animal fighting and those in attendance, it will help to curve the crime rates in other areas.  Hence the new bill: H.R. 2492, otherwise known as “Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act of 2011.”

Wayne Pacelle, CEO and President of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), agrees with the new bill and the change it hopes to bring.  “Spectators are participants and accomplices who enable the crime of animal fighting, provide a large share of the funding for the criminal enterprise through their admission fees and gambling wagers, and help conceal handlers and organizers who try to blend into the crowd when the bust occurs.” This new legislation will hold all in attendance accountable for the crime being committed, lessening the margin of error. For many it is a cheap way at a corrupted livelihood…for the animals, it is their lives. 

It is almost a wonder that a bill like this has not been passed before.  With this last legislation, it is hoped that this will all—what so many have spent much time and effort working towards—come to an end.  “Animal fighting is a horrible and barbaric activity, and by making it a federal crime for individuals to knowingly attend these events or bring minors to them, we will make tremendous strides in putting an end to it once and for all,” explain Sutton.

For the time being, many senators are already becoming involved with and in support of the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act.  Even Michael Vick has shown his support.  Yet until it becomes official, members of the United States Senate and other members of government must be urged to get behind this progressive measure. To show your support for the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, and to urge your Congress members to support the measure, click here and sign the petition.  

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