Penalties Increased for Spectators of Animal Fights

Throughout the country, if you stage or participate in an animal fight, you go to jail. And in 49 out of 50 states, it is a crime to attend a dogfight or a cockfight (I have no idea what’s going on with Montana.) However, the penalty against attending these brutal, deadly – and illegal – events is about to go way up.

In legislation already approved by the U.S. Senate as part of a farm bill, the penalty for attendance at a dog or cockfight will be as high as a fine of $100,000 and a year in jail. That goes up to $250,000 and a tripled jail sentence if a child is brought along.

The Los Angeles Times has more details:

 A similar measure — the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act — is pending in the House, where it is backed by nearly 200 lawmakers from both parties.

The legislation would help ensure that animal-fight organizers “cannot escape justice by disappearing into the crowd attending the event,” the bill’s chief sponsors, Reps. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) and Betty Sutton (D-Ohio), said in a letter to colleagues.

In Los Angeles County, sheriff’s deputies breaking up a backyard cockfight last year found spectators as young as 13 and 14 along with about 45 live fighting birds and 11 dead ones.

I think this kind of penalty is long overdue, but at the same time at least we can celebrate the progress toward an end to animal cruelty. What’s your take on this increase in penalty? Share in the comments below. 

Photo credit: By Mdk572 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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