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Congress passes legislation to help end dog and cock fighting

No one

Big Dog
Terre Haute,IN -- The U.S. Congress recently passed legislation to help end organized dog and cock fighting. The bill, H.R. 137, gives felony penalties for interstate or foreign animal fighting activities, as well as outlawing any business in cockfighting weapons. The bill will take effect immediately if the president signs it into law.

“With the passage of this landmark anti-cruelty legislation, law enforcement agencies now have the tools to dismantle the vast underground network of dog fighting and cock fighting syndicates that operate throughout the country,†said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the U.S. “Staged animal fights spawn not just malicious animal cruelty but also drug trafficking, illegal gambling, public corruption, and even murder. We are fortunate to have had an extraordinary team of legislation champions to craft and pass a powerful law that will go a long way toward eradicating these sickening forms of animal cruelty.â€

In the U.S., illegal dog fighting and cock fighting crimes are reported almost every week. In addition, lawmakers are concerned about the spreading of Avian flu from the worldwide trade of fighting birds. The new legislation ensures up to three years of jail time for any interstate or foreign transport of animals for fighting purposes. The bill also makes it a crime to transport cockfighting weapons (razor-sharp knives and ice pick-like gaff’s to attach to the bird’s legs). Currently, dog fighting is illegal in all 50 states and cockfighting is illegal in 49 states, excluding Louisiana.

Dogs and cats are often stolen in order to be used for training to teach dogs to fight. According to Stephanie LaFarge, Ph. D., Senior Director, ASPCA Counseling Services, owners of fighting dogs “represent a range of personality types and psychological disorders. School life offers them little fulfillment and humiliates them into doing socially unacceptable things in an environment where beating the system is the goal.†Officer Mark MacDonald, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement, added “Self esteem is an important issue with this population. [Animal] fighting gives them the respect and power that they do not have in other areas of their lives. Many fighters come from non-responsive homes and communities with limited social or economic opportunity. They never acquire the tools to excel. With dog fighting, they are accepted, especially if they have a winning dog.†If their dog is a winner, so are they.

Not all dog fighters are disadvantaged economically. People involved come from every community and background. Licensed veterinarians provide care for fighting dogs and audiences include lawyers, judges, and teachers. Society needs to take a good look at the social structure of dog fighting. Participants need to seek other means for positive, life-affirming opportunities. Input from experts in gangs, drug abuse, poverty, education, law enforcement and psychology is necessary in order to comprehend and combat dog fighting at each level.

http://www.tribstar.com/valley_life/local_story_119000800.html