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CA: Legislators Consider Bills to Crack Down on Dogfighting

Discussion in 'Dog Ordinances & Laws' started by fearlessknight, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. fearlessknight

    fearlessknight Good Dog

    The Humane Society of the United States is calling on California state lawmakers to swiftly pass a pair of bills that will crack down on the cruel underworld of illegal dogfighting. The nation's largest animal welfare organization praised the Assembly Committee on Public Safety for passing A.B. 2281, introduced by Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, which will strengthen the penalties for attending a dogfight.


    (Media-Newswire.com) - The Humane Society of the United States is calling on California state lawmakers to swiftly pass a pair of bills that will crack down on the cruel underworld of illegal dogfighting. The nation's largest animal welfare organization praised the Assembly Committee on Public Safety for passing A.B. 2281, introduced by Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, which will strengthen the penalties for attending a dogfight.

    A.B. 2281 will give prosecutors the option of filing felony charges against spectators at staged dogfighting exhibitions. Spectators fuel the industry through admission fees and gambling, making dogfights lucrative for the organizers. They also provide cover for dogfighters, handlers, referees, organizers and guards, who attempt to blend in with crowds of spectators when fights are raided by law enforcement as those activities are already felonies and spectators are guilty of just a misdemeanor crime. "Most get away with little more than a slap on the wrist," said Michael Markarian, executive vice president for The HSUS. "California is a magnet for the criminals who want to watch dogfights, because they face tougher penalties in neighboring states like Arizona and Oregon."

    Additionally, The HSUS urges the Senate Public Safety Committee to pass S.B. 1775, sponsored by Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, which would permit authorities to seize property obtained with profits of illegal dogfighting. This is another important tool for law enforcement to crack down on organized crime which thrives on the profits that dogfighting generates.

    The American Civil Liberties Union reportedly opposes S.B. 1775, even though the legislation is modeled after drug asset seizure laws that have been regularly upheld. The ACLU expressed concern the bill would elevate punishment for dogfighting to a level not accorded with crimes against humans.

    This concern, however, has no basis in law. California Penal Code Section 186 already provides for asset forfeiture for a whole host of crimes against humans — including murder, kidnapping, and robbery — and also for crimes far less violent than organized dogfighting, such as trash dumping ( Cal. Vehicle Code § 23112.7 ) and trademark misuse, when committed as part of a criminal venture. In each case, Californians have decided that criminals — not taxpayers —should foot the bill for the costs of their crimes. There is no reason for California to fall behind the other states that have enacted strong animal fighting asset forfeiture laws.

    "We enthusiastically support this pair of bills because dogfighters can earn thousands of dollars in a single event and they should not be able to profit from their ill-gotten gain," said Markarian. "Dogfighting is a violent and inexcusable crime and both the animals and our communities pay the price. Now it's time for the criminals to pay their due."

    About Dogfighting:

    Dogfighting is a highly organized criminal industry; more than 250,000 dogs are placed in dogfighting pits each year.
    The HSUS estimates that 40,000 people are involved in organized dogfighting and an additional 100,000 are street-level fighters.
    A Chicago Police Department study showed that 65 percent of people charged with animal abuse crimes — including dogfighting — were also charged with violent crimes against people.
    -30-

    The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 10.5 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.


    http://media-newswire.com/release_1063534.html
     

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