Even though dogfighting and cockfighting in the United States took place every year in thousands of dark corners and even some brightly lit arenas, the 1976 federal law to curb animal fighting did not result in a single prosecution for more than a quarter century. HSLF has been working to improve the law in order to make it more effective and viable. During the last 15 years, we have upgraded the law four times. The last time was in 2014. I am happy to share an example that illustrates the new, stronger framework-criminalizing anyone who fights with a minor. I am please to share the example below:
Two years in prison were impose recently on a Virginia man for taking a minor to cockfight in Kentucky. According to Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, included in the 2014 Farm Bill and backed strongly by The HSUS and HSLF, this is a direct result.
Attending a dogfight or cockfight is a federal criminal offense, as well as bringing a child to one. In the past several years, we have also convinced Congress to outlaw the sale of fighting birds, increase the punishment for animal fighting, and outlaw the possession of fighting animals.
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Several undercover investigations conducted by the FBI
This despicable behavior is being eradicate by these upgrade federal laws. Several undercover investigations conducted by the FBI and The HSUS led to the shutdown of a cockfighting pit in Citronelle, Alabama, last year.
The authorities found a large arena with bleacher seating, concession stands and cockfighting paraphernalia, as well as rental holding areas with room for more than 1,000 birds during the execution of the search warrant.
A federal investigation of suspected dogfighting operations in New Jersey, Illinois, Indiana, New Mexico, and Washington, D.C., led to the rescue of 66 dogs and the seizure of dog fighting paraphernalia. Nine individuals were charged in a coordinate effort by the Department of Justice with the help of The HSUS to combat organize dog fighting across multiple federal judicial districts.
As the first case of a child being prosecute under federal law for attending a cockfight, the case is particularly noteworthy. In the past, people have been prosecute for attending dogfights. He pleaded guilty to distribution of hydrocodone as well as involvement in cockfighting at the Big Blue Sportsmen’s Club in McDowell, Kentucky. Historically, animal fighting has been associate with other crimes and children brought to these spectacles are expose to drugs, violence, and bloodletting.
Witnessing the cruelty of animal fighting
As a result of witnessing the cruelty of animal fighting, the children must pay a high price. According to research, animals are cruel to children on a regular basis, putting children at risk. The more they are exposed to pain and suffering, the more they become desensitized. They are also at risk of becoming human criminals, who commit crimes against people as well as animals.
We should expect to see more enforcement of all animal fighting laws due to the FBI’s integration of animal cruelty crimes into its uniform crime reporting database and groups such as the National Sheriffs Association, which speak out forcefully against animal cruelty. HSUS also educates thousands of law enforcement agents about cockfighting and dogfighting laws across the country.
There were five states where cockfighting was still legal less than 20 years ago. By marching state by state, HSUS and HSLF close the gaps in the legal framework of animal fighting. Our goal was to strengthen the federal statute to complement state laws because many of the dogfights and cockfights are state- and jurisdiction-wide. Now that all those efforts have paid off for animals and communities across the country, we’re grateful for all the legislators who stood up for tougher laws to stop animal fighting.
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