This just in for Pet News and Views:
The U.S. House Agriculture Committee approved an amendment to the House Farm Bill to strengthen laws against animal fighting. The amendment, introduced by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), makes attending an animal fight a federal offense and imposes additional penalties for bringing a child to a dog or cockfight. The McGovern amendment was approved by the Committee by a bipartisan vote of 26-19. This amendment is similar to the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, standalone legislation with strong bipartisan support from 199 cosponsors introduced by Reps. Tom Marino (R-PA) and Betty Sutton (D-OH).
Spectators at animal fights are not there accidentally; they intentionally seek out the criminal activity at secret locations for the entertainment of watching two animals fight to the death and the opportunity to gamble on the barbaric event. This legislation discourages individuals from enabling animal fights with their attendance and ensures that organizers cannot easily hide in the crowd when law enforcement officials arrive.
“I’m very proud of the Agriculture Committee for supporting this amendment in a bipartisan way,” said Rep. McGovern. “Animal fights are violent, gory, criminal spectacles, and the loophole for so-called ‘spectators’ needs to be closed. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that this language becomes the law of the land.”
The legislation approved by the House Agriculture Committee will allow law enforcement agencies nationwide to pursue and punish the spectators who drive the market for animal fighting.