Kentucky One Step Closer To Outlawing Dog Fighting

Kentucky is the last state in the U.S. to end dog fighting – but a new bill is hoping to change all that.

We’re pleased to report that the state of Kentucky is looking to expand its dog fighting law to include owning, possessing, keeping, training, selling or transferring “four-legged animals” for fighting purposes.

Wait a minute… hasn’t dog fighting a felony since 2008?

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It certainly is in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is also illegal to be a spectator in a fight, even a worse one if you bring a child under the age of 16 to one. Federal law states that if proven guilty, the person charged can face up to five years in prison and pay a hefty fine. But to get to that decision, the states have divided the punishment into different misdemeanor categories: an A misdemeanor carrying the strongest punishment, while a D misdemeanor being the lessor of charges (the person charged will still be in trouble, just not receiving the maximum penalty).

Kentucky currently carries a “Misdemeanor D” penalty on dogfighting. And because it has the lowest punishment possible, it has become a mecca for illegal fight activity.

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According to House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonburg: “Kentucky is the only state without such a law, and that has spurred an increase in breeding and training of fighting dogs in the state, particularly near the West Virginia and Tennessee state lines.” Under the current law, the perpetrator has to be caught in the act of dogfighting in order to be charged. Dogfighting organizers know this, so they hold their illegal fights in places it’s hardest to be prosecuted. Broadening the bill will make it easier to catch and prosecute them.

Dogfights can generate as much as $10,000 per event – a lucrative endeavor for heartless *&%$#@ (we couldn’t come up with a word strong enough to describe them, but you get the picture). Changing the misdemeanor will make criminals think twice before fighting dogs in Kentucky.

The bill seems to be popular on both sides of the political parties and looks like it will be turned into law, except for a minor detail: the term “Four-legged animal” is causing a bit of confusion. What’s the need for it to be so broad? Why can it just be exclusive for dogs?

Nope – it turns out that pigs, horses and donkeys are also being used in illegal fighting circles. So if the bill only includes dogs, the fight organizers will just move on to putting other animals in the ring to fight and die.

As well, there are questions being raised as to why “two-legged animals” are not included in the bill. What about those involved in cockfighting? On this point, Rep. Johnny Bell, D-Glasgow, had this to say: “Any animal fighting for gambling is barbaric, regardless of how many legs they have.” Talks about including “two-legged animals” in the bill are already underway.

Are you curious about where your state stands on the issue and how it’s dealing with dog fighting? Check out the 2014 list on Federal and State Dogfighting Statutes. If you don’t like what you see, take action. Join your local ASPCA or Humane Society chapters and help your community get rid of this inhumane practice while helping fight dogs regain a normal, happy life they deserve.

Glorimar Anibarro
Glorimar Anibarro

Glorimar Anibarro is a proud Puerto Rican now living in Southern California. She decided to trade in a career in advertising for a bold, new adventure – becoming a bilingual pet writer, sharing her knowledge in both English and Spanish. She also writes, designs and illustrates the chronicles of "Gato Avocado": a two-dimensional cat living in a three-dimensional world.

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