Senator Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, reported that the Senate Judiciary committee passed out three bills today to crack down on dog fighting in Michigan. This is a bi-partisan effort by Sen. Jones, Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren, and Sen. Bert Johnson, D-Detroit.
Senator Jones’ (356) bill would subject the property of a person convicted of being involved in animal fighting to forfeiture.
Senator Johnson’s (357) bill will allow the place where the illegal conduct took place to be declared a nuisance, thus allowing local authorities to padlock the property.
Senator Bieda’s (358) bill would subject the groups that engage in animal fighting for material gain to prosecution under the racketeering (RICO) statute, which could result in longer prison sentences and/or greater fines.
“This is an ugly crime that needs tougher penalties,” stated Sen. Jones, “People that harm animals for sport are the lowest form of humanity.”
“Animal fighting is the deliberate act of pitting two or more animals against each other and watching them tear each other to pieces for entertainment, that is outrageous,” stated Sen. Bieda.
Authorities have raided dog fighting operations throughout the state of Michigan in recent years including a March bust of a sizeable dog fighting ring in Monroe County.
“I’ve seen dog fighting problems arise time and again in the City of Detroit,” Sen. Johnson said. “But it’s a statewide issue that needs to be addressed and I’m glad it’s now getting the attention it deserves.”
All three bills are strongly supported by the Michigan Humane Society, American Humane society and the Animal Law Section of the Michigan State Bar.