Bills to crack down on dog fighting headed to governor’s desk

Bills to crack down on dog fighting headed to governor’s desk


LANSING—A series of bills aimed at cracking down on dog fighting was approved by the Michigan House of Representatives on Tuesday, said sponsor Sen. Rick Jones.

“It is truly unfortunate that this legislation is even necessary,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “However, I will not stand idly by and allow this barbaric practice to continue. Anyone who harms animals for sport is the lowest form of humanity and they should be punished accordingly.”

The legislation is a bipartisan effort between Jones, Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren, and Rep. Andrea LaFontaine, R-Columbus Township.

Jones’ measure, Senate Bill 356, would subject the property of a person convicted of being involved in animal fighting to forfeiture.

House Bill 5789, sponsored by LaFontaine, would allow the place where the illegal conduct took place to be declared a nuisance, allowing local authorities to padlock the property.

Bieda’s bill, SB 358, 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.

All three bills are strongly supported by the Michigan Humane Society, American Humane Society and the Animal Law Section of the Michigan State Bar.