Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act of 2013 - Amends the Animal Welfare Act to prohibit any person from knowingly attending an animal fighting venture or causing a minor (a person under the age of 18) to attend such a venture. Subjects any person who: (1) knowingly attends such venture...
Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act of 2013 - Amends the Animal Welfare Act to prohibit any person from knowingly attending an animal fighting venture or causing a minor (a person under the age of 18) to attend such a venture. Subjects any person who: (1) knowingly attends such venture to a fine and/or imprisonment for up to a year for each violation, and (2) knowingly causes a minor to attend such venture to a fine and/or imprisonment for up to three years for each violation.
This cruel, inhumane practice requires a lifetime of suffering for the roosters and contributes to the desensitization to violence of the adult and child participants and observers. Complicity by officials and local institutions warrants a federal initiative.
Animal fighting - whether it involves dogs or birds - is a violent crime that causes immense suffering to countless numbers of innocent animals. It is also associated with gang activity, drugs, gambling, money laundering, illegal guns, and other offenses. Animal fighting operations endanger the whole community.
In the last few years, the federal government has increased coverage of and penalties for animal fighting activities under the Animal Welfare Act, but it is still lacking in one area: the spectator. Spectators are not innocent bystanders; they are active participants in and enablers of these cruel criminal enterprises and should be treated accordingly. Moreover, when a fight is raided, the organizers, promoters, trainers, and owners disperse and blend into the crowd to escape arrest.
U.S. Reps. Tom Marino (R-PA), Jim McGovern (D-MA), John Campbell (R-CA), and Jim Moran (D-VA) have introduced H.R. 366, the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, to close this loophole. Their bill makes knowingly attending an animal fight punishable by fines and up to a year in prison. Also, recognizing that exposure to animal cruelty—especially the egregious brutality of animal fighting—can desensitize children to violence at an early age, the bill makes it a separate offense, with even higher penalties, to knowingly bring a minor to such an event. This common sense legislation will improve efforts to rid our communities of this cruel and dangerous crime.
Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) reintroduced legislation on Jan. 23 that would amend the Animal Welfare Act to prohibit people from knowingly attending, or causing a minor to attend, an animal fight. The Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act (H.R. 366), which AVMA actively supported in the last Congress, would also impose criminal and civil penalties on people who violated it, should the bill become law.
Animal fighting has severe consequences—resulting in serious injuries or death for the animals involved. While most states have recently adopted stricter laws to prohibit animal fighting, enforcement of these laws has been a challenge, proving the need for a combined federal and state effort to effectively address the issue. By not only targeting those who participate in the events, but also those who are attending them, the newly reintroduced legislation aims to put animal fighting organizers out of business.
Late last year the U.S. Senate passed a similar piece of legislation. Unfortunately, the bill died at the end of the 112th Congress because it did not receive a vote in the House—despite having the support of more than 200 co-sponsors. The Senate has, once again, moved in support of this legislation this year by including similar language to H.R. 366 in its newest version of the farm bill (S. 10), which it reintroduced on Jan. 22.