The Humane Society of the United States applauds the Georgia State Senate for unanimously passing a bill strengthening the state's dogfighting law. On behalf of its 175,000 supporters in Georgia, the organization now urges Gov. Sonny Perdue to sign H.B. 301 into law.
Rep. Bobby Reese (R-Sugar Hill) and Sen. Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) are the sponsors of this anti-dogfighting measure. If enacted, H.B. 301 would strengthen the current dogfighting law by increasing the penalties for dogfighting, banning the possession of fighting dogs and making it a crime to be a spectator at a dogfight.
"The Humane Society of the United States is thrilled that the State Senate has passed H.B. 301 unanimously," said Cheryl McAuliffe, The HSUS' Georgia state director. "We look forward to Governor Perdue's signature giving Georgia's law enforcement agencies the tools they need to stamp out this cruel blood sport."
Dogfighting is a felony in Georgia. Under H.B. 301, the penalties for dogfighting would be upgraded to a minimum fine of $5,000 or one to five years in prison.
In 2006, The HSUS compiled rankings of state dogfighting laws. At that time Georgia had the nation's third weakest law, but in the aftermath of the Michael Vick case, Idaho and Wyoming enacted stronger laws dropping Georgia to last place. The increased penalties will be effective as soon as Gov. Perdue signs H.B. 301, and will push Georgia up among the strongest state dogfighting laws.
Dogfighting is a highly-organized criminal industry; more than 250,000 dogs are placed in dogfighting pits each year.
The HSUS estimates that 40,000 people are involved in organized dogfighting and an additional 100,000 are street-level fighters.
A Chicago Police Department study showed that 65 percent of people charged with animal abuse crimes — including dogfighting — were also charged with violent crimes against people.