Legislation/Policy Article from All-Creatures.org



Disappointment In Mississippi: Bill to Strengthen Dogfighting Penalties Dies

From Doll Stanley, Justice for Animals Senior Campaigner with IDA In Defense of Animals

The new bill, SB 2136, would have added dogfighting to the stateís list of racketeering activities, giving law enforcement even more leverage to crack down on this bloodsport and send the message that it wonít be tolerated. More than 19,000 people signed our alert urging this change.

dog brutalized

Today we share with you some disappointing news that affects In Defense of Animals staff at two of our locations in Mississippi. We operate both Hope Animal Sanctuary and our Justice for Animals campaign out of different locations in Mississippi, but by working together, we bring much needed change to the state. Unfortunately, legislation introduced by Sen. Angela Hill that would have amended the stateís racketeering law to include dogfighting has died in committee.

In 2018, then Gov. Phil Bryant signed a law to strengthen penalties for those involved in dogfighting operations that was introduced by the late Sen. Bob Dearing. Anyone involved in promoting or staging fights, betting on fights, or having a dog with the intent to use them to fight, or owning dogfighting paraphernalia, faces a fine up to $5,000 and up to five years in prison, or both. Repeat offenders face fines of up to $10,000 and 10 years in prison. Spectators could also face felony charges.

The new bill, SB 2136, would have added dogfighting to the stateís list of racketeering activities, giving law enforcement even more leverage to crack down on this bloodsport and send the message that it wonít be tolerated. More than 19,000 people signed our alert urging this change.

Dogfighting is a felony in every state in the U.S. Not only does it cause immense suffering and death, itís also been linked to other forms of violence and criminal activities, such as illegal gambling. However, it still persists and those involved must face higher penalties.

The recent bust of a dogfighting ring in Panola County where 29 dogs were seized in December 2023 highlights the need for further and immediate action in Mississippi.

Mississippians who value the lives of their animal companions owe much to Senator Angela Hill for her steadfast determination to protect dogs and cats from cruel treatment. Itís disappointing this important bill to protect dogs and hold abusers accountable has not moved forward, but weíll continue to support this billís reintroduction.


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