If anything good has come from all of the attention focused on the Michael Vick case over the course of the past several months, it’s that the issue of animal fighting is drawing more public and legislative attention. Not only are both banned in most states (dogfighting is illegal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, cockfighting in 49,)Â there appears to be a trend now toward going after spectators at these blood sports. The thinking is that, if stiffer penalties are brought for paying money to attend fights, that people will stop going, and animal fighters’ financing will dry up.
While it is not, in fact, that clear-cut an issue, the increased attention by legislators is a step in the right direction.
From a Washington Post Editorial:
â€œDogfighting, unlike cockfighting, is illegal in all 50 states. In Maryland, Virginia and the District it is a felony, as is possession of dogs for fighting. Yesterday, Virginia’s House of Delegates passed legislation making cockfighting a felony. The Senate earlier passed a similar measure. Yet watching dogs or birds fight is a mere misdemeanor in the District, Maryland and Virginia. Little wonder that when there’s a raid, everyone on the premises suddenly becomes a spectator. Yet the money in animal fighting comes from the people who pay to see, and gamble on, these illegal, savage events. Watching — being a party to this atrocious crime — should be a felony. Dry up the money, and the shows probably would fold. The same should hold for cockfighting, which is still all too prevalent. Those who are caught at these events should be subject to more than a slap on the wrist.â€