Two Indiana lawmakers are seeking to strengthen Indiana’s laws regarding dog fighting. Sen. Jim Arnold and Democratic Rep. Linda Lawson were prompted after the Michael Vick case.
Sen. Arnold said he wants to make Indiana’s dog fighting laws the strictest in the nation. Currently, according to the Humane Society of the United States, Indiana placed 25th in toughness. (HSUS also stated that 40,000 people nationally participate in dog fighting contests in organized ways.)
Democratic Rep. Hammond said she would advocate for stronger dog fighting legislation in the House during the 2008 session.
Under current Indiana law, it is a Class D felony punishable by up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine to use an animal in a fighting contest, promote animal fighting or buy or possess animals for fighting contests.
Sen. Arnold is proposing to make those crimes Class C felonies which would carry maximum sentences of up to eight years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Attending a dog fight would go from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class D felony.
Currently, possessing animal fighting paraphernalia is a class B misdemeanor (up to 180 days in jail and $1,000 fine) for a first offense and Class A misdemeanor (up to one year in jail and $5,000 fine) for subsequent offenses. Arnold proposed to make it a Class A misdemeanor every time.
Arnold said his proposal would cover all animal fighting, but his main focus is on dog fighting. He is also proposing that people who have been convicted of dog fighting offenses would be banned from owning any animal for ten years.
Source: Indy Star
Photo: Undercover TV