Senate Votes to Criminalize Animal Fight Attendance

Thursday, June 28, 2012 - 10:15am

Great news for animals nationwide! On June 21, the U.S. Senate took a huge step toward strengthening federal laws against animal fighting by approving the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, which had been a stand-alone bill in the Senate (S. 1947), as part of that chamber’s version of the Farm Bill.

This humane measure would make it a federal offense to knowingly attend an organized animal fight and would impose additional penalties for bringing children to animal fights. Violators would face up to one year in prison for attending a fight, and up to three years in prison for bringing or causing a minor to attend.

While organized animal fighting is a federal crime and is illegal in all 50 states, the issue of spectators at these events has not been fully addressed on the federal level—and laws against spectatorship vary from state to state.

“This measure would help law enforcement by allowing them to pursue and punish the spectators who drive the market for animal fighting,” says Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Government Relations. “Furthermore, children need protection from the spectacle of animal fighting, as well as its dangerous and illegal associated activities, including drugs, weapons and gambling.”

In order for the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act to become law, the U.S. House must add the same language it its version of the Farm Bill, which is still being crafted. The Farm Bill is expected to be finalized by the end of summer.

For more information on the ASPCA’s efforts to tackle animal fighting, please join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade.

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Lynn Winchester

thank you on behalf of all the animals suffering and that have suffered keep up the good work

Jaime Perez

Thank God! It's about time that spectators face criminal charges as well. With no one to watch and bet, what's the use of fighting dogs? Take away the audience, and you have no purpose. What a wonderful victory for animals. Keep up the valiant work ASPCA.


It is about time things change for the dogs who fight. Those poor dogs do not need to end up like that. Those dogs are not meant for fighting and it is a sport that no one should attend or see. It is horrible. There should not be allowed dog fighting anywhere. Those dogs do not deserve to be fought like that. They are suppose to be pets not fighting machines. They are not bred for that. Those people should be put away for a very long time. People are afraid of pitbills because of this. It is wrong how people mistreat animals. No animal should be mistreated like that. There is to much animal abuse going on. This all needs to end and stay that way.


Hooray!! It's time to put these sick people who watch this horror away..Now all we have to do is put the scumbags who run
the shows away for a lot longer..

God bless the animals with this victory..


oh thank the powers above! this has been a long time coming and I so hope to see it passed! I realize not all perpetrators will be caught but hopefully this will send a powerful message to all involved!

Beverly Morrow

I am assuming that this ruling would include cock fighting as well. right???


Wondering if this would extend to those who watch animal abuse and do nothing to stop it?

Johanna Sena

BRAVO! how can we help make this happen? is there anything else we can do to make this a law?


This needs to be, animal abuse is rampant all over the world and has escalated in the U.S.A. Now here is a suggestion, all those Federal Terrorist Prisons that I have been hearing about they are setting about putting these animal terrorist in those prisons and let them live with each other for a while. Just a suggestion.


Up to one year is NOT enough! They supposedly strengthened the federal law. What punishment was dealt to them before(?) a verbal "no no"? Up to a year in jail. What a joke. Give them a minimum of 5yrs in a federal prison!