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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Heidi Weaver

It's about time !


What does it say happens to the dogs of these fights that they find. its all well and good that they punish the people who put on the fights, and the spectators, but if they punish the dogs just as harshly, we have a potentially huge problem. because this law, plus BSL is not really a good mix. it seems to say, we are going to punish everyone involved in dog fights, even the dogs.


This legislation makes good sense. If johns can be arrested in prostitution stings, there is NO reason fight attendees shouldn't be treated as criminals as well.

Patricia Rios

I agree with you, they need to know that this is not a game. Give them more time & classes so they can see what they do to those poor dogs!

thomas kucher

hang the f ers god bless the asca


This is such great news for the victims = dogs. Thank God we are getting some help with combating this very sad, very sick and barbaric act - which I still cannot believe that people actually sit and watch. And this is their "sport"? Their "fun"? And then they take their children? This is unbelieveable to me. Not much more to say about the sicko's that take part in this stupidity - out, cause now you'r goin' down too! Not just the brainless & unfeeling poor excuse for a human being, who arranged the fight...if you just there hanging out, watching, laughing, cheering, betting - on pain & death - then your just as brainless & unfeeling and your going down too!


Cynthis Knight

Anything and everything pertaining to dog fighting should be illegal.

I am soooooo glad to hear that there will finally be jail sentences for all that participate in dog fights. It has been a long time coming, I hope this also works for cock fights or any animal that is in danger of being forced to fight. The only thing left to do, is to make sure people SERVE their sentence and not get a slap on the wrist.

Arden Allen

It's not just the dogs that have to suffer in Hell. It's the moron's kids who learn to think that cruelty and savagery is acceptable behavior. Society suffers from the resultant spread of criminal behavior. It's a well established fact that kids who grow up mistreating animals often go on to a life of crime against people.