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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malgorzata Harvat

Grate, punishment should fit the crime, jail is to good for people like that ,but unfortunately we can not close them in the cage and make them fight to death.

Jan White

I saw a story some time ago about a poor bait dog named Nathan. When I saw this I immediately thought of him. All dog fighting needs to be stopped one way or another. Stop the fighting then hopefully the BSL will be removed against Pitties. I will never forget you Nanthan.


I REALLY hope this passes both houses and becomes law. It's WAY past time for it!!

However, it still has to pass the House. The way those jackasses have been acting, I wouldn't hold my breath.

Helen Hoag

I hope that all Congressmen vote for this bill. I find that North Carolina Senators and Representatives do not much care for animals, I have seen their voting records for bills about protection of animals, they either are not there for the vote or vote no. What a shame we have a state like this. They show very little response for animals.


Just curious, isn't cockfighting still legal in some states? If so, is this law written to make attendence at a technical legal event illegal? If so, this law could easily be thrown out under the seperation of powers. Hopefully lawmakers considered that ahead of time.

Pam Smith

Yes, I'm very pleased they made it animal fighting and not just dog fighting. All animals need to be protected from people who think making them fight is "entertainment." I also agree, we all need to write and encourage our House of Rep. folks to follow through and pass it. Great step forward.


well, I don't think that is enough punishment but attart least it is a start


Yes! Outlawing all types of animal abuse!! The next thing is outlawing "gassing" them! If anyone saw HBO/Betrayal about dogs.2million every year..because of lack of homes. Many complexes do not allow pets; no wonder so many are tossed out. We also need to end "puppy" mills.


people who fight dog's need to be put in jail for 25 to 30 year's then maybe the stupid people will stop i realy hate people that fight dog's or abuse dog's.

kathyann rowan

I'm so glad your keeping up with this dog fighting you are their voices Thank You,