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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Patricia Rios



I have 2 pits of my own so i am really pleased to see this bill passed. we need to protect these poor inocent dogs!


It says all animal fighting, so I assume cock-fighting is also included. I'm happy to hear about the Senate's vote. Now, we have to make sure it passes for the next vote with the House. I think the ASPCA will send out an action for supporters of this bill to take. Thank you to everyone who made this victory possible! Let's keep putting the pressure on so that it passes in the House!

Pat Brett

Yes!!! It's about time people were punished for promoting, attending, supporting, betting on, etc. animal fighting. It's a step in the right direction! YAY for the animals!! (BTW-WE are animals too!!!) Let's be kind to all animals, everywhere!!

Diana Cawford

Justice for these animals

Linda Nelson

Stop it! It's barbaric!!


Great idea. But first, it would have to be a felonious offense, enforceable by individual states...and lately there are governors who are refusing to enact Obama's ACA, much less anything to lay down the law for animal abuse. Sorry, but I don't see the reality here (Scott Walker is my governor) in work. Sucks though...people who enjoy this crap pretty much feel the same way about their fellow humans but don't have the stones to pick on someone their own size.


absolutely incredible about time!

Rosalia Gonzalez

The dog fighting mafia is one step ahead. I understand they are already putting the dogs in a room with cameras, viewers who are betting are given passwords with access to the webcam and bets are placed online. No noise, no congegation of persons to attract attention. Not good...

Hi, it's very encouraging to see the leaps and bounds that have been occurring in your legal fight against dog-fighting. We are in the early stages of just getting the police and government to agree that dog-fighting is cruel and contravenes the existing regulations of the country. We are hoping our workshop on the 17th of July which is bringing together representatives from the police force (central and local), court systems, government departments, veterinary associations, animal rights advocates and welfare groups and other relevant NGOs to try and create a resolution on how to tackle reports of dog-fighting, monkey mask entertainers, and animal abusers in general. Until now all efforts to report animal abuse have failed as there are no clear guidelines or procedures to handle these cases. Successful or not, we are at least going to expose the participants to the realities of abuse and the frustrations we face. We are also planning a regional talk in around September or October with participants from Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand and other neighboring countries to share experiences. If anyone is interested in coming over and helping, please contact me at [email protected] We need as much help as we can.. Thanks