On the heels of last week’s guilty plea by Raul Sanchez for his involvement in a Bronx-based dog fighting operation, we are thrilled to report that many of the dogs are thriving in their new lives as beloved pets.
Mona now lives with two loving pet parents in a spacious house overlooking 50 mountainside acres, where she takes frequent hikes with her new dog sister, Zelda. Her other favorite activities include snuggling with Zelda by the fireplace and lounging on the couch with her new pet parents.
Mona Lisa’s journey to adoption wasn’t easy. After her rescue, she was transferred to one of our partner shelters, The Animal Support Project, Inc. (TASP) in Cropseyville, New York.
“When Mona arrived at the shelter, she cried and whined like a hyena and was extremely anxious, usually sitting pitifully at the kennel door,” says Melinda Plasse of TASP. But after plenty of attention, care and time to recover, Mona made great progress. “She is outgoing,” Melinda reports, “loves belly rubs, and is kind as can be to children and other animals.”
When we picture Mona Lisa romping around in the woods with her new family, we can’t help but smile. We’re working to make sure that animals nationwide won’t continue to suffer due to the cruel practice of animal fighting. Last week, legislators reintroduced the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, which would make attending an organized animal fight a federal offense and would impose additional penalties for bringing a minor to an animal fight.
We’re proud to be partnering with one of the most exciting and innovative museums in our nation’s capital—the Crime Museum—to present the new exhibit “Dog Fighting: The Voiceless Victims.” This temporary exhibit offers an inside look at the tools dog fighters use to raise, train, fight and kill dogs who are victims of this blood sport.
The exhibit features artifacts and evidence seized by the ASPCA during dog fighting raids, including the largest dog fighting raid in U.S. history, carried out in 2009. The exhibit also demonstrates how ASPCA veterinary forensic experts combine state-of-the-art forensic sciences with veterinary medicine to discover how animals may have suffered or died.
“We want the public to see that dogs used in dog fighting are the victims of the crime, not instruments of the crime,” says Dr. Randall Lockwood, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Forensic Sciences and Anti-Cruelty Projects. “We want people to realize the brutality of dog fighting and see that it’s the greatest violation of the human-animal bond.”
“Dog Fighting: The Voiceless Victims” is on display in the Crime Museum through Labor Day. For more information, visit www.crimemuseum.org.
The ASPCA's Dr. Randall Lockwood helped curate the Crime Museum's dog fighting exhibit.
Sanchez, who harbored 50 dogs in a Bronx apartment building basement, was arrested in June and indicted in July on multiple charges related to animal fighting, aggravated cruelty to animals, and possession of a weapon. He faces one to three years in prison. If granted parole, Sanchez would be prohibited from owning animals during the length of his parole. He could also face deportation to his native Cuba after his sentence is served.
We’re working nonstop to combat the cruel practice of animal fighting nationwide, and we’re making progress. Earlier this week, legislators reintroduced the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, which would make it a federal offense to attend an organized animal fight and would impose additional penalties for bringing a minor to an animal fight.
Great news, animal advocates! Yesterday U.S. Reps. Tom Marino (R-PA), Jim McGovern (D-MA), John Campbell (R-CA) and Jim Moran (D-VA) reintroduced the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, an ASPCA-supported bill to strengthen our federal laws against animal fighting.
While it’s already a federal crime to actively participate in an animal fight, it’s the spectators who drive the enterprise and make it profitable. This bill would make it a federal offense to attend an organized animal fight and impose additional penalties for bringing a child to a fight.
The Senate passed this bill in the previous Congress, but even with over half the House in support, Congress was unable to pass a final bill. Reintroducing this bill in the early days of the new Congress gives us an opportunity to build on the momentum from the last Congress and help finally close the federal loophole for animal fighting spectators.
Ask your own House representative to support this important humane legislation! Visit the ASPCA Advocacy Center right now to quickly email your U.S. rep in Washington and urge him or her to cosponsor the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act.
Last week, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed three new laws that send a clear message to dog fighters: Bloodsports are not welcome in the Great Lakes State.
Animal fighting is a felony in Michigan, punishable by up to four years in prison and up to $50,000 in fines, and so is watching an animal fight. But these new laws crack down even further. Here’s how:
•SB 356 allows local authorities to seize homes and automobiles associated with animal fighting. •SB 358 adds animal fighting, shooting and baiting to the list of racketeering crimes. •HB 5789 gives law enforcement the ability to shut down any venue found to be associated with animal fighting and declare it a nuisance.
Dog fighting is widespread in parts of the state, and experts have identified regions of the state as national hotbeds for animal fighting. That’s why we’re so glad Michigan decided to arm its officials with these new legal tools.
“We thank Governor Snyder for signing these critical measures to improve upon the existing law, making Michigan one of the toughest states on animal fighting,” says Vicki Deisner, ASPCA State Director of Government Relations for the Midwest.
Way to go, Michiganders! We’re one step closer to ridding the U.S. of dog fighting for good. Ready to help? Visit the Advocacy Center.