In a Nod to Valentine’s Day, U.S. Lawmakers Reintroduce the HEART Act

February 14, 2019

a puppy

The ASPCA is committed to ending the vicious cruelty of dogfighting, and we are proud to assist law enforcement in rescuing victims of this horrible crime. Unfortunately, the rescue is often just the start of a long journey—involving months-long stays in shelters—before these animals may be placed up for adoption. 

Since the animals are considered “evidence”—much like a stolen car, or a bag of money—they can’t be rehomed until the court cases finish. But unlike a car or other property, animals must be taken care of in the meantime. Even with high-quality shelter care, this drawn-out waiting period often causes extreme stress and behavioral problems to develop. Additionally, caring for and holding seized animals for long periods of time is expensive. The costs can keep shelters from assisting in future investigations, which means fewer animals saved.

Luckily, the Help Extract Animals from Red Tape (HEART) Act, S. 513/H.R. 1228, will help cut through the red tape for victims of animal fighting. The HEART Act, bipartisan legislation introduced today in the U.S. Senate by Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Susan Collins (R-ME), and in the U.S. House by Reps. Judy Chu (D-CA) and John Katko (R-NY), will speed up the court process that allows seized dogs to be rehabilitated and rehomed.

“Dogfighting is a brutal ‘blood sport’ in which innocent animals are forced to train, fight and suffer for the entertainment and profit of spectators,” says Richard Patch, ASPCA Vice President of Federal Affairs. “These animals have suffered enough at the hands of their abusers, and the red tape of the federal forfeiture system should not be a barrier to their adoption. We are grateful to Senators Harris and Collins and Representatives Chu and Katko for championing the HEART Act to streamline the process to give these victims of cruelty the chance they deserve to find safe and loving homes.”

We need your help to combat animal fighting and give victims second chances:  Please visit the ASPCA Advocacy Center today to urge your members of Congress to cosponsor and support the HEART Act.