April 9, 2018

U.S. Senate Considers Bill to Cut Red Tape for Victims of Animal Fighting

puppies in a crate

On the heels of National Dogfighting Awareness Day (April 8), today U.S. Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the Help Extract Animals from Red Tape (HEART) Act in the U.S. Senate. This bill, which seeks to help the innocent victims of animal fighting, joins companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. Both the House and the Senate must pass the HEART Act in order for it to become law, so today’s introduction in the Senate is a huge step forward.

When the ASPCA assists law enforcement during dogfighting raids, we often find dogs—even puppies—tethered to heavy chains, living without food, water or proper shelter, and horrifically wounded and scarred. After medical attention and rehabilitation, many dogs rescued from these cruel situations can go on to enjoy happy lives in loving homes. But sadly, in many instances animals can suffer in limbo while the abusers’ court cases progress through an often slow-moving legal system.

The lengthy holding periods in federal animal fighting cases can result in debilitating stress and health problems for the animals involved, even when shelters provide high-quality care. Also, the astronomical cost of holding and caring for seized animals for long periods unnecessarily burdens animal protection groups and local shelters. These problems can discourage future animal fighting investigations, meaning fewer animals get saved.

The HEART Act (H.R. 398/S. 2633) seeks to address these issues by requiring the owners of animals seized in federal animal fighting cases to be responsible for the cost of their care. The bill will also expedite the processes to get these animals rehabilitated and adopted into safe and loving homes faster.

You can help gather support for this vital legislation! Contact your U.S. senators today and ask them to cosponsor the HEART Act to help save more animals from the cruelty of animal fighting.