The Senate has unanimously approved a bill aimed at outlawing dog fighting, and if approved will make it a crime to participate in dog fights and could also mix into New Jerseys RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) anti racketeering laws that could increase the penalties if charged.
New Jersey has made the news after several high profile dog fighting arrests and charges have been laid for animal cruelty, dog fighting and killing animals.
If the bill is passed and people are charged with a dog fighting offence, the court could seize all dogs on the property associated and used for fighting, along with any property that is related to the crime. The bill would also demand restitution from those convicted of the crimes to pay for food, shelter and any vet care needed by the animals, along with a life time ban on owning animals.
This bill cannot come soon enough after authorities recently uncovered dog fighting rings in Elizabeth and Paterson, where animals mostly pit bulls were being abused. In one particular dog ring operation several puppies were found, along with a tread mill which was being used to build endurance in the dogs.
Dog fighting has been around since Roman Times, where spectators would cheer on the blood sport in the Colosseum. In the United States dog fighting can be traced back to the 1750’s, but became popular in 1817 when a Staffordshire Bull Terrier was introduced to America.
The sport has two dogs thrown into a pit, fighting against each other until one dog wins, often ending with death to one of the dogs. It is a sport filled with abuse, neglect and sadness. Dog fighting is banned in several countries around the world, and unfortunately is still legal in Japan, Honduras and some part of Russia.