Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Dog, cockfighting in Mich. now get big fines, prison time

DETROIT — Michigan has enacted what one lawmaker calls the toughest laws in the country prohibiting dogfighting and cockfighting.

As of this month, dogfighting and cockfighting in the state can be prosecuted as a criminal enterprise, much like large drug and prostitution operations, with penalties of up to 20 years in prison and fines of $100,000.

The new law is part of the state Legislature's crackdown on blood sports. Gov. Rick Snyder signed the bill and two others into law Dec. 12. They became effective immediately.

Vicki Deisner of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said the package sets a national standard.

"Michigan is out ahead on this one," said Deisner, that ASPCA's state director for the Midwest.

The new laws also allow police to seize homes and vehicles associated with animal fighting; shut down any venue associated with animal fighting and declare it a nuisance; and add animal fighting, shooting and baiting to the list of racketeering crimes.

State Sen. Rick Jones, a Republican from Grand Ledge, Mich., and one of the sponsors of the legislation, said the bills send the message that "Michigan is not a good place to bring dogfighting: 20 years in prison, $100,000 fine, lose your house, your barn, your property, cars, anything involved with this crime.

"It's sweeping legislation that has been noticed nationwide as a real example of getting tough on a terrible blood sport."

Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon said it is a "welcome punishment for those who are caught ... if you're going to profit from this, we're going to take your profit from you."


Read on: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/12/31/dogfighting-cockfighting-laws-michigan/1800745/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+UsatodaycomNation-TopStories+%28News+-+Nation+-+Top+Stories%29

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