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May 15, 2009

Illinois General Assembly Cracks Down on Animal Fighting

The HSUS Urges Gov. Quinn to Sign H.B. 69

The Humane Society of the United States

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — On behalf of its more than 445,000 supporters in Illinois, The Humane Society of the United States commends the General Assembly for passing H.B. 69, a bill to crack down on animal fighting spectators. The bill passed the state Senate Friday by a unanimous vote.

"People who pay to watch two animals maul each other to death fuel this criminal industry with their admission fees and gambling wagers," said Jordan Matyas, Illinois state director for The Humane Society of the United States. "We thank Representative Marlow Colvin and Senator Jacqueline Collins for introducing legislation to crack down on the entire cast of characters involved in animal fighting."

While dogfighting and cockfighting are felonies in Illinois, at this point attending an animal fight is only a misdemeanor. Once Gov. Pat Quinn signs H.B. 69 into law, being a spectator at a dogfight or a cockfight will be a felony, punishable by a maximum fine of $25,000 and/or one to three years of imprisonment.

Facts

  • Under current law, dogfighters or cockfighters participating in an animal fight often claim they were only present at an animal fight as spectators, thereby avoiding any meaningful punishment.
  • Spectators who attend animal fights do not stumble upon them accidentally. These criminal activities take place at clandestine locations, often requiring a password and fee for entrance.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

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