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May 22, 2009

Nevada Legislature Cracks Down on Dogfighting

The HSUS Urges Gov. Gibbons to Sign A.B. 199 Into Law

The Humane Society of the United States

Update: On May 26, Gov. Jim Gibbons signed A.B. 199 into law, making Nevada the 50th state to ban the possession, keeping or training of dogs for fighting.

CARSON CITY, Nev. — On behalf of its more than 89,000 supporters in Nevada, The Humane Society of the United States commends the state Legislature for passing A.B. 199, a bill to crack down on animal fighting by prohibiting the possession, keeping or training of animals for fighting. The bill passed both the Assembly and the Senate unanimously, and had strong support from law enforcement and animal welfare groups.

"Nevada has been isolated as the only state in the country that does not currently ban the possession of dogs to be used for fighting," said John Goodwin, manager of animal fighting issues for The Humane Society of the United States. "This bill will give Nevada law enforcement agencies a new tool to help crack down on the hideously cruel dogfighting underworld."

While dogfighting and cockfighting are felonies in Nevada, possessing an animal with the intention to fight them is legal. This loophole has made it easier for dogfighters to elude arrest and prosecution. If Gov. Jim Gibbons signs A.B. 199 into law, possessing or selling a dog for fighting will be punishable as a gross misdemeanor on the first offense, class E felony on second and class D felony on a third offense. In Nevada, a gross misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and/or up to one year of incarceration.

The U.S. Congress recently upgraded the federal law to combat dogfighting and cockfighting by passing the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act, led by Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., the only veterinarian currently serving in the U.S. Senate.

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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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