June 6, 2011
The HSUS Applauds Passage of Alabama Dogfighting Bill, Urges Governor Bentley To Sign Into Law
The Humane Society of the United States commends the Alabama Legislature for passing HB115, sponsored by Rep. Jamie Ison, R – Mobile, to strengthen Alabama’s current laws to combat illegal dogfighting. This bill strengthens the anti-dogfighting statute by providing a mechanism to relieve the financial burden on agencies that house dogs seized in dogfighting cases. The new law would allow a judge to require the owner of seized dogs to post bond for the cost of their care, and provides for the surrender of the dogs to animal care agencies if payment is not posted.
“The passage of HB115 brings us closer to stopping this cruel bloodsport where dogs are forced to fight to the death,” said Mindy Gilbert, Alabama state director for The HSUS. “The HSUS remains committed to working closely with local shelters and urges Governor Bentley to sign this new law that will relieve the financial burden many of them face when taking in dogs rescued from dogfighting.”
Sen. Vivien Figures, D – Mobile, sponsored SB 194, the Senate counterpart to HB 115, which already passed the Senate with a 28-0 vote. The bill was also endorsed by the Alabama Animal Control Association and the Alabama Humane Federation.
“Dogfigting is horrible activity and puts our communities in danger,” said Conan Devine, president of the Alabama Animal Control Association. “Thanks to the legislature, we’ll be better able to prosecute these crimes.”
“This law is a good thing for the animals in our state and the shelters that house them,” said Jessica Marable, vice president of Alabama Humane Federation and executive director of Lee County Humane Society.
In 2009, the HSUS assisted officials from the 5th Judicial District in two alleged dogfighting cases in Randolph County. A total of 46 dogs were seized and The HSUS paid to house them in a separate jurisdiction.
In 2010, The Montgomery Humane Society spent an excess of $200,000 to house dogs seized in dogfighting cases and this new legislation will help relieve local shelters of these exorbitant costs. Often, the cost of caring for the animals seized in these cases prevents local authorities from pursuing dogfighting charges. This new law will assist law enforcement and housing agencies in cracking down on this cruel crime.
- Dogfighting and being a spectator at a dogfight is a felony in Alabama.
- The HSUS offers rewards of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person involved in illegal animal fighting. Anyone with information about animal fighting criminals is asked to call 877-TIP-HSUS (877-847-4787). Tipsters' identities are protected.
- The HSUS' policy is that dogs seized in raids be evaluated for adoption suitability.
- The HSUS estimates that 40,000 people follow organized dogfighting circuits across the U.S. while an additional 100,000 meet on neighborhood streets, alleys and hideaways.
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The Humane Societf 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.