Humane Society says proposed dogfighting bill needed - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Humane Society says proposed dogfighting bill needed

January 10, 2007

Albany-- Dogfighting is again the target of legislation at the state capitol.

Senator Chip Rogers has introduced a bill that would make it a felony to fight dogs, or train dogs for fighting, closing loopholes in Georgia's current law.

One look at one  dog at the Albany Humane Society proves that dogfighting continues around South Georgia. Her face and legs are scarred from fights, her ears infected and bloody where they were cut off to ready her to fight.

Albany Humane Society Donna Strickland said "they clip the ears really short. And that's so that they don't get hung up, and another animal can't grab them. "

The three year old female wandered to a house on Eight Mile Road last week, and now is at the Albany Humane Society. Strickland say she has not doubt she has been used for fighting.

Strickland said "we see them everyday. It is not uncommon in our area to find dogs like that."

The Humane Society says Georgia's dogfighting law is one of the weakest in the nation. Only people caught in the act can be charged, and then only with a misdemeanor.

A new bill introduced by Senator Chip Rogers would make it a felony to own, breed, or train dogs for fighting. It would make it a misdemeanor to be a spectator at a dogfight. But a similar bill introduced last year died in the House with opposition.

Strickland says dogfighting remains a big business in South Georgia. The bulletin board at their office has several posters offering rewards for stolen pit bulls. Strickland suspects most were stolen and used to train dogs to fight.

The proposed bill would close loopholes in the current law, and increase the penalities, but Strickland says it will be tough to stop dogfighting.

Strickland said "the biggest thing is going to be enforcement. It's going to be hard to enforce."

This dog was docile today, but Strickland says she could attack at anytime. Because she is dangerous, she will be euthanized.  Another animal killed because of dogfighting. 

If the new bill becomes law, a person convicted of dogfighting could be fined $5000 and face a prison sentence between one and ten years.

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