Today, Rep. John Campbell (R-CA), along with Reps. Tom Marino (R-PA), James McGovern (D-MA) and Jim Moran (D-VA), introduced H.R. 366, The Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act. This bill would apply federal criminal penalties to any individual who knowingly attends or knowingly brings a minor to an animal fighting event.
Previous Congresses and state legislatures have acted to tighten prohibitions on activities related to animal fighting. However, the act of attending one of these cruel and inhumane fights remains a critical part of the problem that has not yet been fully addressed. H.R. 366, The Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, would work in tandem with others that ban the practice of fighting and killing animals for sport and illicit gambling. Proposed penalties include up to one year in prison and fines for attending an animal fight, as well as up to three years in prison and fines for facilitating the attendance of a minor
"The first step toward eliminating the cruel and heinous practice of animal fighting is to ensure that those who seek to perpetrate this brutality have no audience and support structure," stated Rep. Campbell upon the bill's introduction. "Criminalizing the act of attending an animal fight not only removes incentives for the organizers, it severely restricts the illicit profit that these fights generate. This legislation is an imperative part of eradicating animal fighting completely."
"As a former state and federal prosecutor, I've seen first-hand the criminal culture that surrounds animal fighting events and the damaging influence this environment has on our children," said Rep. Marino. "It is an honor to join with several of my colleagues, in a bipartisan manner, to make sure that law enforcement has all of the tools necessary to deprive the organizers and profiteers of these horrific events from receiving the support they need to continue this activity. I look forward to building on the momentum we gained during the last Congress and seeing that this important legislation is signed into law."
"I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill to end the scourge of animal fighting," Rep. McGovern said. "We must give our law enforcement officials the tools they need to bring those responsible for animal fighting to justice."
"Nothing is more intentionally cruel than animal fighting," Rep. Moran said. "Critical to this illicit industry are spectators who pay significant admission fees and gamble on the outcome of the contests. By outlawing spectators at animal fights, this legislation will cut off the revenue stream that allows this vile activity to thrive."
H.R. 366 enjoys strong bipartisan support in Congress and has been endorsed by both animal welfare groups and over 300 law enforcement organizations.