A bipartisan group of senators on Friday urged Capitol Hill lawmakers who are crafting a final farm bill to include language that would make it a crime to attend an animal fight or bring a child to one.
Twelve Democrats, four Republicans and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont signed a letter to Senate members of the farm bill conference committee that highlights past support for anti-animal fighting measures from both parties.
They also cited a multi-state raid in August, in which federal agents rescued 367 dogs from animal fighting rings and seized proceeds from related gambling, as proof the problem persists in the United States.
“When active animal fighting operations are raided, it is a common practice for the organizers, promoters, and animal owners to blend into the crowd in order to shield themselves from law enforcement,” they wrote. “Though many states have enacted legislation to make attendance at an animal fight a criminal offense, local and state law enforcement still need a federal statute to appropriately prosecute these individuals and help end these criminal operations for good.”
They said language in the Senate’s version of the farm bill matches that of a standalone bill with 24 co-sponsors in the Senate and 205 supporters in the House.