|Posted:||December 7, 2020 12:06 PM|
|From:||Representative Nick Pisciottano|
|To:||All House members|
Each year, numerous animals are forced to fight for their lives as a form of sadistic entertainment. This unlawful activity frequently occurs adjacent to other crimes including illegal gambling, organized crime, gang activity, drugs, and illegal weapons. The profits from animal fighting can be used to fund other illegal enterprises. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), there are tens of thousands of dog fighters in the U.S. today forcing hundreds of thousands of dogs to suffer each year. Dogs are common in animal fights, but other animals can also be exploited in the same way.
Given animal fighting’s close proximity to other illegal activity, I will be introducing legislation that adds animal fighting to the state’s racketeering provisions, which already include insurance fraud, bribery, kidnapping, theft, and bookmaking. This change will allow the state to better address the pattern of illegal activities surrounding animal fighting by providing added tools to prosecutors who target these offenses, both on the county and state level, including longer penalties and higher fines. Currently, Illinois, Virginia, New Jersey, Texas, Delaware, Florida, Michigan, Oregon, Utah, and Virginia have language that includes animal fighting in their racketeering provisions. It is my hope that we can join them with this bill, which will result in enhanced investigations and enforcement, and increase the prosecution of organized animal fighting throughout the Commonwealth.
Similar legislation passed the House unanimously in 2017. The trauma and harm done to animals involved in animal fighting is immeasurable. Please join me in condemning this inhumane practice and providing law enforcement the tools to end this barbaric activity in Pennsylvania.
Introduced as HB775