Help Strengthen Michigan's Animal Fighting LawsPosted by Stephan Otto, ALDF's Director of Legislative Affairs on October 8th, 2010
Please contact Senator Wayne Kuipers (Chair) and the other Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and ask them to pass HB 5655, 5656 & 5668.
These three bills would give law enforcement new legal tools to help combat the growing scourge of animal fighting.
HB 5655 allows real estate and personal property used in animal fighting to be forfeited.
HB 5656 adds organized animal fighting to the list of crimes prosecutable under Michigan’s criminal enterprises law. This law—a collection of powerful tools that prosecutors can use to combat organized criminal operations—is commonly used to address a wide variety of organized criminal efforts, including drug dealing, gambling, and trading in child pornography. Given the power to utilize the racketeering law in an animal fighting operation, prosecutors would have increased muscle in seeking justice for the animals abused, or even killed by their owners.
HB 5668 permits buildings used for animal fighting to be declared a public nuisance and sold.
Animal fighting is a growing problem not only in Michigan, but across the nation, and is fast becoming a country-wide epidemic. The vast majority of animal fighting cases are discovered as a collateral matter to some other type of criminal investigation, be it a drug case, a gambling investigation or simply in response to a 911 dispatch to a domestic disturbance. The new laws in these bills would give law enforcement and prosecutors additional means, and strong incentives, to start directly targeting organized animal fighting rings. It would also send a very powerful message to the animal fighting community that the stakes just got substantially higher.
These bills contain key tools for combating organized animal fighting rings – enterprises that are highly organized and guarded, and extremely difficult for law enforcement to penetrate.
Michigan’s House of Representatives passed the measures by an almost unanimous vote in March. It is now time for the Senate to follow suit and pass these important crime-fighting bills.
Contact members of the Senate Judiciary Committee today and ask them to pass HB 5655, 5656 & 5668!
Senator Wayne Kuipers (Chair)
Senator Alan L. Cropsey (Vice Chair)
Senator Alan Sanborn
Senator Bruce Patterson
Senator Tony Stamas
Senator Gretchen Whitmer (Minority Vice Chair)
Senator Hansen Clarke
Senator Raymond E. Basham
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