Following the arrest of a Pennsylvania couple accused of running a dog-fighting operation out of their home congressmen in that state are renewing the fight for tougher federal laws against dog fighting.
U.S. Representative Jim Gerlach and U.S. Representative Pat Meehan are co-sponsoring a bill named the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act. The bill would make attending an organized animal fight a federal offense. The bill also would increase the penalties for brining minors to organized animal fights.
The bill was passed in the Senate earlier this month and is now pending before the House Agriculture committee. With the recent arrest of Shane Santiago and Laura Acampora, who are facing 30 counts of animal cruelty for the dog fighting ring the ran out of their home they shared with their five children. Six dogs were rescued from their home and are being cared for by the Chester County SPCA.
Time is crucial for this bill. The bill has a lot of bipartisan support but if action isn’t taken before the end of the year the bill would have to be reintroduced next year. Two years of legislative work would start over.
Representative Pat Meehan of Pennsylvania is also a strong supporter of the bill. Meehan and Marino see the recent arrest in their home state is further proof of the need to pass this legislation. “As former prosecutors we know how crucial it is for law enforcement to have all of the tools necessary to deprive the organizers of these horrific events from receiving the financial rewards they need to continue the criminal enterprises,” Meehan and Marion said in a joint statement. “With passage of this bill we can give federal prosecutors more ability to crack down on animal fighting and the criminal culture that typically surrounds animal fighting events.”