Target: California State Legislature
Goal: Make it a Felony to be a Dogfight Spectator in California
Currently California is one of 14 states that has a loophole in its dogfighting laws, making it only a misdemeanor to be a spectator at a dogfight. While California State Law 597.5 rules both dogfighting and possession of dogs for fighting as felonies, the loophole of a misdemeanor in lieu of a felony for being a spectator at a dogfight significantly weakens the effectiveness of the California state laws to outlaw all traces of dogfighting. If there’s an audience, there’s a market.
While larger-scale dogfights have been on the decline in recent years, partly because of the extraordinary efforts by the Humane Society of the United States, “street dogfighting” is on the rise in urban areas, including urban areas in California. Impromptu back alley or basement dogfights may break out as a way for one person, or group, to show his or their status over the other.
As for the dogs, there are no winners in dogfighting. They might fight to the death, or be killed by the owner because they lost, or might have “won” the match but die later from their wounds. Fighting dogs are bred to be the way they are and therefore their living conditions are often isolated, either being tethered by chains or locked in cages.
Join the HSUS in combating all dogfighting by petitioning your California state representative and telling them to do away with the state dogfighting law loophole to show that California truly is against any and all forms of the act, whether the accused is an active participant or a spectator.
Dear Sen. Kehoe and Rep. Fletcher,
I urge the State of California to tighten up its policy on dogfighting by making it a felony, not just a misdemeanor, to be a spectator at a dogfight. While the state law defines dogfighting and possession of dogs for fighting as felonies, the loophole of a misdemeanor in lieu of a felony for being a spectator at a dogfight significantly weakens the effectiveness of the California state laws to outlaw all traces of dogfighting.
I am very concerned about the rise in “streetfighting” with dogs in urban areas and believe stricter state laws will help to combat the issue.
As a result, I strongly request that you urge your fellow lawmakers to upgrade California state dogfighting laws to show that we are one of the 19 states that has a no-tolerance stance on dogfighting.
[Your Name Will Go Here]