Target: Mark Blasdel, Speaker of the House, Montana House of Representatives
Goal: Penalize dogfighting spectators in the state of Montana
Montana is one of only two states in the US where spectating at a dog fight is legal. The other is Hawaii. Last week, the Montana House of Representatives tabled a bill that would make watching a dog fight, or any animal fight, illegal in the state. The bill had several diverse supporters who attended the hearing, including veterinarians, animal control officers, police officers, animal rights advocates, attorneys, and Girl Scouts.
Fighting dogs are often scarred, wounded, or killed in matches, or directly afterward if they lose. The American Pit Bull Terrier is the dogfighting breed of choice in the US, leading to prejudice against the breed in communities throughout the country. The unfair treatment of fighting animals from a very young age has caused some cities to ban Pit Bulls in general, even as family pets, and euthanize all strays. Lovers of the breed, who praise the animal’s devotion as a pet, are especially angered by loose or absent dogfighting laws.
In 48 other US states, dogfighting spectators receive criminal penalties, and 29 states punish spectators with felony charges. Dogfighting throughout the US is most often sponsored by underground gambling rings, illegal and often violent in and of themselves. For all these reasons, we must insist that Montana lawmakers pass House Bill 279 to penalize dogfighting spectators.
Dear Mr. Blasdel,
Spectating at dogfighting matches in the US is illegal in 48 states. However, Montana lags behind the rest in creating and enforcing legislation that penalizes dogfighting spectators. These spectators are usually involved in violent underground gambling rings that are linked to other illicit activities, such as drug and weapon trafficking.
Recently, the Montana House of Representatives had the opportunity to pass House Bill 279 to punish dogfighting spectators. However, by tabling the bill, animal fights are allowed to continue throughout the state.
Fighting dogs, usually American Pit Bull Terriers, are often gravely wounded during dog fights and killed afterward if they happen to lose a match. These dogs are not inherently violent, but are abused from a very young age to make them vicious in the fighting ring. Dog lovers, animal rights advocates, vetrinarians, and peace officers alike want dogfighting to come to an end. Constituents throughout Montana, and citizens throughout the US, implore you to pass House Bill 279 and penalize dogfighting spectators.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Animal Farm Foundation2012 via flickr