Target: Florida Representative Jared Moskowitz
Goal: Pass a bill into law that would drastically increase penalties for animal cruelty in Florida
House Legislators in Florida have proposed a bill that would increase the penalties for animal cruelty, especially dog fighting. They are also hoping the bill will help crack down on other criminal activity. Not only is dog fighting more prevalent in Florida than most other states, it is also more often a front for narcotics, gangs, violence, and other crimes. Passing this bill into law could have significant consequences for both humans and animals.
House Bill 851 would allow someone to be charged with one count of animal cruelty for every animal that is abused. The laws in most states currently restrict law enforcement from charging an offender with more than one count no matter how many animals are involved. As a result, they are set free with nothing more than a small fine, but HB 851 would send many more abusers to prison and help shut down dog fighting operations.
The Humane Society and local law enforcement are hoping this is just the beginning. They would like to see a law that would allow arrests for possession of animal-fighting paraphernalia because of how dangerous making an arrest during the act can be. It’s one of the reasons dog fighting has been able to proliferate in Florida. Gang involvement greatly increases the risk involved in making an arrest. Kate MacFall of the Humane Society made a statement saying, “Its very difficult and dangerous for law enforcement to catch them in the act of fighting animals. In fact, in south Florida, law enforcement, they don’t even dream of going and doing a bust without a SWAT team.”
Please take a moment to sign the petition below to help put an end to dog fighting in Florida and also ensure that those who abuse animals are held accountable for their crimes.
Dear Representative Moskowitz,
You recently sponsored House Bill 251, which would increase penalties for animal cruelty by charging the accused with one count for every act of abuse. Not only would this result in more prison sentences for the crime, it would also put a major dent in dog fighting operations and subsequently impact narcotics trafficking and gang violence.
Thank you so much for your commitment to protecting the animals of Florida. Your state has some of the highest concentrations of dog fighting operations in the country and a law this strong would be a big step in the right direction.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Simon, Davey, Birds etc via Flickr