Now, perhaps, these dogs’ owners and those who cheer on the illegal bloodsport will feel a little fear themselves.
Three bills that have met with approval in the Michigan Legislature will make the state the toughest in the nation on these criminals. The legislation would give law enforcement some teeth when cracking down on dog-fighting organizers and venues.
Under the new statute, if signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, such criminal behavior could result in racketeering (RICO) charges on top of other animal cruelty charges. This means that these folks, if convicted, could rightfully go away to prison for a long, long time and pay larger fines.
The legislation would also allow authorities to seize the property of a person convicted of being involved in animal fighting. The place where the dog fighting takes place could also be declared a nuisance, allowing authorities to padlock the property.
This kind of illegal and monstrous behavior happens everywhere in the state. There are some particular hotbeds of dog fighting — in Detroit, Flint and Kalamazoo, to name a few — but we have little doubt that it happens closer to home as well.
The laws as written before lacked sufficient penalties to dissuade such activities.
The Michigan Humane Society, American Humane Society and Animal Law Section of the Michigan State Bar all support these measures.
The Tribune stands with them and against anyone who would mistreat animals for material gain.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.