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Michael Vick Asks Congress To Crack Down On Spectators At Animal Fights

Michael Vick Asks Congress To Crack Down On Spectators At Animal Fights

Michael Vick continued his anti-dogfighting message by addressing Congress this week, urging lawmakers to support H.R. 2492 which would increase penalties for people who knowingly attend animal fights and bring children to such events.

The bipartisan bill called the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act was introduced by Reps. Tom Marino, R-Pa., Betty Sutton, D-Ohio and Jim Moran, D-Va. Michael Vick and Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States spoke before Congress and held a Capitol Hill press conference.

Vick spent 21 months in prison for his role in an illegal dogfighting ring in 2007. Since his release, the NFL football player has been speaking against animal fighting to kids at churches and schools.

“Too many kids get involved in dogfighting, and it’s time to break this cycle. Animal fighting is a dead-end road for the young men, and there’s nothing but terrible outcomes for the dogs placed in a pit to fight,” Vick said in an HSUS interview.

Currently it is illegal in 49 states to attend an organized dogfight or cockfight, but only 28 of those states consider the offense to be a felony crime. The sponsors of H.R. 2492 say their bill will crackdown on penalties and close loopholes that are in present laws.

H.R. 2492 would impose up to a one year sentence in prison for spectators and up to three years in prison, plus fines for people who “bring or allow a minor to attend” such an event.

According to HSUS, “Spectators at animal fights don’t just accidentally happen upon a fight—they seek out the criminal activity at secret locations, often need passwords to enter, and pay hefty admission fees for the opportunity to watch and gamble on the fights.”

During the press conference Pacelle referred to those attending animal fights as “accomplices who enable the crime of animal fighting.”

He added, “Animal fighting is an inhumane and cruel activity involving the deliberate pitting of animals against each other to fight, often for lengthy contests that end in death, for the sole purpose of gambling and entertainment of spectators. Animals used for fighting are often drugged to heighten their aggression and forced to keep fighting even after they’ve suffered grievous injuries such as broken bones, deep gashes, punctured lungs, and pierced eyes. Young children are often brought to these events and exposed to the gruesome spectacle as acceptable entertainment.”

Rep. Marino said in an ESPN interview, “As a former state and federal prosecutor, I’ve seen first-hand the criminal culture that surrounds animal fighting events and the damaging influence this environment has on our children.”

“I introduced this legislation to make sure that law enforcement has all of the tools necessary to deprive the organizers and profiteers of these horrific events from receiving the support they need to continue this activity.”

Related Stories: Pennsylvania Officials Bust Huge Dogfighting Ring

Dog Fighting Game Back Up

Photo from audreyjm529 via flickr.

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134 comments

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4:23PM PDT on Sep 28, 2011

Regardless of his motives, he's using time and money that he has that many of us(who actually care) don't, and that's a good thing. Does his hypocrisy make me all warm and fuzzy inside? Nnnnno. Nor would I ever want to leave my four-footed wacky best friend and forever companion within a fifty-mile radius of the scumbag....or any other doggie for that matter, but hey, like I said, he's got the money, and apparently some hefty incentive, and as many people here have pointed out, he's probably got some handy little nuggets of info on how the whole.....thing...works for the police.

10:16PM PDT on Jul 29, 2011

Hmm, why don't I trust Michael Vick?

2:06PM PDT on Jul 27, 2011

Like Michael Vick really cares- but if his presence will get some star-struck legislator to pay attention, then at least something good will come out of it.

5:20AM PDT on Jul 26, 2011

interesting article, thanks for sharing :)

2:03PM PDT on Jul 25, 2011

Sincere? Just doing it to clean up his image? Don't know and don't care!!!!! If he is doing some good then FINE!!! If the laws can get stronger with heavier penalties, not only for the trainers and dog fighters but ALSO those who even ATTEND dog fights, then that's GREAT!!! And if this causes less people to attend the fights, less jerks bringing their kids to fights or involving their kids, then there will be less money to be made for the dog fighting rings and less reason to do it. Doing dog fighting is expensive and risky, and if less folks show up to watch then the "purse" for the winner's owners is less. People involved, in any way, are sick b*stards who dont' care about the dogs but if it longer prison sentences and less profit to motivate them to stop then okay.
Plus the more we can eradicate dog fighting the greater the chances of also eradicating breed specific bans and people being afraid of adopting certain breeds from shelters.

1:38PM PDT on Jul 25, 2011

Why does Congress need Michael Vick to tell them that dog fighting
or cock fighting is wrong. They certainly should be aware of it without any testimony. Another waste of tax payer's money and their time.

Michael Vick is a great example of "Don't do what I do, do what I tell you." If he was really sincere he would put his money where his mouth is without any publicity. All he is doing is trying to rehabiiitate his image to get more money for licenciing his name
and staying in football.

He should have been banned from professional football no matter how good a player he is. He is no role model for children or anyone else. What he personally did to his dogs was reprehensible.

6:09AM PDT on Jul 25, 2011

Michael Vick is doing what his parole requires him to do. The man is despicable but hey, he can play football so let's reward him for what he did by giving him a football contract. I don't think he is sincere. I think he is sincerely sorry he got caught. He can provide useful information to the government from an insider's point of view so regardless of his motives, I think there is some benefit to that much of it.

8:02PM PDT on Jul 24, 2011

Don't crack down on them, just shoot the gutless bastards. We at least, finally, have someone talking from the inside, about what goes on in their little minds and little worlds.

6:59PM PDT on Jul 23, 2011

I agree with Bill K., Elena B., and Jeramie D., in that sometimes there is no one better to fight for a cause than a person who was involved up to their eyeballs...ie; ex-gang members trying to get current gang members out. Who are they more likely to listen to, the former leader of a a gang or the police and politicians?

Is Michael Vick sincere? I'd like to think so, but will reserve judgement for now, because time will tell.

And Steven B., I couldn't agree more--he should put a lot more of his money where his mouth is to help stop the dirty, ugly 'business' of dog fighting and the spectators who pay to watch.

9:06AM PDT on Jul 23, 2011

Often it's the ex abusers whether slave traders, KKK leaders, circus animal trainers etc. who make the best spokespeople and get the most attention to further a cause.

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