Law could increase dog fighting penalties

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Rep. Nick Bain

An amendment in the state Capitol could strengthen the state’s dog fighting law.

Senate Bill 2934 passed out of both the House and the Senate recently and is headed to the governor for possible approval or veto. The amendment will add new penalties to the dog fighting law already in place in Mississippi.

If 2934 becomes law, the bill would increase penalties for any person who owns, possesses, buys, sells, transfers or manufactures paraphernalia for the purpose of dog fighting. Banned items would include breaking sticks, cat mills, treadmills, fighting pits, spring poles, unprescribed veterinary medicine or treatment supplies.

The bill sets the maximum penalty for dog fighting at a fine of $10,000 or 10 years in the state penitentiary. If the governor signs the bill, it would become law on July 1.

“This revision allows penalties or jail time to be imposed for anyone who not only participates in dog fighting, but also those who are found in possession of equipment needed for the activity,” said Rep. Nick Bain (D-Alcorn). “Mississippi can never have too many strong domestic animal cruelty laws.”

Bain is among the area’s five lawmakers who showed the amendment support. Rep. Lester “Bubba” Carpenter (R-Alcorn, Tishomingo), Rep. Tracy Arnold (Alcorn, Prentiss), Rep. Jody Steverson (R-Alcorn, Tippah) and Sen. Rita Potts Parks (R-Alcorn, Tippah, Tishomingo) all voted for the legislation.

The law already prohibits dog fighting in the state including to sponsor, promote, stage or conduct a fight or fighting between dogs.

Wagering or betting on dog fighting is also against the law. Both can carry the maximum penalty of fines up to $10,000 or 10 years in jail.

Spectators at dog fighting events in Mississippi can also be arrested and fined up to $5,000.

(This story by Zack Steen originally appeared in the Daily Corinthian and appears here with permission.)