Victory! Animal Fighting Bill Heads to President
Last night at 8:06 p.m., I watched history happen. The U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act.
The House of Representatives passed the same bill, H.R. 137, late last month by a vote of 368 to 39. What this means is that after an almost six-year battle, the struggle to enact meaningful federal penalties for animal fighting has passed its final congressional hurdle. The legislation now is headed to the desk of President Bush, who is expected to sign the measure into law. The new law will take effect immediately, and I can assure you that this is a dark and long-dreaded day in the dogfighting and cockfighting worlds.
I cannot tell you know grateful I am for the efforts of each of you who sent emails, made phone calls, wrote letters and visited your federal legislators on Capitol Hill and in their home districts. You kept the pressure on and your tireless efforts and support made the difference. The cockfighting lobby was organized, and its leaders poured hundreds of thousands of dollars to derail the legislation -- but we out-hustled them and we carried the day.
Nearly every week, there are reports of dog fighting and cockfighting crimes in the United States. It is a vast underground network of people who revel in seeing animals tear one another apart and gamble on the outcomes of the staged spectacles. Now federal law enforcement officials have the tools they need to uproot these underground animal fighting enterprises and put a halt to the the abhorrent cruelty inflicted on dogs, birds and other animals.
I hope this victory inspires you to keep working on behalf of public policies to protect animals. Animal fighting pits will be closing throughout the nation, and it is joyous day for animals. This victory reminds us to never to give up, and that there are rewards for compassionate action and perseverance. Please share this tremendous news with others and let them know that you had a part in making it happen.
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States