Michael Markarian: Rep. McGovern helps crack down on illegal animal fights

Last modified: Friday, February 07, 2014
To the editor:

The Humane Society of the United States expresses its thanks and congratulations to U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern for sponsoring a successful amendment to the farm bill to crack down on illegal dogfighting and cockfighting. McGovern’s amendment makes it a federal crime to attend or bring a child under the age of 16 to an animal fight.

The spectator admission fees and gambling dollars finance these criminal operations and make dogfighting and cockfighting profitable. Each time two more animals are placed in the pit, the spectators start shouting out bets, gambling on which animal will kill the other. Even worse, at the first sign of a raid, many will abandon their animals and blend into the crowd, claiming to be spectators as a way to avoid prosecution.

With McGovern’s provision now enacted, it will fortify the federal law against organized and barbaric dogfighting and cockfighting rings, and help law enforcement crack down on the entire cast of characters involved in animal fighting. It’s no wonder that more than 300 law enforcement agencies from across the country support this bill to quash illegal dogfighting and cockfighting, and forbid adults from bringing children to these spectacles of violence.

Animal welfare supporters are grateful to McGovern for fighting against animal cruelty and standing up for the values of kindness and compassion.

Michael Markarian

Washington, D.C.

The writer is chief program and policy officer with the Humane Society of the United States.