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Discussion Starter #1
Animal fighting is already a felony in Illinois, but these brutal, inhumane events still occur. This may be partially due to the fact that <u>attending</u> an animal fight in Illinois is merely a misdemeanor offense.

Sponsored by Rep. Bobby Molaro, Illinois House Bill 4857 will further deter animal fighting by increasing the penalty for <u>spectatorship</u> of animal fights to a felony. Several states have already enacted similar felony laws--we can help Illinois be next!

A Judicial Committee hearing on this bill is scheduled to occur this Thursday, April 3. Please visit the link supplied below; it will take you to the ASPCA Advocacy Center. The ASPCA has a form letter already written; it's very easy to send your message of support for this legislation to your state representative.

If you don't know your state representative, that's okay. All you need to do is fill in your name and address and the ASPCA will send it to the correct representative.

Here's the link:

https://secure2.convio.net/aspca/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=2357

If you live <u>in</u> Illinois, <u>please send an email urging your state representative to support HB 4857.</u>

If you live <u>outside</u> of Illinois, please contact the folks you know who live in Illinois and ask them to contact their state representative about supporting HB4857.

(If you <u>don't live in Illinois</u>, please <u>don't</u> bother sending an email to the Illinois state representatives. Like elected officials everywhere, they're interested in the opinions of <u>their constituents</u>!)

Thank you very much!
 

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Good luck.

Fighting is supposed to be illegal but the reality is it's really not - at least not here. People can do whatever they want with their dogs.
 

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You're exactly right, JanH; any law is only as good as its enforcement.

But it's gotta start somewhere, right? IMHO, we should really get the law <u>on the books</u>, so that it <u>can</u> be enforced.

Now, whether or not any law <u>is enforced</u> is a whole other topic, of course! But a law has to be passed, in order to make <u>any</u> harmful or wrongful activity illegal.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that we're still at the basic level at the moment: protecting dogs by making dog fighting illegal.

And animal-fighting itself is a felony offense here in Illinois.

But, as you alluded to, passing the law is still only step #1. <u>Enforcement</u> of the law can be very, very difficult.

That's why I think HB 4857 is a good piece of legislation. It broadens the Illinois anti-animal-fighting law to include not only those who set up the fight, but anyone who is a spectator at an animal fight. If this law is passed, it will make it a felony offense to even <u>attend</u> or <u>watch</u> a staged animal fight.

No matter if a person owns the animal, has a partial ownership of the animal, places a bet on the fight, or anything else--just <u>being there</u> will be a felony offense, if this law is passed.

This law especially hits home because I live in Chicago.

Why? Because dog fighting is at an epidemic level here in Chicago. Ask any Chicago police officer and he or she will tell you: never, ever leave your dog unattended in an unenclosed area--or even in an enclosed area, if the dog can be observed from the street. Never, ever tie your dog's leash to a tree or a post while you run inside a store to purchase something--<u>even if you can see your dog all the time</u>.

Dog thieves can run up to a tied-up dog, pull out a knife, slice the leash, throw the dog in the back of a waiting car or van, and be off with the dog in a matter of seconds. They are watching, they are waiting, and they are <u>fast</u>.

Some folks are <u>so</u> desperate for money, they'll try just about <u>anything</u>. Drug addiction, for example, seems to take away a person's reasoning capabilities, until they can no longer call their soul their own.

Well, I could go on forever, of course, but back to the issue at hand: I honestly think that HB 4857 is a good piece of legislation, and it's worth the time to for everyone in Illinois to tell their state legislator to support it.

(And if you don't live in Illinois, please contact the people you know who <u>do</u> live in Illinois, and ask them to support HB 4857.)

I'll get off my soap box now!
 
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