ATLANTA — Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue has signed legislation making dogfighting a felony in the state.
“I am pleased today to make it clear that dogfighting is an activity that we will not tolerate here in Georgia,” Perdue said in signing House Bill 301. “This legislation makes the crime of dogfighting the felony it deserves to be, while ensuring that we do not confuse these illegal activities with those who are lawfully training dogs for hunting, agricultural and law enforcement purposes.”
The new legislation enacts tough penalties for any person convicted of activities related to dogfighting: owning, possessing, transporting or selling any dog with intent to do so for the purposes of dogfighting. Also, the law covers those who bet on or advertise and promote events that include dogfights.
It also makes attending a dogfighting event a misdemeanor of a “high and aggravated nature.”
“This is a big step in closing a legal loophole in Georgia, and I hope this deters future violence against dogs,” said State Rep. Bobby Reese said, the bill’s sponsor.
In the past, the Humane Society of the United States ranked Georgia 49th in the nation because of a lack of laws against owning dogs for fighting and not having a law that makes it illegal to be a dogfighting spectator.