ATLANTA — Gov. Sonny Perdue signed House Bill 301, making dogfighting a felony in Georgia.
“I am pleased today to make it clear that dogfighting is an activity that we will not tolerate here in Georgia,” said Gov. Sonny Perdue. “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 purpose of dogfighting. In addition, 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.
State Rep. Bobby Reese sponsored HB 301.
“This is a big step in closing a legal loophole in Georgia, and I hope this deters future violence against dogs,” Rep. Reese said.
Gov. Perdue and Rep. Reese were joined at the Capitol for the bill signing ceremony by State Sen. Chip Rogers, State Rep. David Knight, State Rep. Rich Golick, K-9 law enforcement teams from Cobb County and representatives from animal rights group such as the Georgia Canine Coalition and outdoors groups such as the Georgia Wildlife Federation.
“The signing of Georgia’s new dogfighting law sends a loud message to those who would torture man’s best friend for their own sick enjoyment,” Sen. Rogers added. “Dogfighting will be prosecuted and those taking part in this heinous act can expect to go to jail. No longer will Georgia be a haven for these depraved dogfighters.”
In the past, the Humane Society of the United States has 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.