MAYWOOD – July 17, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a bill into law to further deter individuals from participating in dog fighting activities by imposing harsher criminal penalties for dog fighting offenses. The new law will help protect dogs from serious injury or death resulting from dog fighting and protect children from being exposed to the inhumane and violent practice.
“There is never a reason to torture an animal, especially for entertainment or monetary gain,” said Governor Quinn. “This new law will further deter people from getting involved with dog fighting and hastily injuring or killing innocent animals, especially where children are present.”
House Bill 5790, Sponsored by Rep. Karen Yarbrough (D-Broadview) and Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Westchester), amends the Criminal Code of 1961 to impose greater penalties to individuals found guilty of dog fighting violations.
Under the new law, the penalty will become more severe for a person found guilty of bringing a child under 13 years to a dog fighting show or related activity to become a Class 3 felony for the first violation and a Class 2 felony for subsequent violations. Anyone found guilty of holding a dog fighting show within 1,000 feet of a school, public park, playground, or other facility that provides programs or services to children under 18 years old will now be punished with a Class 3 felony for a first violation and a Class 2 felony for a subsequent violation.
The new law also increases the penalty for anyone found guilty of tying or attaching a live animal to a propel-powered machine or device with the intention that the animal will be pursued by one or more dogs. The law makes this offense punishable with a Class 4 felony for a first violation and a Class 3 felony for subsequent violations, and may be fined up to $50,000.
The legislation comes after a major dog fighting ring was busted in Maywood by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office. The new law goes into effect on January 1, 2011.