Target: Chief Judge Patti B. Saris & U.S. Sentencing Commission
Goal: Implement harsher sentences for individuals who engage in dog fighting.
Dog fights are a rampant form of inhumane gambling. They have been a persistent problem for years, despite the offense being a felony. While many dog fighters are arrested every year, there has been little to no progress made in eliminating them. Indeed, it could be argued that regardless of the felony charge, there hasn’t been a marked decrease in dog fighting rings at all.
Many cities ban pit bulls and will force owners of pits to euthanize their dogs, all in an effort to “stop” dog fighting. This is little more than punishing the victims of these fights and doing nothing to stop fighters from forcing other breeds into the ring.
One way to help reduce the number of dog fights, and people fighting dogs, is to enforce longer sentences for those convicted. As it is now, violators can be sentenced a maximum of five years. However, as current federal guidelines classify dog fighting as “gambling,” most sentences are only six months to one year. This is hardly a slap on the wrist considering the lives lost in these fights.
Organizations like the ASPCA are fighting for stricter sentencing guidelines and we can help them. Help take people involved in dog fights off of the streets for longer periods of time with sentences that fit the abuse these individuals exercise on dogs. Following the ASPCA recommendation of a minimum 21 to 27 month sentence, with hopes for higher sentences for more extreme cases, let us propose the same.
Dear Chief Judge Saris,
Despite the fact that dog fights put the health and lives of those dogs in danger, the practice is still only charged as gambling. This is almost like saying the loss of a dog’s life is equivalent to monetary loss such as an individual faces in a casino.
In light of recent upgrades to animal cruelty laws and sentencing, I believe it only right that stricter sentences be enforced on dog fighters. These people intentionally raise and abuse these animals, so that they may turn a profit on their death and/or injury. It is a barbaric and inhumane practice, and should be treated as more than just a gambling infraction.
Stricter sentencing for dog fighters will not eliminate dog fights altogether, but it will help keep these individuals off the streets and away from animals. Increasing the minimum sentence recommendation from six to 12 months to 21 to 27 months, and longer for more extreme cases, would be a big step in curbing the actions of these criminals.
Please consider how many animals may be spared the brutality of such a lifestyle by ensuring dog fighters receive punishment that fits the gravity of their crimes.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Gastongato