Find compromise in dogfighting bill


Dogfighting has no place in our society.

It is a barbaric practice, and it is way past time for it to become an illegal practice in our state. Kentucky is the only state in the country where training and owning dogs for the purpose of fighting is legal.

Something is seriously wrong with this. We need to join the rest of the country on this practice and make it illegal once and for all.

Original legislation and substitute legislation filed this year in the Kentucky Senate are intended to make the state’s dogfighting law easier to enforce. Currently, the act of dogfighting is a Class D felony.

The original bill, which would have outlawed owning, training and selling dogs for the purposes of fighting, had the support of the Humane Society of the United States, but not the support of hunting groups in the state. The substitute bill, SB14, is now being criticized by the humane society but has gained the hunting groups’ support.

The substitute bill would specify that anyone owning, possessing, keeping, breeding, training or selling a dog for the primary purpose of fighting is guilty of cruelty to animals.

It’s quite clear that some middle ground is needed to please all parties involved.

Humane society officials say the “primary” word could be used by dogfighters to escape prosecution by claiming their dog may have been involved in dogfighting, but that was not primarily how the dog was used.

We can see where the use of this word could be cause for concern for organizations such as the humane society as a dogfighting owner could use this language to avoid prosecution. Perhaps the Senate could tweak the bill and drop this word to make it easier for people to be arrested and prosecuted.

The substitute bill would provide exemptions for dogs involved with hunting, field trials, dog trials or other activities authorized by “accredited national organizations.” It recognizes the American Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club as accredited organizations.

It appears that this part of the bill makes sense as hunters who use dogs for bird hunting and those who use them for field trials should be exempted as they are not participating in dogfighting – they are participating in a sport.

Humane society officials say the substitute bill is toothless and sets Kentucky back on efforts to end dogfighting.

We see both sides of the argument. There has to be a compromise made in this bill to make those who buy, sell, willingly train and use dogs solely for the purpose of dogfighting be prosecuted for this barbaric act. At the same time, we must protect the large group of hunters in our state and those who use dogs to guard livestock or their homes.

We are hopeful that compromise can be found so that both sides are satisfied and, more importantly, that Kentucky joins the rest of the nation in making dogfighting illegal.

Bowling Green Daily News

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