FRANKFORT — Kentucky would become the 50th state to make it a felony to possess, breed, sell or otherwise handle dogs for the purpose of dog fighting under a bill that has cleared the state House.
House Bill 428, sponsored by Rep. Wilson Stone, D-Scottsville, would define dog fighting in statute as the fighting of two or more dogs for sport, wagering or entertainment and allow those who intentionally own, possess, breed, train, sell or transfer dogs for dog fighting to be charged with first-degree cruelty to animals, a Class D felony.
Dog fighting is already illegal in Kentucky yet is often hard to prosecute under current law. Law enforcement often has to catch a fight in progress to make an arrest the way the law is written, supporters of HB 428 say.
“This bill provides language that makes it easier for law enforcement and the courts to apprehend and prosecute those involved in this shameful practice,” said Stone. “It is a giant step forward in our attempt to remove the scourge of dog fighting from the Commonwealth.”
The legislation would not apply to hunting dogs, dogs that guard livestock, service dogs or companion dogs, said Stone.
The bill passed the House 97-0 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Similar legislation was approved by the Senate and delivered to the House last month.