Georgia anti-dogfighting law back before Assembly
By SANDRA ECKSTEIN
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 01/21/07
No one claims there isn't dogfighting in Georgia. But Sen. Chip Rogers said many people don't understand the scope of the activity.
"It's not just a problem for the dogs that are abused, injured and killed," Rogers said. "There also are incidents of people, including children, being attacked by these dogs. Pets are stolen and used to train fighting dogs. All kinds of other illegal activities, from drugs and guns to gambling and gangs, go along with the crime."
That's why Rogers is trying once again to toughen Georgia's anti-dogfighting laws, which a representative of the Humane Society of the United States called some of the weakest in the country.
Rogers introduced a bill last year that addressed a number of animal cruelty issues, including dogfighting, cockfighting and hog/dog rodeos â€” in which trained dogs are allowed to corner, and often attack, live pigs. But although cockfighting and animal cruelty are illegal in Georgia, many who support cockfighting and the rodeos came out against the legislation. Many hunters also opposed the bill, saying they were concerned it might prevent hunting practices and the training of hunting dogs. After sailing through the Senate, the legislation died in a House committee and was never brought up for a vote before the full House.
So this year, Rogers, a Republican from Woodstock, introduced Senate Bill 16, which pertains only to dogfighting. He said the bill has been written so it will not affect hunting practices.
"Clearly, a lot of other illegal activities are taking place along with dogfighting, and we need to be able to charge these people with more than just animal cruelty," Rogers said.
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