Dogfighting Laws

In the last 30 years federal, state, and local laws have toughened as a result of society's heightened sesitivity to animal cruelty and the confirmed relation of animal cruetly to domestic abuse and violence.

In 1976 Congress outlawed interstate promotion of animal fights and the transporting of animals across state lines for the purpose of fighting. Penalties are up to a year in prison and a $5,000 fine, later this was increased to $100,000, and is now 3 years and a $250,000 fine.

Henry Bergh
ASPCA Founder

Dogfighting is now a felony in all 50 states. Henry Bergh, founder of the ASPCA, wrote the first animal fighting laws back in 1867. Some states took until the 1980's to follow suit. Bergh waged a full on war with Kit Burns, a well known "sportsman" of the time. During a moment of high drama, Bergh dropped through a skylight landing in Kit Burns dog pit. The battle was frustrating with judges that viewed laws against dogfights with skepticism and made it difficult to get a conviction.

This is not an easy crime to get a conviction on. The victims have no voice of their own and obviously cannot testify. Even with technology and law enforcement training growing there's still nothing better than community involvement. Be aware of what's going on in your community, report activity that raises suspicion. Write to your federal, state, and local legislators and ask them to support fight laws. It's tragic enough these animals are being treated so barbarically, but it's absolutely time to recognize this is just the tip of the iceberg in the world of crime.


"Mercy to animals means mercy to mankind."
Henry Bergh


"The more fortunate dogs are the ones that die during the fight instead of after the fight. People will set dogs on fire when they lose a fight, or something worse. I've had dog fighters tell me, including teenagers, they're angry at a dog if it loses a fight, they want it to suffer, that's why they leave it locked in a closet to die a slow death of its injuries."

Steve Brownstein