Tougher anti-dogfighting laws on the way?

Perhaps the silver lining in Mike Vick’s arrest will be tougher anti-dogfighting laws.

Sen. Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, who has pushed an anti-dogfighting bill in the Senate during the last two sessions, said the Vick case has brought into the public eye a problem that, unfortunately, is widespread.

“The fighting and maiming of dogs that allegedly occurred on Michael Vick’s property in Virginia can also be found all across metro Atlanta on a weekly basis,” Rogers said. “Sadly, Georgia remains one of the last states … where those persons intimately involved in this dangerous activity can go unpunished.”

Georgia is one of only two states where dogfighting is a misdemeanor.

Rogers’ bill would upgrade the crime to a felony and cast a wider net. Rather than being limited to owners of fighting dogs, the legislation would also apply to trainers and to those who host, promote or attend dog fights.

“It’s like drugs,” said Rep. Bobby Reese, R-Sugar Hill, who introduced a similar bill in the House this year. “You can get the drug dealers, but you’ve got to charge the users, too.”

The Senate passed Rogers’ bill unanimously last March but it wasn’t taken up by the House.

Reese’s bill passed the House Judiciary Committee but didn’t reach the floor for a vote.

10 comments

  1. SpaceyG says:

    I imagine it’s the same with dangerous dog laws… the law is, maddeningly, on the side of the dangerous dog owner and NOT the victims of their dangerous dog maulings. It’s this “one bite” thing that favors the owners, and we can thank the tort reform zealots for this.

  2. Holly says:

    You know, I’m all for tort reform, and Spacey, you may even label me as one of your zealots. . . I dunno. However, if the person is injured like your child was, I would think that would get a very fair court settlement. This isn’t the kind of case where a woman drops coffee in her lap and sues the restaurant for hot coffee. This is about a person maliciously maimed by an animal. Yes, I think the law needs to be strengthened.

  3. Nicki says:

    a) Holly, you need to read up on the coffee case. That woman was completely justified and tried numerous times to settle for just her medical expenses. That was great legal work on the part of her lawyers, who were able to demonstrate that McDonald’s made an executive decision despite knowing the danger posed and settling previous cases.

    b) Tort reform is/was a horrible idea. It removes almost all penalties from certain industries for the failure to self-police and it removes a lot of responsibility for patently irresponsible behavior. It was a cheap political trick, and it’s still apparently tricking us.

  4. Nicki says:

    Applauding efforts to make dog fighting easier to police, btw. I would think we would have already done this, actually, based on the grey market nature of the income changing hands.

  5. ChuckEaton says:

    On a national level Robert Byrd is now calling for the death penalty in some instances of dog fighting. Hopefully for Michael’s sake the law won’t be written as retroactive.

  6. dorian says:

    I don’t think so Chuck. There is some nonsense in the Constitution about ex post facto laws.

    While we are making tougher laws for dog fighting, I would humbly ask you to consider changing the way our legal process works. I would suggest we totally re-vamp the legal system from top to bottom whereas most legal disputes would be settled not in a courtroom, but in the octagon, a la ultimate fighting.

    See, what I have in mind is free attorneys for everyone, but the attorneys themselves could get corporate sponsorships. The better the attorney the more sponsorships. We could completely do away with the Supreme Court in favor of pay-per-views (available every month for $39.95).

  7. dorian says:

    How many would pay good money to see Bubba Head vs. McDade in a no holds barred fight to the death?

  8. ChuckEaton says:

    I made an unsuccessful attempt at humor.

    I don’t really believe Michael Vick is going to need to hire a Constitutional attorney to challenge Robert Byrd’s ex post facto law giving Vick the death penalty.

    Although there have been some recent federal laws passed one could argue are retroactive, but were politically popular.

    It seems a bit of a contradiction that there are those who would scream ex post facto at the thought of retroactively increasing a penalty, but question why the Legislature didn’t retroactively implement Genarlow’s law.

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