Op-Ed: Is Kentucky Trying To Legalize Dogfighting?

As a Kentucky resident who advocates for Pit Bull-type dogs and dogs rescued from fighting rings through my art, taking action on trying to have our state's legislature make all activities tied to dogfighting illegal is a battle that is extremely personal. In my opinion, there should not have been even an ounce of opposition to Senate Bill 14 (SB 14) as originally filed on January 6th, which would have effectively made it illegal to own, possess, keep, breed, train, sell or transfer dogs for the purpose of dogfighting. Unfortunately, the Kentucky Houndsmen Association, Inc. (Kentucky Houndsmen) did oppose SB 14 as originally filed under the false premise that it would hurt hunters and hunting dogs. Au contraire, Houndsmen. SB 14 as originally filed explicitly stated:
"Activities of animal engaged in hunting, field trials, and dog training...shall not constitute a violation of this section."
In a move that I and many others consider to be rank with deceit, the Agriculture Committee, which contains Senator Robin Webb (below, dogfighters refer to her as someone who is "working hard so that we can match our dogs"), created a committee substitution to SB 14 at the last minute before it went to vote in the Agriculture Committee. SB 14 with committee substitution was approved by the Kentucky Houndsmen. This last minute change did not allow sufficient time for animal welfare groups to share this change nor for Senators to fully understand the detriment of the committee substitution language. My question is, if SB 14 as originally filed already addressed the Kentucky Houndsmen's concerns, why did they push for more changes - changes that are so detrimental that they could actually make the loophole in Kentucky's dogfighting law even larger? 367 Dogfighting Bust ASPCA Pit Bulls Rescued Furthermore, after speaking with two Senators recently via phone call, they both said that when SB 14 was brought to the Senate Floor to vote, it was stated that SB 14 with committee substitution was a "compromise" between animal welfare groups and the Kentucky Houndsmen. That statement is a lie. Animal welfare interests were not represented nor present when the committee substitution was agreed upon, therefore, it cannot be called a "compromise." And here another question arises: Why were our Senators lied to regarding SB 14 with committee substitution, a piece of legislature which, again, is so detrimental that it could actually make the loophole in Kentucky's dogfighting law even larger? BarkPost has been continually updating information on Kentucky's Senate Bill 14 (SB 14), both as originally filed on January 6th (effective legislation which would have outlawed all activities tied to dogfighting) and SB 14 with committee substitution (very detrimental legislation which could make the loophole in Kentucky's dogfighting law even larger). [bp_related_article] Now, perhaps the most damning statement that shows exactly why SB 14 with committee substitution is extremely detrimental has appeared on a website that is known to be used by dogfighters. The title of the article from which the quote below was pulled is "Kentucky could LEGALIZE dogfighting." And as you'll read below, these dogfighters are extremely happy about it. Screen-Shot-2016-02-29-at-1.51.16-PM I cannot properly express the amount of disgust that I felt when I read this statement. To imagine that dogfighters are rejoicing in the fact that SB 14 with committee substitution is something that would aid them in escaping prosecution for dogfighting is beyond comprehension. It only further solidifies that we must continue to make it known how extremely detrimental SB 14 with committee substitution is and to call for Kentucky residents to take action. If this makes you as disgusted as me and you are a Kentucky resident, please call 1-800-372-7181 and ask to leave a message for ALL Representatives to "amend SB 14 to remove the committee substitution language." Dogfighting Bust Pit Bull Puppy on a Chain If you are not a Kentucky resident, please share this information so that as many people as possible are aware of what is currently at stake in Kentucky. SB 14 with committee substitution is something that we cannot afford to allow to pass. We must use our voices and engage in the political process so strongly and so loudly that legislators have no choice but to listen to the voices we are giving the dogs in our state who have been, who are and who may be, victims of dogfighting. Please stand on the side of responsible animal welfare and urge Kentucky's Representatives to amend SB 14 to remove the committee substitution language.

Featured image via ASPCA

Hope Bobbitt

6 years ago

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