-- Legislation sponsored by Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery) to protect animals from being used for illegal fighting by creating the offense of “possession of animal fighting paraphernalia” passed the House unanimously this week.
Under House Bill 164
, animal fighting paraphernalia is defined as any device, implement, object, facility, space or drug used, or intended to be used, for animal fighting or to train an animal for fighting. An example of such an object is a razor-sharp gaff that is attached to a rooster’s legs to cause greater damage to its opponent in a cockfight. Possession of animal fighting paraphernalia will be graded as a third-degree misdemeanor, subjecting an offender to up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
“While we prohibit animal fighting in Pennsylvania, we do not have any prohibitions on possessing the equipment used for animal fighting,” Stephens said. “Law enforcement can’t always arrive while an animal fight is in progress, but during the course of an investigation may find an offender to be in possession of equipment or implements of animal fighting.”
The bill is supported by the Humane Society of the United States, the Fraternal Order of Police, the District Attorney's Association and the Pennsylvania State Police.
“This bill helps ensure people who commit these barbaric acts don’t escape punishment,” Stephens said.
The bill moves on to the Senate.
Representative Todd Stephens
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: David Foster