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Petitioning Your Governor
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Your Governor

Support Tougher Dogfighting Laws!

Help us put an end to dogfighting and create strong laws for animals so criminals like Michael Vick receive meaningful sentences! Contact your state legislators today!

Although animal fighting is illegal in all 50 states, the Animal Legal Defense Fund is working to make such crimes easier to prosecute and punishable by stronger penalties. ALDF has drafted a recommended amendment to state laws that would enable prosecutors to charge dogfighters under the respective state's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (commonly referred to as "RICO") statute. Applied to animal fighting, RICO - which was originally designed to be a weapon against a wide variety of organized criminal efforts, including drug dealing and gambling - would give prosecutors increased muscle in seeking justice for the animals abused, and, as in the Vick case, even executed by their owners.

Take action by writing to your state legislators today about enacting or enhancing your state's RICO law. ALDF can provide our model law that was enacted in Virginia, and can also provide your legislators with a detailed legislative analysis of your state's laws to provide customized solutions for your state.


Letter to
Your Governor
Michael Vick, ex-quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, was released from prison on May 20 after serving 23 months in prison for financing "Bad Newz Kennels," his dogfighting operation, and viciously killing dogs that his kennel used in fights. Sadly, unlike the high-profile Michael Vick case, most cases of dogfighting go unnoticed by the media, and find dogfighters receiving weak sentences if convicted.

Although animal fighting is illegal in all 50 states, the Animal Legal Defense Fund is working to make such crimes easier to prosecute and punishable by stronger penalties. ALDF has drafted a recommended amendment to state laws that would enable prosecutors to charge dogfighters under a state's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (commonly referred to as "RICO") statute. Applied to animal fighting, RICO - which was originally designed to be a weapon against a wide variety of organized criminal efforts, including drug dealing and gambling - would give prosecutors increased muscle in seeking justice for the animals abused, and, as in the Vick case, even executed by their owners.

The ability to bring a state RICO case provides specific advantages to law enforcement overseeing dogfighting investigations, including:

- More comprehensive investigatory powers;
- Extended statutes of limitations;
- Longer sentences (in terms of both actual incarceration and the length of post-prison supervision);
- Larger fines;
- Pre-conviction "seize and freeze" of a defendant's assets; and
- Forfeiture of the assets used in, and gains generated from, the dogfighting activities.

Please enact or enhance the RICO law in our state to include animal fighting among the crimes that are RICO predicate acts; the Animal Legal Defense Fund can provide this model law, and can also provide a detailed legislative analysis of our state's laws to provide customized solutions for your state. Contact legislation@aldf.org for more information.