Oregon Legislature Passes Bill to Increase Penalties for Dog Fighting!

Update February 27, 2008: The Oregon legislature has passed S.B. 1072! This new law will increase penalties for dog fighting. Governor Ted Kulongoski is expected to sign the bill.

For more information, read the original report below.

Original report: In Oregon dog fighting is a Class C felony. But being a spectator at a dog fight is only a misdemeanor. ORS § 167.370 Also, the state law does not make it a felony to advertise or offer to sell or possess dog fighting paraphernalia used for fighting purposes. ORS §§167.365, .372

S.B. 1072 could change that. This bill would amend the existing dog fighting laws and make it a Class C felony to attend a dog fight and also to advertise or offer to sell or possess paraphernalia for fighting purposes. The penalty for these crimes would be up to 5 years in prison and $125,000 in fines.

The paraphernalia would include treadmills which include carpet mills made of narrow sections of carpet; modified electric treadmills for the purpose of conditioning dogs; or slat mills with a running surface constructed of wooden slats.

Other paraphernalia that would include cat mills, devices that rotate around a central support with one arm designed to secure a dog and one arm designed to secure a cat, rabbit or other small animal beyond the grasp of the dog; springpoles, biting surfaces attached to a stretchable device, suspended at a height sufficient to prevent a dog from reaching the biting surface while touching the ground; fighting pits, breaking sticks which are devices designed for insertion behind the molars of a dog for the purpose of breaking the dog’s grip on another animal or object; leather or mesh collar with a strap more than 2 inches wide, a weighted or unweighted chain collar weighing 10 pounds or more, and unprescribed veterinary medicine that is a prescription drug.  

One of the problems in enforcing dog fighting laws is that the penalties are just not significant. Prosecutors are more likely to charge if it constitutes a felony. With S.B. 1072, Oregon will take a step towards giving law enforcement the tools they need to enforce the laws to stop this heinous activity.