Update: The MO bill, H.B. 1689, died at the end of the legislative session.
Original report: The effort to strengthen animal fighting laws, to give law enforcement and prosecutors the tools to go after those who would so cruelly torture dogs and other animals, continues in the 2010 legislative session.
And, a Missouri legislator, state Rep. Paul LeVota, has introduced a bill that would make possession of dog fighting paraphernalia a crime. The bill, H.B. 1689, would also increase penalties for dog fighting crimes on subsequent offenses. While a first offense is a Class D felony, subsequent offenses would be Class C felonies. Spectators and others who are simply present at dog fights would be charged with a misdemeanor for the first offense and a Class D felony for subsequent offenses.
Efforts to end animal fighting stepped up dramatically with the arrest and conviction of football star, Michael Vick, in 2007 on federal charges related to dog fighting. Since then numerous states have strengthened animal fighting laws.
Go here for more information about the Vick case and here for more on the outrage that Vick has been allowed to return to professional football and a life of fame and luxury despite the fact he has failed to demonstrate any heartfelt remorse for forcing dogs to fight, torturing them, hanging and beating dogs to death, and watching dogs struggle in fear and panic as he drowned them.