Monday, July 23, 2007

Indictment of Michael Vick for Running Dog-Fighting Rings Brings Forth Calls to Get Tougher on Dog Fighting in Many States, Including New Jersey

If anything good comes from the evil of Michael Vick, it’s that states will wake up to the reality of dog fighting.


Van Drew: Vick Indictment Underscores Need for Overhaul of State's Animal Cruelty Laws

By droseman - July 23, 2007 - 2:50pm
Tags: Jeff Van Drew, animal cruelty,
Release Date: July 23, 2007

Assembly Democrats News Release


(First Legislative District) - The federal conspiracy case building against NFL star Michael Vick for his role in running a vicious dog-fighting ring highlights the need for New Jersey to modernize its ineffective and archaic animal cruelty laws, Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew said today.

According to the indictment handed-down last week against Vick and three other co-defendants, the dog-fighting ring allegedly operated by the Atlanta Falcons' quarterback was twice involved in fights with dogs from New Jersey.

"The allegations against Michael Vick are appalling in their own right, but to read that dogs from New Jersey were involved in this sordid conspiracy is absolutely alarming," Van Drew (D-Cape May/Cumberland/Atlantic). "The Vick case underscores the difficulties state are encountering with illegal dog-fighting and it underscores the need for tougher penalties against the depraved individuals who breed dogs for blood sport."

Van Drew recently introduced legislation (A-2649) - dubbed "Angel's Law" after a South Jersey dog that died after being starved and beaten by its owner - that would overhaul the state's animal cruelty laws for the first time in over 125 years. The measure would establish a series of new animal-cruelty offenses - including specific penalties against the use of an animal for fighting - and significantly increase criminal and civil penalties for violations.

Under Van Drew's bill, the most egregious abuse cases would draw penalties up to 20 years in jail and $200,000 in fines. Individuals involved in animal fighting also would face up to $7,500 in civil penalties for aggravated animal cruelty.

"The Michael Vick debacle is shining a stark light on the underground network of animal cruelty that many would like to think does not exist in New Jersey," said Van Drew. "We can no longer pretend dog-fighting doesn't happen in our state. Now is the time to take strong action to put these illegal fight rings out of business."

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