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AVMA Applauds New State Laws That Make Dog Fighting a Felony Everywhere in the United States

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is pleased to announce that dog fighting is now a felony everywhere in the United States. Last week, Wyoming made dog fighting a felony, the 50th state in the country to do so.

"For many years, the AVMA has recommended that animal fighting be considered a felony offense in this country, giving it the legal classification and punishment that a blood sport of this sort deserves," explains Adrian Hochstadt, assistant director of State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs at the AVMA. "The AVMA condemns any and all events involving animals in which injury or death is intended, and we encourage veterinarians to collaborate with law enforcement with respect to recognition, enforcement, and education about dog fighting. Together, we can help break down the criminal networks that perpetrate these violent crimes against animals."

On March 4, 2008, Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal signed legislation that increased the penalty in that state for participating in dog fighting from a misdemeanor to a felony. Idaho passed similar legislation just a week earlier, making it the 49th state to make dog fighting a felony. The issue of dog fighting gained national attention last year after Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was arrested and prosecuted for involvement in the blood sport.

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The AVMA and its more than 76,000 member veterinarians are engaged in a wide variety of activities dedicated to advancing the science and art of animal, human and public health. Visit the AVMA Web site at for more information.

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