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Compromise Dogfighting Bill Moves Forward Despite Reservations

In this photo taken Aug. 26, 2014, a dog seized during the second-largest dog fighting bust in U.S. history sits in a pen at a kennel in Jacksonville, Fla.
In this photo taken Aug. 26, 2014, a dog seized during the second-largest dog fighting bust in U.S. history sits in a pen at a kennel in Jacksonville, Fla.

Kentucky already forbids dogfighting, but a measure approved by a Senate panel Tuesday would put more teeth behind the law, expanding it to include breeding, training, or selling dogs for fighting purposes.

In this photo taken Aug. 26, 2014, a dog seized during the second-largest dog fighting bust in U.S. history sits in a pen at a kennel in Jacksonville, Fla.
Credit AP
/
In this photo taken Aug. 26, 2014, a dog seized during the second-largest dog fighting bust in U.S. history sits in a pen at a kennel in Jacksonville, Fla.

Violators would face Class D felony charges, punishable by up to five years behind bars - the same as convicted dogfighters.

"It's something that we need to get under control in Kentucky and we're the only state in the nation that doesn't do something on the breeding, training, and selling side," Republican Agriculture Committee Chair Sen. Paul Hornback said. 

And though the bill includes input from both animal rights and hunting organizations, neither side appeared overjoyed with the result. New language allowing activities sanctioned by "the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, the American Kennel Club, the United Kennel Club, or other accredited national organizations"  raised a number of red flags for several speakers.

"Essentially you're giving the right to determine what is and isn't a felony to some private organization," said Alex Gaddis, an assistant Commonwealth's Attorney. As written, he adds, the statute would likely be "unenforceable."

Melodie Zentall with the Kentucky Coalition for Animal Protection harbored similar concerns, saying, "Accreditation was not defined and there could be some kind of issue some kind of activity going on that is consistent with an organization that perhaps does promote dogfighting."

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/state/kentucky/article61984442.html#storylink=cpy

The bill overcame those concerns, however, to pass out of committee. It now moves to the full Senate.

Copyright 2016 WUKY

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now known as Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and Program Director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.