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U.S. House OKs bill to outlaw animal fighting

A bill that prohibits animal fighting and abuse is halfway through Congress.

The House of Representatives approved the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act on Monday.

Co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Bud Cramer, D-Huntsville, the bill would make it a federal crime to knowingly buy, sell, transport, deliver or receive any animal in interstate or foreign commerce for fighting. The legislation also increases the maximum sentence for these crimes to three years in prison.

"No animal should ever be trained or used for fighting," Cramer said. "This bipartisan bill will help put an end to this cruel practice."

Animal fighting refers to any event that involves a fight between at least two animals conducted for sport, gambling or entertainment. Current law classifies animal fighting as a misdemeanor, punishable by fines of up to $15,000 and up to one year in prison.

Last year, Decatur was home to high profile case of alleged animal abuse when Lucky, a severely injured dog, was found in a trash bin. The dog's extensive injuries were consistent with animal fighting and abuse. Trial for the man charged with Lucky's abuse is on this week's Circuit Court trial docket.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, Alabama has had 284 reported incidents of animal abuse during the last 10 years.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

- Paul Huggins

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