Heart of the River hosts Protest Paddle

 

Zach Osowski

The Statehouse File

A

bill that would boost penalties for attending an animal fight passed the Senate

on Thursday, despite concern about increasing the number of felony

crimes

.

Senate

Bill 11 now moves to the full House.

"It

is time we take steps to end this heinous thing," said Sen.

Jim Arnold,

D-LaPorte, who authored the bill. "This is long overdue in

my opinion."

The

bill would make attending an animal fight a Class D felony, punishable by up to

three years in prison.

Currently,

attending an animal fight is a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable up to

one year in jail. Sponsoring a fight or training an animal for fights is a

Class D felony.

The

bill's co-author, Sen.

Brent Steele

, R-Bedford, talked about how those who attend dog

fights

often host their own events.

But

there was opposition to the bill from some who worried about creating more

felony crimes and thus jail time for offenders. Sen.

Richard Young,

D-Milltown, pointed out that if someone is arrested for

attending a fight now it's a Class A misdemeanor, but if they are arrested

again it gets escalated to a Class D felony automatically.

Sen.

Lindel Hume

, D-Princeton, also opposed the bill. Animal fighting "is a

horrible thing," Hume said. "But it concerns me that we're throwing

more people in jail. I think the way we deal with it is better now then it

would be if we made it a D felony."

Arnold

closed the debate by saying that he was typically not of the "lock people

up and throw away the key" mentality.

But,

he said, "Nobody happens to be at a dog fight. People go to a dog fight

because they want to see a dog kill another dog. We're giving people a choice,

stay away from this barbaric activity and then you won't lock yourself

up."

He

went on to say that animals have no choice and that people are the guardians

who need to protect them.

SB

11 passed 38-10 with Sens. Richard Bray, R-Martinsville, and Michael Young,

R-Indianapolis, not available to vote. It now moves to the House.

TheStatehouseFile.com is a news service powered by

Franklin College journalism students.

0
0
0
0
0