Local News

Legislators View Video of Dog Fight

Posted March 18, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— Some North Carolina law enforcers say dog fighting is out of control in the state. The way to stop it, they say, is to make penalties tougher.

Law enforcement officers from Guilford, Durham and Mecklenburg Counties refer to the practice as organized crime and Tuesday, they took their case to the legislature. Their presentation included a graphic video tape of an actual dog fight that had some lawmakers turning away from the screen.

That was the impact the presenters said they needed to make.

Animal control officers say the practice is far more common than anyone knows. Dog fighting in N.C. is secretive and lucrative for the people involved in it. Legislators are discussing a bill to strengthen penalties for dog fighting by changing it from a misdemeanor to a felony.

Guilford County Sheriff B.J. Barnes says such a step is really necessary and that people come here from other states because the penalties are so low.

Rep. John Weatherly, (R) Cleveland, is the sponsor of the bill. He says current penalties for dog fighting are viewed as a joke by those who practice the crime.

The committee currently reviewing the bill is considering sending it to a subcommittee where penalties might be toughened even more than the bill now proposes.

It will probably be several weeks before a final decision is reached.