Animal Fights Are A Problem For Region, Rep. Marino Will Co-Author Legislation Making It A Federal Crime To Attend These Events

Jonathan Riskind
Wilkes-Barre Times Leader

Rep. Marino will co-author legislation making it a federal crime to attend these events.

Shelters filled with growing numbers of pit bulls is a sign of a growing problem in the Wilkes-Barre area — organized animal fights that bring with them other illegal activity from guns to drugs.

That’s why bipartisan legislation making it a federal crime to attend animal fights, co-authored by Rep. Tom Marino, R-Lycoming Township, is needed, says Cary Moran, public outreach director for the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Luzerne County.

“You’ve got to get stricter, tougher laws so that we can do our job and help eliminate these issues,” Moran said in endorsing the bill unveiled last week by Marino and Democratic Rep. Betty Sutton of Ohio.

“It’s more than just the animal fighting, it’s an overall public safety issue of having these people out there doing these types of things — there are always guns and drugs and (human on human) fights.”

A three-year study by the Chicago Police Department, Marino’s office said, found that 70 percent of animal offenders also had been arrested for other felonies, including domestic and aggravated battery, illegal drug trafficking and sex crimes.

Organizing animal fights already is a federal crime and illegal in all 50 states, Marino notes.

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