If you know the story of the Vicktory dogs, who came to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in 2008, then you know that even dogs who have been victims of the cruel sport of dog fighting can exhibit tremendous resilience and are not defined by the traumas of their past. You know that all dogs are individuals deserving of a chance at loving homes of their own.
Laws restricting dogs rescued from fighting rings
Sadly, legislation in seven states currently restricts dogs seized in dogfighting cases, stigmatizing them as damaged and unadoptable and denying them an opportunity to prove otherwise.
States with breed-specific legislation against canines from dog fighting busts
Below is a list of those states with a summary of their laws regarding dogs seized in dogfighting cases. Best Friends’ advocacy team is hard at work in an effort to repeal these laws and replace them with legislation that treats every animal as an individual. Since 2011, Best Friends has worked with seven other states (Delaware, California, Florida, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Massachusetts and New Jersey) to successfully repeal outdated legislation regarding dogs seized in fighting cases.
Join our Legislative Action Center today to help give these dogs the second chance they deserve.
C.R.S. § 18-9-204.5
(b) “Dangerous dog” means any dog that: (I) Inflicts bodily or serious bodily injury upon or causes the death of a person or domestic animal; or (II) Demonstrates tendencies that would cause a reasonable person to believe that the dog may inflict bodily or serious bodily injury upon or cause the death of any person or domestic animal; or (III) Engages in or is trained for animal fighting as described and prohibited in section 18-9-204.
(2) The legislature finds and declares that fighting dogs used or employed in violation of R.S. 14:102.5 are dangerous, vicious, and a threat to the health and safety of the public. Therefore, fighting dogs seized in accordance with this Section are declared to be contraband and, notwithstanding R.S. 14:102.1, the officer may cause them to be humanely euthanized as soon as possible by a licensed veterinarian or a qualified technician and shall not be civilly or criminally liable for so doing. Fighting dogs not destroyed immediately shall be disposed of in accordance with R.S. 14:102.2.
M.S.A. § 343.31
Subd 2. Presumption of training a fighting dog.
There is a rebuttable presumption that a dog has been trained or is being trained to fight if:
(1) the dog exhibits fresh wounds, scarring, or other indications that the dog has been or will be used for fighting; and
(2) the person possesses training apparatus, paraphernalia, or drugs known to be used to prepare dogs to be fought.
This presumption may be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence.
Subd. 4. Peace officer duties.
Animals described in subdivisions 2 and 3 are dangerous weapons and constitute an immediate danger to the safety of humans. A peace officer or animal control authority may remove, shelter, and care for an animal found in the circumstances described in subdivision 2 or 3. If necessary, a peace officer or animal control authority may deliver the animal to another person to be sheltered and cared for. In all cases, the peace officer or animal control authority must immediately notify the owner, if known, as provided in subdivision 5. The peace officer, animal control authority, or other person assuming care of the animal shall have a lien on it for the actual cost of care and keeping of the animal. If the owner or custodian is unknown and cannot by reasonable effort be ascertained, or does not, within ten days after notice, redeem the animal by paying the expenses authorized by this subdivision, the animal may be disposed of as provided in subdivision 5.
Subd. 5. Disposition.
(a) An animal taken into custody under subdivision 4 may be humanely disposed of at the discretion of the jurisdiction having custody of the animal ten days after the animal is taken into custody, if the procedures in paragraph (c) are followed.
(b) The owner of an animal taken into custody under subdivision 4 may prevent disposition of the animal by posting security in an amount sufficient to provide for the actual costs of care and keeping of the animal. The security must be posted within ten days of the seizure inclusive of the date of the seizure. If, however, a hearing is scheduled within ten days of the seizure, the security amount must be posted prior to the hearing.
(c)(1) The authority taking custody of an animal under subdivision 4 must give notice of this section by delivering or mailing it to the owner of the animal, posting a copy of it at the place where the animal is taken into custody, or delivering it to a person residing on the property and telephoning, if possible. The notice must include:
(i) a description of the animal seized; the authority and purpose for the seizure; the time, place, and circumstances under which the animal was seized; and the location, address, and telephone number of a contact person who knows where the animal is kept;
(ii) a statement that the owner of the animal may post security to prevent disposition of the animal and may request a hearing concerning the seizure and impoundment and that failure to do so within ten days of the date of the notice will result in disposition of the animal; and
(iii) a statement that all actual costs of the care, keeping, and disposal of the animal are the responsibility of the owner of the animal, except to the extent that a court or hearing officer finds that the seizure or impoundment was not substantially justified by law. The notice must also include a form that can be used by a person claiming an interest in the animal for requesting a hearing.
(2) The owner may request a hearing within ten days of the date of the seizure. If requested, a hearing must be held within five business days of the request to determine the validity of the impoundment. The municipality taking custody of the animal or the municipality from which the animal was seized may either (i) authorize a licensed veterinarian with no financial interest in the matter or professional association with either party, or (ii) use the services of a hearing officer to conduct the hearing. An owner may appeal the hearing officer's decision to the district court within five days of the notice of the decision.
(3) The judge or hearing officer may authorize the return of the animal if the judge or hearing officer finds that (i) the animal is physically fit, (ii) the person claiming an interest in the animal can and will provide the care required by law for the animal, and (iii) the animal has not been used for violent pitting or fighting.
(4) The person claiming an interest in the animal is liable for all actual costs of care, keeping, and disposal of the animal, except to the extent that a court or hearing officer finds that the seizure or impoundment was not substantially justified by law. The costs must be paid in full or a mutually satisfactory arrangement for payment must be made between the municipality and the person claiming an interest in the animal before the return of the animal to the person.
N.C. ST Chapter 14 Article 47 § 14-363.2 & § 67‑4.1
14-363.2 Conviction of any offense contained in this Article may result in confiscation of cruelly treated animals belonging to the accused and it shall be proper for the court in its discretion to order a final determination of the custody of the confiscated animals. 67-4.1: “Dangerous dog” means … b. Any dog owned or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting, or any dog trained for dog fighting.
21 Okl.St.Ann. § 1699
§21-1699. Seizure, destruction or forfeiture of dogfighting equipment and facilities. Following the conviction of a person for the offense of keeping a place for fighting dogs, providing facilities for fighting dogs, performing services in the furtherance of dogfighting, training, owning, possessing, handling fighting dogs, the court entering the judgment shall order that the machine, device, gambling equipment, training or handling instruments or equipment, transportation equipment, concession equipment, dogfighting equipment and instruments, and fighting dogs used in violation of this act be destroyed or forfeited to the state. 21 OK Stat. Section 21-1693(6). “Fighting dog” includes any dog trained, being trained, intended to be used for training, or intended to be used to attack, bite, wound or worry another dog.
SC ST 47-3-710
(A) As used in this article “dangerous animal” means an animal of the canine or feline family: … (3) which is owned or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of fighting or which is trained for fighting … (C) An animal is not a “dangerous animal” solely by virtue of its breed or species.
SDCL § 40-1-11.1 Seizure of fighting animals and related paraphernalia—Disposition.
Any law enforcement officer making an arrest for a violation of § 40-1-10.1 shall take possession of all dogs and all paraphernalia, implements, or other property or things used or employed, or about to be employed, in the violation of any of the provisions of § 40-1-10.1. The provisions of chapters 23A-35 and 23A-37 shall apply to the search and seizure of violations of § 40-1-10.1 and shall apply to the disposition of seized paraphernalia, implements, or other property or things used or employed, or about to be employed, in violation of § 40-1-10.1. For the purposes of this section, dogs seized pursuant to a violation of § 40-1-10.1 are contraband and property of an illegal nature and shall be destroyed pursuant to § 23A-37-9.
[23A-37-9. Destruction of contraband and illegal property—Sale of articles capable of lawful use—Controlled weapons or firearms. Articles of contraband or property of an illegal nature shall be destroyed, except that any articles which are capable of lawful use may in the discretion of the court be sold and the proceeds disposed of as provided in § 23A-37-10. However, the provisions of § 23A-37-13 apply to any controlled weapon or firearm.]