Animal Fighting

The Washington State Legislature passed a bill in 2005 making it easier to catch and prosecute offenders.

In Washington State animal fighting is a class C felony and includes a person who knowingly:

  • Breeds, buys, sells, advertises, or offers for sale any animal with the intent that the animal will be used for fighting;
  • Participates in, advertises, or performs any service in the furtherance of an animal fight;
  • Transports spectators to an animal fight or accepts payment for admission to an animal fight;
  • Keeps or uses a place for animal fighting or allows a place to be used for animal fighting; Serves as a stakeholder for any money wagered on an animal fight; and
  • Takes or receives a stray or pet animal with the intent of using the stray animal or pet animal for animal fighting or for training or baiting for animal fighting.

The law also:

  • Defines "animal" to mean dogs or male chickens.

Steps to take if you suspect animal fighting in your community:

  1. Gather as much information while maintaining your own personal safety. (Extremely dangerous people often run fighting rings and your own safety is as important as the animals involved.) To help you gather information, ask the following:
    • Does the suspect have a large number of animals on the property (especially chained or confined and isolated, as well as quick "battle scars")?
    • Does he/she have animal fighting or training equipment on the premises such as treadmills and "break sticks" (used to pull animals apart).
    • Have you noticed unusually excessive foot traffic to and from the property at odd hours?
    • Is he/she running animal fights on the property?
  2. Once you have gathered information contact the local police department as well as your local animal control agency.
    • Make sure to get the investigating officer/agent's name and badge/id number.
    • Ask what action will be taking place.
    • Follow up with the officer/agent to make sure action has been taken.
  3. Check out other resources with these animal welfare groups to find information on federal laws, laws in other states, and other actions to take:

Thank you for taking steps to help stop animal fighting in your community.

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