The arrests of a couple accused of running a dogfighting operation in Chester County has led Pennsylvania congressmen to renew calls for tougher laws.
Rep. Jim Gerlach, of West Pikeland, and Rep. Pat Meehan, of Delaware County, both Republicans, urged passage of a bill that would make it a federal offense to attend an organized animal fight.
“As former prosecutors we know how crucial it is for law enforcement to have all of the tools necessary to deprive the organizers of these horrific events from receiving the financial rewards they need to continue the criminal enterprises,” Meehan and Marino said in a joint statement.
“With passage of this bill, we can give federal prosecutors more ability to crack down on animal fighting and the criminal culture that typically surrounds animal fighting events.”
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Tom Marino, a Pennsylvania Republican, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, was passed by the Senate last week, but remains in the House Agriculture Committee.
Despite bipartisan support, the bill could die if no action is taken before the end of the year.
Called the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, the bill would also institute harsher penalties for bringing minors to animal fights.
Shane Santiago and his wife Laura Acampora, both 33, were arrested last week for allegedly operating a dogfighting ring out of the home they shared with five young children in West Brandywine.
Officials accused the couple of contributing to the death of at least 10 dogs and the maiming of many more that were forced to fight in an arena in the basement of the couple’s home. Two of the dogs were found in Chester County, left for dead at the side of the road. One survived.
Santiago and Acampora are charged with over 30 counts of animal cruelty and numerous other offenses. Both remain in Chester County Prison, according to the Pottstown Mercury.
(Photo: One of the dogs seized from the West Brandywine dogfighting operation)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animal fighting, arena, basement, bill, chester county, congress, couple, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogfights, family, house, jim gerlach, laura acompora, law, legislation, pass, passage, pat meehan, pennsylvania, senate, shane santiago, spectator prohibition act
A dog name Zeke displays his basketball skills.
The town of Mount Airy has opened its first dog park.
In the works for 18 months, the Mount Airy Dog Park, located on the grounds of Watkins Park on state Route 27, will hold a grand opening Wednesday, but is already open to dogs and their walkers, according to The Gazette.
Use of the park is free to town residents, whose taxes paid to build it, but they are required to register and get a pass. Residents should bring a water bill to prove residence, and have a county registration tag for their pet.
Non-residents can get passes allowing use of the park for the rest of this year for $15. The fee is $20 starting in 2010.
At 5 p.m. Wednesday, town officials will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The town has spent about $12,000 on the park, mostly for fencing and signs.
Additional improvements – including landscaping, a pergola and pet waste posts, are expected in the future. Routine maintenance will be handled by a nearby resident volunteered to cut the grass in exchange for his two dog’s 2009 entry fees.
Pet owners must sign a waiver when registering their dog, as well as review the rules for the park, which include no aggressive dogs, picking up after their dogs, and not leaving pets unattended.
The special tags required for admittance to the Mount Airy Dog Park. are available at The Pet Loft in the Mount Airy Shopping Center, 309 E. Ridgeville Ave., Mount Airy.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 28th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: dog park, dogs, dogwalking, hiking, maryland, mount airy, mount airy dog park, new, opens, pass, tags, the pet loft, town, walking, watkins park