On Thursday, The Assembly Judiciary Committee voted to approve legislation to make dog-fighting a third degree crime in New Jersey.
According to Thursday's NJ.com News, organizers of dog-fighting operations would be treated like "mobsters" under the new bill.
The legislation, sponsored by Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, would add dog-fighting to the list of offenses which would be considered racketeering activity in New Jersey.
Johnson, as quoted in Politiker NJ, stated:
Dog fighting is deplorable and should be prosecuted as a criminal act,"
"Unfortunately, New Jersey has seen far too many cases of this kind of criminal treatment toward animals in our communities. It's time to strengthen state law by imposing stronger penalties for dog fighting and its ring leaders."
Johnson's sponsored bill would ensure that those individuals convicted of dog-fighting crimes will face stiffer penalties, including longer jail time and higher fines. The legislation would also prohibit convicted dog-fighters from owning animals in the future.
Following today's vote, the bill moves to the Assembly Speaker who will decide when it will be available for a floor vote.
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