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Kentucky Dog Hunters Against Dog Fighting Bill in General Assembly

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The so-called dog fighting bill was approved by a committee two weeks ago, but it still hasn’t been heard by the full House.

The Kentucky Houndsmen Association has come out against the bill, which would prohibit owning, breeding, training or selling a four-legged animal used for fighting. Violators would be charged with a Class D felony.

Presently “activities authorized either by a hunting license or by the Department of Fish and Wildlife” would be exempted by the bill. But Doug Morgan, President of the Kentucky Houndsmen Association, said since some dog owners don’t have a hunting license, the legislation could make felons out of everyday citizens

“What if you let your dog out of your house and it chases a squirrel? You don’t have a hunting license and you’re not under the auspices of the Fish and Wildlife Deparment, you’re a felon,” Morgan said.

The bill doesn’t explicitly mention dogs. House Speaker Greg Stumbo, a Democrat from Prestonsburg who sponsored the bill, said it was written to also ban fighting other animals like pigs, bears or horses.

“How many instances are there in this Commonwealth of Kentucky where there’s rings of these deviants that buy horses? There’s not,” Morgan said. “But there is thousands of people that hunt with dogs and the anti-hunting people want to put us out of business.”

Morgan said he’s writing language that would limit the bill to dog-on-dog fighting and will look for a legislator to sponsor an amendment.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives. Email Ryland at rbarton@lpm.org.