Toughen the laws on dog-fighting in Illinois

Opinion

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More than 400 dogs of "pit bull" breeds are euthanized daily in Illinois, nearly 150,000 each year. This is directly the result of clandestine breeding mills which provide dogs for dog-fighting. Normally placid, loving dogs, these unfortunate breeds are favored because of their large jaws. After months of torture and beatings, they, as any animal, are easily taught to attack as a means of self-preservation.

Dog-fighting presents a problem for human society as well. Betting on dog fights is used to obtain money for drug purchases, part of the cycle of crime, fatherless families, poverty, and poor education. People who leave their dogs unattended in their backyards and find them missing quickly learn that those dogs may well be used as "bait" in dog fight training. The children who are desensitized by "training" the dogs and then attending dog fights become desensitized to human suffering and may become the violent offenders of tomorrow.

I have contacted my state senator, who is on the judiciary committee, about toughening the legislation, in particular, by making anyone trafficking, attending, betting, or raising dogs for fighting subject to the same felony penalties as heroin dealing. As a member of the judiciary committee, he is positioned for real reform, but his response was a cold, unconscionable statement that "things go slowly" in Springfield.

This month another 1,200 dogs will be euthanized in the Chicago area, and children who train, observe, and bet on the brutal, inhumane fights will be led into crime. More than 95 percent of the serious crime in urban areas is drug-related, and dog-fighting is one of the elements of this cycle. Who benefits from the legislative procrastination? Toughen the laws.

Les Golden
Oak Park

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