A bill that will increase penalties for attending an animal fight or bringing a child to an animal fight is headed to Governor Bill Haslam's desk after passing both the Tennessee House and Senate by an overwhelming majority vote in its favor.
The bill makes it a Class A misdemeanor to attend an animal fight or to bring a child to an animal fight. Both provisions carry maximum penalties of up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and up to $2,500 in fines. The mandatory minimum penalty for bringing a child to a fight would be a $1,000 fine.
The bill passed the House in a 90-2 vote on Monday night, and it passed the Senate in a 24-1 vote last month.
“The General Assembly has spoken loud and clear, and the message is: Tennessee will no longer be a refuge for anyone who sets animals against each other in fights to the death," said Leighann Lassiter, the state director for the Humane Society of the United States. "Senator [Bill] Ketron and Representative [Jon] Lundberg, [the bill's sponsors], and 112 of their colleagues have made our state a more humane place with their good work.”