Animal rights group pushing for stronger laws that could help stop dog fighting

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala (WIAT) – The Greater Birmingham Humane Society says dog fighting is a major problem in Jefferson County. This comes as the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office continues to search for two suspects who ran from the scene of a dog fighting operation bust Sunday in Mulga. 

Executive Director of GBHS, Allison Black Cornelius says laws regulating dog breeders in the state or within cities could help stop the issue. Cornelius says people who run dog fighting operations often breed the dogs as well. She says they may advertise to sale the dogs. Cornelius says if inspectors could regularly inspect breeder’s facilities they could catch offenders who are running dog fighting operations and puppy mills.

Angie Ingram founded the Alabama Puppy Mill Project that is working to get legislation passed to require regulation of breeders statewide. 

“The whole point of this is to regulate breeders. It’s a huge problem in Alabama. One question we’ve been asked a lot of times is how do you know how many breeders are in the state of Alabama. When you don’t regulate and you don’t license these people. You really don’t have a way to know that.” said Ingram.

The organizations plans to push the bill during the 2019 legislative session. The bill does not have a name yet. It was called Atti’s Bill during the 2017 legislation, but it was never passed. Cornelius says if legislation like that passed it will make it easier for people to report suspicious activity if they notice a large number of dogs at someone’s residence.

“If you’re selling on Facebook or online, you have to get a registration number, and we can start tracking puppy sales in that respect. And be able to go out and see if they have a license and figure out how many puppies they’re selling.” said Ingram.

Jefferson County County Manager, Tony Petelos, says the county is limited on what they can do and depend on the state to pass legislation. Petelos says it’s important for the community to remain alert.

“The public needs to be aware. And if they suspect something contact the police department or sheriff’s office and let them check into it.” said Petelos.

Ingram says the group is currently working to pass an ordinance in the city of Bessemer which would require regulation of dog breeders. Ingram says if it passes she hopes it can be a model for other cities.

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