Senator Rick Williams (R – Milledgeville) introduced Senate Bill 68 which adds the criminal offense of dogfighting to the list of crimes that constitute “racketeering activity” under Georgia’s racketeering and organized crime (RICO) statute.
“Criminals who use innocent animals for profit and entertainment should be penalized accordingly,” said Lt. Governor Burt Jones. “I am honored to support this legislation and thank Senator Rick Williams for his commitment to addressing a problem that impacts local communities around the state. This legislation is another piece of the puzzle in cracking down on gangs and other criminal organizations operating in our state.”
“This is a short bill with a big impact,” said Senator Williams. “No one should abuse dogs for entertainment or profit, and this legislation will give police and prosecutors another tool to properly go after those engaged in this criminal activity.”
Under Senate Bill 68, the commission of two or more dogfighting offenses (or a conspiracy to do so) would constitute “a pattern of racketeering activity” that would subject the participants to liability under the RICO statute and allow them to be punished as an organized criminal enterprise. In addition, RICO offenders would be subject to civil forfeiture of any property used or gained as part of the criminal dogfighting enterprise. The statutory change would also subject those involved to penalties under Georgia’s gang statute if dogfighting is associated with gang activity.
First Reader Summary – A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Code Section 16-14-3 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to definitions regarding racketeer influenced and corrupt organizations, so as to include the offense of dogfighting as racketeering activity; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
See Senate Bill 68 HERE.