Indiana Bill Increases Funding for Illegal Animal Gambling Prosecutions

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Indiana is introducing legislation that is designed to make it easier to look after the evidence related to illegal animal fighting rings. The aim is to cover the expenses involved in looking after the animals while cases work their way through the courts.

Senate Bill 423 seeks to increase what is covered by “reasonable expenses” of bonds issued by the courts for the animals that are impounded when illegal animal gambling rings are broken up. The bill states that the bond will cover costs, including medical care, quarantine, shelter, and food.

The changes to the law will enable gambling regulators to work with the organizations that are involved in raids on illegal animal gambling rings.

Animal fights fall under the auspices of the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) as they involve betting. While the fights are illegal, over the past seven years, the IGC has dealt with 50 cases, including in Hendricks, Owen, Morgan, Montgomery, and Wells. As a result, there have been roughly 2,000 birds and 20 dogs seized.

Dennis Mullen, the IGC’s General Counsel, said that the undercover Gaming Control Unit works with Indiana’s Board of Animal Health as well as the police, sheriff’s offices, and local prosecutors throughout the entire process.

He explained that as the bond often doesn’t currently cover the real costs, organizations that work with the IGC, such as the Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), often end up paying.

Furthermore, in addition to ensuring that the bond is closer to the real costs, the bill also relaxes the requirements for euthanasia, which regulators say are too limiting and cause risks to both other animals and humans.

At present, the law only allows euthanasia if an animal is in extreme pain, and this is considered too limiting. The bill will allow euthanasia if a licensed veterinarian decides that an animal poses a serious threat to other animals or people or if the euthanasia would be in the animal’s “best interest”.

Would the Increased Prosecution Finance Help the Cause?

Law enforcement and regulators hope that Bill 423 will be a lot of help in finding and assisting such animals in need.

The bill intends to enhance the ability of law enforcement and gambling regulators to prosecute illegal animal gambling cases by increasing funding for the care of seized animals and addressing limitations in the current euthanasia requirements.

The mentioned Indiana bill focuses on increasing funding for illegal animal gambling prosecutions, particularly in relation to covering the expenses associated with caring for animals seized during raids on illegal animal fighting rings. The bill seeks to expand the scope of "reasonable expenses" covered by bonds issued by the courts for impounded animals.

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