Animal fighting is a highly violent and brutal crime that exploits animals by forcing them to battle against one another until only one survivor remains. The ‘games’ come with high stakes and carry large purses at the price of animals enduring painstakingly slow and horrific deaths for profit and entertainment.
Animal Recovery Mission has been going undercover in these fights for years with disappointing resistance from law enforcement after our cases are completed. To ensure laws made it impossible to deny criminal activity, ARM turned to the County Commissioners of one of the most corrupt and populated areas of animal fighting operations that it has been embedded in– Miami-Dade, Florida.
Perseverance and a great relationship with shared visions has paid off. Stemming from ARM’s investigations in Miami-Dade (in particular ARM’s animal fighting investigations), this month, the Commissioners unanimously approved, ordinance 21-120, sponsored by Commissioner Danielle Cohen Higgins, that addresses animal cruelty in Miami-Dade County, Florida.
This ordinance is crucial as it includes language pertaining to the criminal activity of animal fighting, including cockfighting roosters, which has been previously dismissed from enforcement and arress.
Key components of the ordinance include;
To torture, torment, mutilate, kill, or unnecessarily overdrive any animal or to cause the same to be done. (1.1) To engage in animal fighting, including, without limitation, dog fighting or cock fighting. For purposes of this section, to be engaged in animal fighting means:
(i)to instigate, promote, advertise, charge any admission fee for, assist, hold, manage, stage, conduct, be employed in connection with, be present for the preparation of, provide an animal for, allow one’s own real or personal property to be used for, gamble on, bet on, wager on, be a spectator at, or profit from an exhibition, contest, or event featuring the fighting of an animal with another animal during which an animal may be injured, maimed, or killed;
- (ii) to bait, breed, train, transport, sell, own, possess, or use any animal for the purpose of engaging in animal fighting.
- (iii) to own, possess, or sell equipment for the purpose of engaging in animal fighting;
- (iv) to own, lease, manage, operate, or have control of any property kept or used for the purpose of engaging in animal fighting; or
to otherwise participate in any way in animal fighting.
The ordinance will now increase civil penalties and fines for acts of animal cruelty and include additional acts that can constitute animal cruelty such as ‘trunking’ and dogfighting. This new ordinance mirrors Florida state statute and enables local law enforcement and the State Attorney’s Office to prosecute those who commit these heinous acts.
“Upon becoming County Commissioner for District 8 and being exposed to the rampant amount of animal abuse occurring in South Dade, I knew we needed to act fast. Animal cruelty often goes unnoticed due to the fact that the victims do not have voices themselves,” said Commissioner Cohen Higgins. “I am proud that this ordinance passed with the support of all of my colleagues and even garnered media attention from local news. Although this topic is difficult to discuss, it is important we continue to spread awareness on behalf of the animals in Dade County.”
Read full ordinance here: https://www.miamidade.gov/govaction/legistarfiles/MinMatters/Y2021/212819min.pdf
ARM extends gratitude to the County Commissioner’s Board of Miami-Dade and everyone supporting this ordinance to further protect innocent animals.
This is a huge step in the right direction of laws passed to protect those with little to no protection, making it undeniable to execute arrests and prosecution of these violent, underground crimes against animals.