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January 5th, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) A new bill being proposed in Costa Rica would punish those who profit from, promote, commercialize, or train dogs with the purpose of involving them in dogfights, with up to three years in prison. The proposal would prohibit the fighting of both dogs and other animals.
The initiative was proposed by legislator Walter Cespedes, who said that it is extremely important to prohibit the practice, as well as to establish severe punishment, in order to stop the commercial fighting of dogs and other animals.
“These fights represent acts of violence in our country and they damage children’s and teenagers’ psycho-emotional development, whom often get involved either directly or indirectly in these events. All Costa Ricans must take the approach to mitigate these activities, knowing that they are harmful for maintaining a healthy and peaceful civil behavior that should characterize the Costa Rican population,” he said.
The proposal prohibits, without exception, the public or private fighting, and any competition involving aggression, mistreatment and possible injury of dogs.
It also states that owners of certain dog breeds such as American Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, and Bull Terriers, must request a prior authorization from the National Animal Health Service (SENASA) to own, reproduce, sell or otherwise commercialize such animals, and the owner of the dog must carry the authorization card that identifies him as the owner, breeder, or other authorized handler of the animal.
The owners of dogs that are found in any place used for dog fighting, as well as the event managers, referees, and others involved in the event, would face jail sentences between 6 months and 2 years, and would also be prohibited from having any relationship with dogs for a period of 1 to 3 years. The dogs would also be confiscated, and those involved in the events would also face fines from 7 to 50 base salaries of a licensed professional.
SENASA said that it has found that there are certain breeds of dogs, such as Stafford Terriers, Bull Terriers and American Pit Bulls, among others, that are used and trained to make them more aggressive, turning them into “attack machines,” not only towards other animals, but humans as well.
SENASA says that after the fights, the participating animals are often abandoned with lethal wounds. The females who have ended their reproductive cycle are often abandoned in public places, putting the lives of the population at risk, as well as risking the lives of the animals.