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Dogfighting is a situation in which one dog attacks or fights another dog. Dogfighting is also a blood sport where dogs that have been bred, conditioned, and trained to fight are placed in a pit to fight each other for spectator entertainment and profit. Dogfighting—as defined in state and federal statutes—is a felony criminal offense in all states and under federal law.

The definitions and penalties or punishments for dogfighting vary from state to state but usually provide that a person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly:

(1) causes a dog to fight with another dog;

(2) participates in the earnings of or operates a facility used for dogfighting;

(3) uses or permits another to use any real estate, building, room, tent, arena, or other property for dogfighting;

(4) owns or possesses dogfighting equipment with the intent that the equipment be used to train a dog for dogfighting or in furtherance of dogfighting;

(5) owns or trains a dog with the intent that the dog be used in an exhibition of dogfighting; or

(6) attends as a spectator an exhibition of dogfighting.

The criminal offense for dogfighting is sometimes included in state statutes that make it illegal to cause various kinds of animals to fight (dogs, bulls, cocks, etc.). Dogfighting is also illegal under the federal Animal Welfare Act (statute) that prohibits “animal fighting ventures” and is located in the United States Code at 7 U.S.C. §2156.

In Texas, dogfighting is strictly prohibited and is considered a felony offense under the Texas Penal Code. The law specifically outlines that it is illegal to cause a dog to fight with another, participate in the earnings of dogfighting, operate or use a facility for dogfighting, own or possess dogfighting paraphernalia with the intent to train or engage in dogfighting, train a dog for fighting, or even to attend dogfights as a spectator. These actions are punishable by severe penalties, including imprisonment and fines. Additionally, dogfighting is also a federal offense under the Animal Welfare Act, which prohibits animal fighting ventures. The federal statute, found at 7 U.S.C. §2156, reinforces the illegality of dogfighting and provides for federal penalties in addition to state-level consequences. It is important for individuals to be aware that engaging in any activities related to dogfighting can lead to significant legal repercussions.

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