Anybody who has not been hiding under a rock lately has heard about the legal troubles facing a certain high profile professional athlete and his purported involvement in Dog Fighting. The legal problems facing Michael Vick stem greatly from the participation across state lines in betting on, “sponsoring” and even hosting dog fighting events. Nobody knows exactly what this athlete’s involvement was in these accusations, and until the court process runs its course we’ll all just have to sit back and watch it unfold.
However; have you ever wondered how California feels about this practice? What possible punishment might you face? And how involved do you really need to be to get in trouble? Let’s just say, the law is pretty broad. In a word the practice is illegal, even if all the activities remain exclusively in California, never crossing any state lines.
For instance, if you host, bet, wager, receive a bet or wager, or even pretend to bet or wager, or lets say you attend an event and your friend asks you to hold money that he has bet on the event, you have committed a crime. If you maintain facilities used primarily for purposes of hosting these events such as a shed, or a fighting pit, or a filing cabinet filled with records, or maintain records in your home of transactions processed at these events, paperwork, or even dog kennels you could be at risk for arrest. Even if you are simply an owner of a home that is being used by someone else living there to host these dog fighting events, you can be arrested and prosecuted with either a misdemeanor or a felony.
Let’s face it. Most of us have never been asked to attend a Dog Fight, and most of us would have no idea how to go about finding one, even if we did want to go. But all it would take is a little curiosity and an invite to find your self in deep water with the law.
If you’ve ever attended one of these events, or have friends who are involved, their freedom may be at risk under California law, that is, if they are not facing more serious trouble under Federal law, you or they should speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney.