June 9, 2010 By Wallin & Klarich

Dog fighting has been a popular subject ever since NFL quarterback Mike Vick was convicted. California has increased criminal penalties for being a spectator of an organized dog fight. Prior to this change, Penal Code section 597.5, subdivision (b), provided that any person who was knowingly present as a spectator at a place where preparation for a dog fight took place, was guilty of a misdemeanor. Now, the legislature has added the language specifying that this person will be guilty of an offense punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for up to one year, or by a fine up to five thousand dollars ($5,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment.

At the same time, the law continues to allow the use of dogs in the management of livestock by the owner of the livestock or his or her employees, in hunting as permitted by the Fish and Game Code, and in training of dogs or the use of equipment in the training of dogs for any purpose not prohibited by law.

Modification of section 597.5, subdivision (b), has exemplified an ongoing effort by the California legislature to financially cripple and eventually eliminate this widely-spread practice. The modification becomes effective together with another section of the California Penal Code, section 598.1, which gives the prosecution charging an individual with a violation of section 597.5, the right to file a petition for forfeiture and confiscate certain profits, proceeds, and instruments used in illegal dog fighting activities.

Now with increased penalties, it is important that you speak with an experience attorney if you are charged with dog fighting. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience in handling all types of criminal matters. We are constantly researching the law to stay current with any changes. This allows the attorneys to give our clients the best representation they can get. We will examine every fact in your case to be sure you get the best possible result in your case. Call us today at (888) 280-6839 or visit us on our website at www.wklaw.com. We will be there when you call.

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