Dog Fight – Watching is Illegal

This blog will discuss the consequences of attending a dogfight in the state of Michigan.  A person violates the law against dogfights if he or she (1) is present at a dogfighting exhibition and (2) knows that the dogfighting exhibition is taking place.
A recent Michigan Court of Appeals case discusses the law against attending a dogfight.  In that case, People v. Orlando Eugene Stevens, the Defendant was present in the garage in which a dogfight was taking place.  In the garage, there was a ring that took up about half of the garage.  There was barking, whimpering and cheering.  There was blood on the walls, and two bloody, injured dogs inside the ring with their jaws locked together.
Based on the evidence provided, the trial court convicted the defendant of attending a dogfight.  The conviction was based on the fact that Defendant was clearly present at a dogfighting exhibition; in fact, this is where he was arrested.  Further, he was in the garage in which all of the above took place.  The Defendant argued he was not watching, witnessing, or participating in the fight.  However, the statute only requires that an individual be present and have knowledge that a fight is occurring.  It would have been impossible for Defendant to not know he was at a dogfight.  Defendant’s intent on attending the dogfight is irrelevant, as all the statute requires is that the Defendant know he is at a dogfight.
The main takeaway from this discussion is that it does not matter whether you intend to attend a dogfight.  The main issue is whether you are aware you are at a dogfight.  Simple knowledge of your presence at a dogfight is sufficient to convict you of attending a dogfight.
If you or a loved one is facing charges involving a dogfight, please contact our office to discuss your situation.


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