MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - An important piece of animal protection legislation is under attack.
FOX10 News has been following HB27, which is now SB393, for more than a year and nearly 5,000 of you have signed our online petition to get the bill passed.
It strengthens penalties for animal cruelty.
The bill passed the House of Representative with no opposition. It passed a Senate Committee, again with no opposition.
Over the weekend, however, the Alabama Game Fowl Breeders Association, or ALGBA, took a stance against the bill. They said it affects cockfighting, an already criminal act, and that it violates our constitution.
We see case after case of animals abused or neglected and little punishment for those responsible.
This was the inspiration for Linda Dooley to write HB27.
"Cock fighters cannot be prosecuted under this law, not at all," Dooley said.
The ALBGA still sent this e-mail out to rally opposition:
"You must oppose this bill. It will affect cock fighters even though it does not amend the cockfighting law. This is a trick. Cockfighting is susceptible under paragraph (a)(1) and (a)(3). Here is how they get to cockfighting: Defining "torture" by excluding everything that this law considers "legal" leaving what ever is not included in the exclusion as "torture". In other words cockfighting is not protected for being considered "torture". See paragraphs (1) through (5) which do not preclude cockfighting from being considered as "torture" under this law. This law will allow a person not only to be charged with cockfighting which is a specific separate statute but also under this statute specifically for "cruelty" as a result of "torture" of an animal as defined by this law by precluding cockfighting from protection."
The ALGBA said the bill will allow a person to be prosecuted for cockfighting under both laws.
That's despite action by the bills State Senate Sponsor Marc Keahey to specifically exclude cockfighting.
Although Dooley said the association's concerns are not valid, the organization has a loud voice in Montgomery but it's up to the senators to decide which voice to listen to.
"I think the voices of the people have been told already. I think it's a choice that they need to make which side they are going to be on. Are they going to be are they going to be the side of the law abiding citizen and take my bill and get it to be voted on before the end of the legislative session or are they going to stall so that they don't have to deal with this issue? And by stalling, they are going to be choosing the side of the criminal," Dooley said.
FOX10 News has spoken to several state senators in our area all of who said they support the bill.
"It sounds like something non controversial and commonsensical," said Senator Rusty Glover of Mobile.
If you want to make your voice heard and take a stand for animals across the state of Alabama, you have to be louder than the opposition.
That means you need to call and email your state senators and say you want this bill on the floor and passed.
We tried to contact members of the ALGBA but their phone numbers were not working. Here's their response via e-mail.
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