Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer

About Dog Fighting Charges

Dog fighting is a cruel "sport" in which trained and aggressive dogs are placed in an arena to fight each other primarily for gambling and entertainment purposes. Dog fighting is a crime in the United States and is prosecuted as a felony in state courts as well as federal courts.

California has one of the toughest dog fighting laws in place. California Penal Code section 597.5 makes it a crime to:

  • Own, possess, keep, or train any dog, with the intent that the dog engage in an exhibition of dog fighting;
  • Causes any dog to fight another dog or cause any dog to injure each other;
  • Attend a dog fighting exhibition.

Any person who does any of the above two bullet points (owning, possessing, keeping, or training a dog to fight or causes any dog to fight or injure another dog) is guilty of a felony and is subject to 16 months to 3 years in state prison along with a fine of up to $50,000. A spectator of a dog fighting event is facing a misdemeanor that carries a county jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $5,000 dollars.

There are defenses available in dog fighting cases used by criminal defense attorneys such as:

  • Proof of Ownership – California prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that that the defendant owned, possessed, and trained dogs specifically for dog fighting exhibitions. This may difficult to prove since the majority of dogs are unlicensed in this type of activity. Prosecutors must also prove that the organizer utilized a property under his or her control to harbor dog fighting events, or to aid the harboring of dog fighting events.
  • Criminal Intent - This is a point of attack for a criminal defense attorney. Prosecutors must prove a spectator of a dog fight was aware and knowingly participated as a spectator. If a spectator accidentally witnessed or accidentally encountered the dog fight, that would present a problem for prosecutors.

If you or someone you know is facing dog fighting charges in Los Angeles, it is critical that you contact a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney immediately. Taking a proactive approach after an arrest can mean the difference between no charges being filed and facing a felony or a misdemeanor charge.

Defending Dog Fighting Charges

At Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners we have the knowledge and experience to defend against dog fighting charges. As knowledgeable and aggressive negotiators and criminal defense attorneys, we are ready to pursue all avenues in having your charges substantially reduced or dismissed. An attorney at the firm is ready to discuss your case and help you put together the best legal plan for your particular circumstances.

Contact us for a no-cost initial consultation. Put our 70 years of legal experience to work for you and fight for your rights, reputation and your freedom.