LANSING (WWJ/AP) – The Michigan House is considering bills that would strengthen penalties for organized animal fighting.
The House on Tuesday is expected to vote on a legislation that would declare properties involved in animal fighting to be a nuisance. It would allow authorities to padlock the property and pave the way for the seizure and sale of its contents.
One House bill is the same as a Senate bill unanimously passed in September as part of a three-bill package.
Republican Sen. Rick Jones sponsored the Senate legislation. He says he expects the House will pass it and Gov. Rick Snyder will sign the package.
The goal is to stem the rise of animal fighting rings and dog fighting, particularly in the Detroit area.
Dog fighting has long been a problem in the city, but officials say they are seeing an increase in their occurence. Last month, Detroit rapper “Young Calicoe,” whose real name is Toranio Hightower, was charged for his role in an animal-fighting operation that allegedly started in July 2009.
Police began investigating Hightower after a video of the rapper talking about the dog fights went viral. In the video, Hightower takes a tour of a home on the city’s west side, leading visitors through a yard full of animal cages with roosters and pit bulls inside.
The home featured in the video was raided by the Detroit Police Department and Michigan Human Society, which removed several dogs and other animals, in July 2012.
Hightower, and two others who are charged in the case, are expected to appear in 36th District Court on Nov. 27 for a preliminary examination.
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