Lt. Gov. wants dog fighting covered under RICO statutes to help curb gang activity

Georgia’s lieutenant governor believes dog fighting is a way some criminal street gangs fund their operations, so he’s trying to make it easier for prosecutors to go after it.

Lt. Gov. Burt Jones told Channel 2′s Richard Elliot that he wants to extend Georgia racketeering laws to include dog fighting.

“It just goes along with kind of your criminal gang activity,” Jones said.

Jones is proposing bringing dog fighting under the RICO statute -- the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act -- allowing prosecutors to go after more people using a racketeering charge if they’re associated with fighting dogs.

“We’re looking to expand that. That statute will capture those dog fighting rings because a lot of the same players that are involved in that activity are involved in some other pretty horrible things as well,” Jones said.


Milledgeville Republican state Sen. Rick Williams is carrying the bill into the Senate.

“I think it’s a pretty bad problem,” Williams said.

He told Elliot that expanding Georgia’s racketeering laws to include dog fighting will give prosecutors another tool to go after those kinds of crimes and another way to go after gang activity.

“This will also give them a way to put those people in jail, behind bars. No one should use animals, helpless animals hurting each other, or dogfighting, as entertainment,” Williams said.

Dog fighting is part of the lieutenant governor’s public safety package he intends to introduce into the Senate.