President Bush has signed into law federal legislation that makes it a felony to transport dogs, birds, and other animals across state lines for the purpose of fighting.
The new Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act, which the President signed May 3, took effect immediately. Violators could face three years in jail and a fine of up to $250,000.
The bill was approved by the House of Representatives by a 368-39 vote on March 26 and was unanimously passed by the Senate on April 10.
Taking animals across state lines for fighting purposes was previously a misdemeanor, but was upgraded partially due to lobbying by animal rights groups, who argued that misdemeanor charges did little to discourage the culprits.
Dog fighting is illegal in all 50 U.S. states and cockfighting is illegal everywhere in the U.S. except Louisiana.