U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins, a federal judge in Alabama, has ordered participants in a high-stakes dog fighting operation to pay a record $2 million in restitution. Judge Watkins levied the payments last month on individuals who pleaded guilty in the multi-state case. This is a very good result and Judge Watkins is to be commended for his order. I don’t believe we can be too hard on people who do what these Defendants did.
Officials with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society of the United States said it was the largest restitution amount ever ordered by a federal judge in a dog-fighting case. The restitution will go to the two animal welfare organizations, which provided care for the 451 dogs seized in the case. But even if all the money is paid, the groups say it won’t come close to covering the $5.5 million they reported spending on the dogs’ care.
I am convinced that if a person will mistreat a dog – and that includes the type treatment described in this case – that person will also likely be prone to violence generally. Hopefully, Judge Watkins’ order will get the attention of all people who are in the dog-fighting business or may be thinking about getting in that sordid enterprise.
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