United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Sep 19, 2020

§ 2156.
Animal fighting venture prohibition
Sponsoring or exhibiting an animal in, attending, or causing an individual who has not attained the age of 16 to attend, an animal fighting venture
Sponsoring or exhibiting

It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly sponsor or exhibit an animal in an animal fighting venture.

Attending or causing an individual who has not attained the age of 16 to attend
It shall be unlawful for any person to—
knowingly attend an animal fighting venture; or
knowingly cause an individual who has not attained the age of 16 to attend an animal fighting venture.
Buying, selling, delivering, possessing, training, or transporting animals for participation in animal fighting venture

It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly sell, buy, possess, train, transport, deliver, or receive any animal for purposes of having the animal participate in an animal fighting venture.

Use of Postal Service or other interstate instrumentality for promoting or furthering animal fighting venture

It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly use the mail service of the United States Postal Service or any instrumentality of interstate commerce for commercial speech for purposes of advertising an animal, or an instrument described in subsection (d), for use in an animal fighting venture, promoting 1

 So in original. Probably should be preceded by “or”.
or in any other manner furthering an animal fighting venture except as performed outside the limits of the States of the United States.

Buying, selling, delivering, or transporting sharp instruments for use in animal fighting venture

It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly sell, buy, transport, or deliver in interstate or foreign commerce a knife, a gaff, or any other sharp instrument attached, or designed or intended to be attached, to the leg of a bird for use in an animal fighting venture.

Investigation of violations by Secretary; assistance by other Federal agencies; issuance of search warrant; forfeiture; costs recoverable in forfeiture or civil action

The Secretary or any other person authorized by him shall make such investigations as the Secretary deems necessary to determine whether any person has violated or is violating any provision of this section, and the Secretary may obtain the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of the Treasury, or other law enforcement agencies of the United States, and State and local governmental agencies, in the conduct of such investigations, under cooperative agreements with such agencies. A warrant to search for and seize any animal which there is probable cause to believe was involved in any violation of this section may be issued by any judge of the United States or of a State court of record or by a United States magistrate judge within the district wherein the animal sought is located. Any United States marshal or any person authorized under this section to conduct investigations may apply for and execute any such warrant, and any animal seized under such a warrant shall be held by the United States marshal or other authorized person pending disposition thereof by the court in accordance with this subsection. Necessary care including veterinary treatment shall be provided while the animals are so held in custody. Any animal involved in any violation of this section shall be liable to be proceeded against and forfeited to the United States at any time on complaint filed in any United States district court or other court of the United States for any jurisdiction in which the animal is found and upon a judgment of forfeiture shall be disposed of by sale for lawful purposes or by other humane means, as the court may direct. Costs incurred for care of animals seized and forfeited under this section shall be recoverable from the owner of the animals (1) if he appears in such forfeiture proceeding, or (2) in a separate civil action brought in the jurisdiction in which the owner is found, resides, or transacts business.

In this section—
the term “animal fighting venture” means any event, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, that involves a fight conducted or to be conducted between at least 2 animals for purposes of sport, wagering, or entertainment, except that the term “animal fighting venture” shall not be deemed to include any activity the primary purpose of which involves the use of one or more animals in hunting another animal;
the term “instrumentality of interstate commerce” means any written, wire, radio, television or other form of communication in, or using a facility of, interstate commerce;
the term “State” means any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and any territory or possession of the United States; 2
 So in original. The word “and” probably should appear.
the term “animal” means any live bird, or any live mammal, except man.
Relationship to other provisions

The conduct by any person of any activity prohibited by this section shall not render such person subject to the other sections of this chapter as a dealer, exhibitor, or otherwise.

Conflict with State law
In general

The provisions of this chapter shall not supersede or otherwise invalidate any such State, local, or municipal legislation or ordinance relating to animal fighting ventures except in case of a direct and irreconcilable conflict between any requirements thereunder and this chapter or any rule, regulation, or standard hereunder.

Criminal penalties

The criminal penalties for violations of subsection (a), (b), (c), or (d) are provided in section 49 of title 18.

(Pub. L. 89–544, § 26, as added Pub. L. 94–279, § 17,
cite as: 7 USC 2156