Va. lawmakers approve tougher animal fighting laws

March 4, 2008 5:48:27 AM PST

Governor Tim Kaine supports the legislation, which passed the Senate unanimously and had previously cleared the House of Delegates. It's unclear when he'll sign it.

The bill would make even attendance at any organized animal fight, not just dogfights, a felony.

Participating in cockfighting would become a felony. Currently it is a misdemeanor if gambling is involved, but otherwise cockfighting is legal.

The bill contains other provisions regarding how property searches are conducted in animal cruelty cases and the use of substances and equipment to improve the animals' fighting ability.

A federal law that took effect last year makes animal fighting activities that cross state lines felonies.