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New Law Strengthens Anti-Animal Fighting Penalties

LANSING (WWJ/AP) - Bills that strengthen penalties for organized animal fighting have been signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder.

The new law allows authorities to declare properties involved in animal fighting to be a nuisance. It also allows authorities to padlock the property and paves the way for the seizure and sale of its contents, including automobiles.

Supporters included Michigan Humane Society and the Michigan State Bar. They say the goal is to stem the rise of animal fighting rings and dog fighting, particularly in the Detroit area.

Dog fighting has long been a problem in the city, but officials say they are seeing an increase in their occurrence. A recent case involved Detroit rapper "Young Calicoe," whose real name is Toranio Hightower, who was charged for his role in an animal-fighting operation that allegedly started in July 2009.

Snyder said in a statement the new law gives "law enforcement the tools they need to put a stop to animal fighting."

TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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