§61-8-19a. Animal fighting ventures prohibited.
(a) For the purpose of this article, "animal fighting venture" means any event that involves a fight conducted or to be conducted between at least two animals for purposes of sport, wagering, or entertainment: Provided, That it shall not be deemed to include any lawful activity the primary purpose of which involves the use of one or more animals in racing or in hunting another animal: Provided, however, That “animal fighting venture” does not include the lawful use of livestock as such is defined in section two, article ten-b, chapter nineteen of this code or exotic species of animals bred or possessed for exhibition purposes when such exhibition purposes do not include animal fighting or training therefor.
(b) It is unlawful for any person to conduct, finance, manage, supervise, direct, engage in, be employed at, or sell an admission to any animal fighting venture or to knowingly allow property under his care, custody or control to be so used.
(c) It is unlawful for any person to possess an animal with the intent to engage the animal in an animal fighting venture.
(d) Any person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $300 and not more than $2,000, or confined in the county jail not exceeding one year, or both so fined and confined: Provided, That if the animal is a wild animal, game animal or fur-bearing animal, as defined in section two, article one, chapter twenty of this code, or wildlife not indigenous to West Virginia, or of a canine, feline, porcine, bovine, or equine species whether wild or domesticated, the person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $2,500 and not more than $5,000, and imprisoned in a state correctional facility for not less than two nor more than five years, or both fined and imprisoned.
(e) Any person convicted of a violation of this section shall be divested of ownership and control of such animals and liable for all costs of their care and maintenance pursuant to section four, article ten, chapter seven of this code.Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2016 Regular Session