Feb 24 2011

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Cockfighting reveals need for stronger enforcement

Authorities last week raided a cockfighting  operation in Tyler, confiscating 44 roosters and detaining about 20 persons who  were present at the cockfight.

The Humane Society of the United States  (HSUS) provided the information that led to the sting, but most of those at the  scene were released because Texas is one of just six states that permits  attending a cockfight, to posses birds for the purpose of fighting, and to  possess cockfighting weapons.  Pending legislation would restrict such  activities.
Representative Wayne Christian, R-District ing online 9, is  sponsoring an HSUS-supported bill to make it illegal to attend a cockfight or to  possess roosters for the purpose of fighting.  HSUS Director of Animal  Cruelty Policy John  Goodwin is enthusiastic about the new legislation.
“We commend the Smith County Sheriff’s Department  for taking allegations of animal fighting seriously,” he said.   “Cockfighting will continue to be a widespread problem in Texas until a law is  passed to punish those who make this gruesome crime profitable.”
Cockfighting is illegal in all 50 states, and a  felony in 39.
Prosecution of this crime in Texas is difficult because  merely being present at a cockfight is not yet outlawed.  Those caught at  fights claim they were only watching.  The Texas anti-cockfighting law  is weak, allowing the keeping and training roosters to fight.  Therefore  surrounding states which have tougher laws come to Texas to hold their  tournaments.
The HSUS offers rewards of up to $5000 for information on cases of already-illegal animal fighting, and informants’  identities are kept secret.
Anyone with news of illegal animal fighting  should call (877) TIP-HSUS (847-4787.)

Permanent link to this article: http://www.easttexasreview.com/cockfighting-reveals-need-for-stronger-enforcement/