March 4, 2015
Utah Falls Further Behind on Cockfighting Penalties
In each of the past two years, the Utah Senate approved felony penalties for cockfighting only to have the House refuse to follow suit. On Monday, the Senate passed SB 134, which sets felony penalties for cockfighting on the second offense. However, some in the House are threatening to weaken the bill once again. This stands in stark contrast to Utah’s neighboring state of Colorado, where cockfighting has been a felony on the first offense for decades. This week, Colorado’s legislature passed legislation to increase the mandatory minimum fines for cockfighting offenses.
Sundays Hunt, Utah state director for The Humane Society of the United States, said: “Cockfighting is a felony in every state that borders Utah, and as a result our state has become a magnet for the criminals that engage in this bloodsport. While our legislature is stuck debating whether cockfighting should be a felony on a second or third offense, our neighbors in Colorado are significantly strengthening their cockfighting law, which was already one of the strongest in the nation. It’s time for Utah to finally close the door to cockfighting and pass SB 134 as is.”
- Under current law, cockfighting is punished as a Class B misdemeanor.
- 39 states punish cockfighting as a felony on the first offense, and two others on a second or third offense. Only 9 states have misdemeanor penalties, including Utah.
- Felony laws are crucial because cockfighters seek out states with the weakest laws to carry out their abusive practices.
Media Contact: Stephanie Twining, 240-751-3943, firstname.lastname@example.org