February 10, 2009
Animal Advocates Rally at Idaho Capitol Annex Urging Lawmakers to Make Cockfighting, Animal Cruelty Felonies
BOISE, Idaho — More than 50 citizens from across Idaho gathered at the temporary state Capitol today to meet with their lawmakers and urge them to consider legislation to make both animal cruelty and cockfighting a felony. The citizen lobbyists participated in Humane Lobby Day, which is organized by The Humane Society of the United States.
"Humane Lobby Day is the first step in starting a relationship between Idaho animal advocates and their legislators," said Lisa Kauffman, Idaho state director for The Humane Society of the United States. "Recent high profile cruelty cases, and a July cockfighting bust that netted numerous participants from out of state, demonstrate that Idaho needs to increase the penalties on both issues in order to truly deter criminal animal abuse and cockfighting."
In cockfighting, roosters with knives strapped to their legs are forced to fight to the death. In Idaho, cockfighting is punishable by a fine from $100 - $5,000 and/or up to 6 months of imprisonment.
Cockfighting derby winners often have prizes in the tens of thousands of dollars. Therefore, the low penalties for the crime can be easily offset by gambling winnings. Without stronger penalties, Idaho risks being a magnet for cockfighters seeking to avoid felony penalties in surrounding states.
About Animal Cruelty
Recent high-profile animal cruelty cases involved a cat whom was shot through the eye with an arrow and left to die and a local cattle rancher whose herd of 250 was seized due to neglect and starvation. Animal cruelty is linked to violence against humans. Violent criminals frequently have histories of serious and repeated animal cruelty. The FBI has recognized the connection since the 1970s, when its analysis of the lives of serial killers suggested that most had killed or tortured animals as children.
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.