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The HSUS Praises Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown for Signing Bills to Protect Animals

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Humane Society of the United States praises Gov. Jerry Brown for signing two significant animal protection reforms into law today. The new laws will upgrade California’s weak animal fighting laws, prohibit roadside sales of animals and increase criminal penalties for animal neglect.

“Governor Brown’s signing of these bills signals his desire to enact meaningful reforms protecting animals in the Golden State,” said Jennifer Fearing, California senior state director for The HSUS. “With two strokes of his pen, Governor Brown brings us closer to stopping cruel animal fighting, unscrupulous peddling of animals on roads, and heartwrenching animal neglect. We are grateful for his humane leadership.”


  • Senate Bill 426, authored by Sen. Ronald Calderon, D-Montebello, to upgrade California’s weak anti-cockfighting laws. This bill, which passed both houses of the Legislature with unanimous approval, allows landlords to evict tenants using their property for animal fighting, or keeping animals for use in animal fighting.


  • Senate Bill 917, authored by Sen. Ted W. Lieu, D-Torrance, prohibits the roadside sale of animals and increases animal neglect criminal penalties. The bill, which received bi-partisan support in the Legislature, is the combination of two bills vetoed during the last session by Gov. Schwarzenegger.  The bill bans the selling of animals along roadsides, in parking lots, at carnivals or boardwalks. This bill also increases fines and possible jail time for those convicted of animal neglect to levels consistent with penalties for felony animal abuse.


  • Cockfighting is outlawed in all 50 states and is punished as a felony in 39.
  • The editorial boards of the Bakersfield Californian, Los Angeles Times, and the San Diego Union-Tribune have endorsed tougher laws against cockfighting in California.
  • It is not a felony under California law to be a spectator at a cockfight. This makes it difficult for law enforcement to charge most people caught in cockfighting raids as participants routinely abandon their birds and claim they were only present to watch the fights.
  • Tougher laws in border states like Arizona and Oregon make California a destination of choice for cockfighters in the region.
  • Since 2008, there have been more than 110 law enforcement incidences involving cockfighting in 36 of California’s 58 counties. More than 21,000 birds have been found dead or alive in connection with the bloodsport during that time.
  • Just this past weekend, Madera County officials arrested individuals – including two juveniles – for cockfighting at a property that borders a school and has been used repeatedly for such activities. The 45 birds that were seized will all be euthanized.
  • Animals sold in unregulated, outdoor venues are often in terrible conditions. The animals are being sold often live in unsanitary crowded pens or cages, without food and/or water, in extreme heat. Some of these animals are so ill that they die shortly after purchase.

 **Video footage of undercover cockfights available for download upon request. 


The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. 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

 Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your iPhone by searching “HumaneTV” in the App Store.

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