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Statement on Texas Cockfighting Shooting Deaths

John Goodwin, director of animal cruelty policy for The Humane Society of the United States issued the following statement about the three deaths at a South Texas cockfight:

“The killing of three people at a South Texas cockfight last night is the latest violent incident in what appears to be a national trend. This is the third fatal shootout at a cockfight in 2012 alone, resulting in five deaths. Children are often brought to cockfights and exposed to animal cruelty and potential human violence. Current laws must be strengthened to crack down on this criminal activity and prevent these tragedies. The United States Congress should move quickly to pass the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act. This bill would expand the federal animal fighting law to cover spectators, with even stronger penalties for anyone that brings a child to an animal fight.”

In February, one man was killed at a cockfight in East Texas. The following month, a teenage boy shot and killed a man at a cockfight in California.

About Cockfighting:

  • Reps. Tom Marino, R-Pa., and Betty Sutton, D-Ohio, have introduced H.R. 2492, the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, to broaden the federal animal fighting law to cover spectators. It is the spectator’s admission fees and gambling dollars that fuel illegal animal fighting operations. Felony penalties are provided for anyone that commits the additional offense of bringing a child to an animal fight. Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Mark Kirk, R-Ill., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Scott Brown, R-Mass., have introduced a Senate version of the bill, S. 1947
  • Common cockfighting practices include breeding birds for viciousness, drugging them to heighten aggression, and fitting their legs with deadly weapons — that is, razor-sharp knives or gaffs, which resemble curved ice picks.
  • Law enforcement raids across the country have, again and again, documented the connection between cockfighting and other crimes — including distribution of illegal drugs and weapons violations due to the large amounts of cash present for gambling.
  • Despite common sense and reason, children are often brought to cockfights by their parents — which may expose them to animal cruelty and rampant crime.

Media Contact: Katie Jarl – 713-516-7892 – kjarl@humanesociety.org

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