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May 30, 2013

Nevada Legislature Cracks Down on Cockfighting

Gov. Brian Sandoval urged to sign SB 83 into law

Holly Haley, Nevada state director for The Humane Society of the United States, issued the following statement applauding the Nevada Legislature for passing a bill to strengthen penalties against cockfighting:

“This legislation will make cockfighting a felony on the first offense, bringing it in line with Nevada’s dogfighting law. A weak penalty for a first offense is a ‘get out of jail free’ card for people who put knives on the legs of roosters and have them fight to the death. If signed into law, this measure will send a strong message to cockfighters that the people of Nevada won’t tolerate this barbaric bloodsport. We thank Senator Mark Manendo and the Senate Committee on Natural Resources for championing this bill, and we urge Governor Brian Sandoval to sign it into law immediately.”

Facts:

  • If Gov. Sandoval signs the bill, Nevada will become the 37th state with a first-offense felony cockfighting law. First-offense felony laws in states are crucial because cockfighters seek out states with the weakest laws to carry out their abusive practices. Three other states have felony penalties for repeat offenses, and 10 other states only have misdemeanor penalties.
  • Cockfighting is illegal in every state, and all animal fighting that affects interstate commerce is punishable as a federal felony under the Animal Welfare Act.
  • 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.
  • Congress is considering legislation—the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act—to further strengthen the federal animal fighting law by making it a crime to be a spectator at a dogfight or cockfight, with additional penalties for bringing a child to the fight.

Media Contact: Rebecca Basu, 240-753-4875, rbasu@humanesociety.org

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