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What Is Cockfighting?
Cockfighting is the practice of placing cocks, also known as roosters, in a ring and encouraging them to fight to the death. While it is rare that a bird is killed in such a scuffle, the roosters might suffer injuries that end their fighting careers, at which point their owners will kill them regardless of the win. These dangerous fights attract spectators, who enjoy placing wagers on the outcome of these matches.
Owners of fighting birds have been known to breed their birds for aggressiveness. Cocks fight with their beaks and with their feet so many owners will strap razor blades to the feet of the bird to increase their lethality. Some owners will even pump their birds with steroids or other legal and illegal drugs. Cockfights have also been associated with forms of gambling as well as racketeering, illegal weapons, and drug trafficking.
Is Cockfighting Illegal?
Yes. Not only is cockfighting illegal in all 50 states, it is considered a felony in 39 of them. In addition, other related practices, including being a spectator at a cockfight, owning or transporting fighting birds, or even merely allowing cockfighting on your property, are considered illegal in some states.
What Is the Punishment for a Cockfighting Conviction?
Since the severity of the crime is measured differently in different states, there is no way to generalize the punishment across all 50 states. The severity of your punishment for violating laws related to cockfighting will depend on the state law of the jurisdiction where you are prosecuted.
Do I Need a Lawyer If I Have Been Accused of Cockfighting?
If you have been accused of this crime, a conviction could mean serious monetary penalties and imprisonment. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the legal issues particular to your state.
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Last Modified: 05-29-2014 10:40 AM PDT
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