Cockfighting is the practice of placing cocks in a ring and encouraging them to fight to the death. Spectators will place wagers on the outcome of these matches.
Cocks are male chickens also known as roosters. Roosters typically do not get along well with other roosters and thus fights will occur when they come into contact. However, it is rare that a bird is killed in such a scuffle. If they survive their fight the bird might have suffered injuries that end their fighting careers, at which point their owners will kill them regardless of the win. Birds will lose eyes, suffer punctured lungs, ripped feathers and more in these fights.
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 organized crime, illegal weapons and drug trafficking.
Is cockfighting illegal?
Yes cockfighting is illegal in all 50 states, and it is considered a felony in 39 of them. In addition other related practices like being a spectator at a cockfight, owning or transporting fighting birds or even 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 will depend on the state law of the jurisdiction where you are prosecuted.
I’ve been accused of cockfighting or a related crime, do I need a lawyer?
If you have been accused of this crime, a conviction could mean serious monetary penalties and imprisonment. A knowledgeable attorney can help you navigate the legal issues particular to your state.