Attending cockfights could be crime

FUENTE: THE ADVERTISER

20 / ABRIL / 2010

BY MIKE HASTEN • MHASTEN@GANNETT.COM

BATON ROUGE – Participating in a cockfight as an observer or betting on the outcome could soon become a crime.

Louisiana outlawed cockfighting as of Aug, 15, 2008, and imposed fines and jail time for conducting rooster fights but it’s still secretly going on in some parts of the state. The same applies in several of the 49 other states that also have outlawed cockfighting.

Sen. Danny Martiny, R-Metairie, told a Senate committee Tuesday that until it’s against the law to attend a cockfight, people will keep doing it.

If Martiny’s SB38 becomes law, anyone who participates in cockfighting by attending, paying admission to watch or betting on cockfights would be subject to a fine of up to $500 and six months in jail.

“Cockfighting will not stop because you pass laws,” said Jim Demourelle of Ville Platte, who raises fighting chickens and for years fought them. “The same goes for drunk driving,” which continues despite many laws against it.

To comments that five locations in Louisiana staged cockfights, Demourelle said he doubts it because “I think I would have been invited.”

Demourelle said he now raises roosters for show and is a licensed judge for poultry shows.

What concerns him about the bill, he said, is that cockfighting opponents could file a claim that he participates in the events and his chickens could be seized and killed while he was imprisoned awaiting trial.

He asked the committee to insert an amendment that prohibits the extermination of any roosters so if anyone charged with the crime is acquitted, he could get his chickens back unharmed. He said the same provision is in the state dogfighting law.

Demourelle said even the dogfighting provision doesn’t always work, but it gives a dog owner legal recourse if he is acquitted.

He said a Lafayette pit bull breeder, Floyd Boudreaux, was improperly accused of dog fighting and his 53 dogs were euthanized. Boudreaux has filed suit.

“I’m not saying don’t arrest people,” Demourelle said. “All I’m asking is that you protect my fowls.”

Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton, said that although he is opposed to cockfighting, he could see Demourelle’s side that “it would be difficult to sit back and see what was your business destroyed.”

Committee Chair Sen. Yvonne Dorsey ruled that Demourelle’s proposed amendment was improper. The panel unanimously approved Martiny’s bill, sending it to the Senate for debate.

~ by politicaesaccion on April 20, 2010.

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