Law Against Cockfighting
Animal cruelty can take many different forms, but the law takes active measures to stop each act. One of the ways animals have faced cruel conditions and actions before is through cockfighting. Historically, cockfighting has been a sport in which roosters are attached with weapons and must fight each other until the opponent dies. This activity is strictly prohibited in the state of California.
Elements of the Crime
Cockfighting is both a state and federal crime. In California, the act is criminalized under Penal Code 597 and at the federal level it is under the United States Animal Welfare Act. Specifically, under state law, there are several charges against cockfighting, depending on the circumstances of the case. There are separate charges for allowing, spectating, and possessing elements for cockfighting. Section 597(b) concerns those who intentionally allow cockfighting to occur on their property. Section 597(c) deals with those who are found to be a spectator to a cockfighting sport. Finally, section 597(i) has to do with the “manufacturing, buying, selling, bartering, exchanging, or possessing” of tools necessary for cockfighting. All of the above penal code sections are sections that concern the abuse of animals generally.
Punishment for the Crime
Some people may wrongly think that charges will be brought against the person who organized the cockfighting, but the penalties for even spectating the event are severe. Depending on the crime and the discretion of the prosecution, the defendant can face either a misdemeanor or a felony, with sentencing ranging from six months in county jail to three years in state prison. Each conviction also comes with steep fines.