8.31.2008

Ask the Sheriff: Cock Fighting

Cockfighting was at one time considered to be an accepted, traditional sporting event in the United States. In many other areas around the world, cockfighting is still practiced as a mainstream event. I was curious as to whether or not cock fights were a typical find for our valiant men in blue here in northern MN, so made another call to my local Sheriff's office at 1930 Sunday night. (Unfortunately, since I was calling on the weekend, I didn't get to speak to my regular deputy):

Sheriff: Sheriff's Department, Bill speaking.

Me: Hi, Bill. This is not an emergency. I have an odd question - do you have a minute?

Sheriff: Shoot! No...wait... don't shoot! Go ahead. (police humor)

Me: I am wondering if cock fights are illegal in our county?

Sheriff: Yes, ma'am. I can't say what the city ordinances are, but in the county, yes.

Me: Is it only cock fights that are illegal? What about sled dog fights? Bull fights? Preschool-age boys? Or is it just the gambling that commonly accompanies these type of fights that is illegal?

Sheriff: No ma'am. I believe its an issue of animal cruelty. Are you planning on having a cock fight or something? [Sounding suspicious]

Me: Oh no, [forced laugh] I was just curious..... If I was found guilty of hosting a cock fight or gambling on a cock fight, would I qualify for a public defender?

Sheriff: I believe so. But in the 10 years I have worked here, we have never prosecuted a code 24, so I wouldn't know for certain.

Me: What about the Indian Reservation - do you think the fights are legal there?

Sheriff: That is not our jurisdiction, ma'am. You'd have to contact them.

Me: Do you have their phone number?

Sheriff: You'll have to look it up. Good afternoon.

Me: Thank y...CLICK

After contacting the Sheriff's office about this heinous crime, I followed it up with a little googling. Here are some interesting facts:

West Virginia was the only place I could find police codes for the activity, along with codes for dynamiting for fish, gypsies, and white slavery.

On August 15, 2008, Louisiana became the last state to outlaw the rooster fights, a move that cockfighting enthusiasts say marks the end of a rich rural tradition.

For you enthusiasts, take heart: If you're willing to travel, cockfighting remains legal on American soil in Puerto Rico, American Samoa and Guam plus there are many illegal cockfights in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi.

Congress last year toughened federal animal fighting laws and criminalized commerce in cockfighting weapons - razor-like blades attached to roosters' legs during fights. Unfortunately I was unable to find a catalog that sold these little mini-weapons. Even, surprisingly, Sky Mall.

The combination of new federal and state laws has combined to sap Louisiana's cockfighting industry, which supporters said eliminated what used to be a regular source of business for the state's hotels, restaurants and feed stores. (Read more)


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3 comments:

David said...

Thank you for giving WV credit for being on the leading edge of justice.

Take that - haters out there that make fun of WV!!!

Meg said...

In my home town, we're known for dog fights.

So yeah, WV is looking pretty darn good. ;)

unfinishedrambling said...

I'm glad Congress took on such an important issue facing our nation like that. With issues like, I don't know, war in Iraq, Afghanistan and almost every other country in the world (except Africa, of course), the economy and health care, it's about time they took on the really serious issue facing our country: razor-like blades attached to roosters' legs. :)