Few cockfighting cases prosecuted since blood-sport banned
Tuesday, October 12th 2004, 11:05 am
News On 6
TULSA, Okla. (AP) A survey of 27 district attorneys has found only a few cases of people being prosecuted for cockfighting and no one sentenced to jail since the blood-sport was made a felony by state voters nearly two years ago.
The ban made it a felony to raise birds for fighting or to participate in cockfights, with penalties of up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. Being a spectator was made a misdemeanor.
According to the survey by the Tulsa World, the stiffest sentence so far is two-year deferred sentences and 40 hours of community service handed to three people in Oklahoma City who were charged in April with possessing birds with intent to engage in a cockfight.
Five felony cockfighting cases are pending in Cotton County, assistant District Attorney Mark Clark said.
Another six people who attended a cockfight near Randlett were charged with misdemeanors, he said. Several of these defendants have pleaded guilty and received probation, Clark said.
``Some people have inquired about cockfighting,'' Clark said. ``We've told them that it's illegal, that we would prosecute. They didn't listen and went out and did it. We went out and had them arrested.''
In Woodward County, in western Oklahoma, three men were charged in April with felony cockfighting offenses, said District Attorney Ray Don Jackson.
But the three men disappeared, along with 50 roosters, between the time sheriff's deputies observed the cockfighting and warrants were obtained for their arrests.
Still, at least one prosecutor said he thinks the new law has been effective.
Most Oklahoma cockfighters have gotten out of the business because ``they saw the writing on the wall,'' said District Attorney Tim Kuykendall, who prosecutes crimes in Cleveland, McClain and Garvin counties.