Legislative Coverage

Minority Leader Wants to Make Cockfighting a Felony in Utah

(KCPW News) Cockfighting will join a list of cruelty to animal felony offenses in Utah, if Senate Minority Leader Gene Davis has his way. He’s sponsoring Senate Bill 52, which would make owning, keeping or training fowl for the purposes of cockfighting a third degree felony.

“We are the only state in the entire West that does not have fowl fighting, traditionally called cockfighting, in our laws as a felony,” Davis said. “It’s a blood sport; it’s designed to draw blood, and to inflict pain, and to inflict harm to other animals.”

The activity is a felony in all but 11 U.S. states, and Davis says that it’s time for Utah to toughen its laws.

The legislation is endorsed by the Utah Humane Society – who recently offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Utah cockfighters.

Carl Arky, the organization’s Communications Director, says that Utah is inviting illegal activities.

“The people who participate in it enjoy blood sport, but they also enjoy gambling,” he said. “Along with the gambling, you also get drugs, you also get weapons that are brought to these fights. It’s not a very safe environment…yet we’re inviting it in by not making it a felony when everyone else around us already has.”

The Humane Society has a tip line for people to report cases of animal cruelty: 1-877-TIP-HSUS.

Senator Davis’s legislation has been sent to the Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee for further review.

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