Cockfighting only a misdemeanor crime in Ohio - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Cockfighting only a misdemeanor crime in Ohio

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It's likely the men rounded up in the cockfighting bust will get a slap on the wrist and a fine. Cockfighting is only a misdemeanor in Ohio.

 It's no surprise to the Humane Society of the United States that dozens of people were busted in a cockfighting ring in Fulton County.
 Authorities say Ohio is a magnet for this crime.

"Ohio is one of 9 states where cockfighting is not a felony, so if you're busted doing cockfights in Ohio, you're probably going to be charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty, which is pretty much a slap on the wrist," says John Dinon, Ohio Director of Outreach and Engagement for the Humane Society.      
     
 The fighting roosters are brought from other states. They have knives or blades on their legs and they're forced to fight to their death

"If you don't care about roosters, you still don't want cock fighters coming to your state. When there's animal fighting, since there's illegal gambling, there's always a lot of cash, which means there's weapons, and it's very frequent that there's narcotics involved as well," says Dinon.
           
 Animal experts have been working for years to pass a law would make cockfighting a felony in Ohio.  

There are a couple of things holding up the process, says Dinon. "One, whenever you want to increase a crime to felony penalties, there's always an argument that the jails are already overcrowded, and the legal justice system is overtaxed. The agricultural sector is concerned, because they are afraid that any regulation of animals will impact farming. Now, in this case, as I said the Farm Bureau Federation and the Ohio Poultry Growers Association both back [a new law]," he says.

But, until the law is changed, cockfighting in Ohio will continue to be a misdemeanor. If you're found guilty of cockfighting in Ohio, you could be sentenced to 30 days in jail and a 250 dollar fine.

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