Lawmakers want to increase cockfighting penalties - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Lawmakers want to increase cockfighting penalties

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

It's an underground, illegal activity across the nation and if you ask John Goodwin with the Humane Society of the United States, Mississippi is a magnet for it.

"This cruel blood sport is wide and pervasive in various nooks and crannies around the state," said Goodwin.

Goodwin says cockfighting is big business in Mississippi and for good reason. That's because he says Mississippi has the second weakest cockfighting law in the nation, just ahead of Alabama.

"There is a large cockfighting pit in Tippah County up near Ripley that attracts people from all over the country even though it's a felony to cross state lines for an animal fighting venture," said Goodwin.

While cockfighting is illegal in the state, getting busted is only a misdemeanor and the maximum fine is just $100. That law went into the books back in the 1800's and hasn't been adjusted for inflation, allowing the benefits to outweigh the consequences.

"As a result we have a lot of cockfighters who have come here to take advantage of the weak penalties," said Goodwin. "So, basically Mississippi is attracting crime by having a weak penalty for cockfighting."

Several bills at the state capitol are trying to change that. One would increase the maximum fine to $500 and another would make cockfighting a felony on the second offense. Mississippi is one of ten states without a felony provision. Senator Deborah Dawkins is behind the felony bill and says it's because current penalties aren't enough.

People who engage in these activities do not seem to be taking them seriously," said Dawkins, a democrat from Pass Christian.

Dawkins would like to see a felony after the first offense but says the change has to move slowly. By increasing penalties, Humane Society state director, Lydia Sattler says she hopes perceptions on animal cruelty will change.

"People think that just because it's a bird, that's it's not a dog or a cat, that it doesn't have to be treated humanely," said Sattler.

Lawmakers also want to work with neighboring states to make sure penalties are increased as well so the problem doesn't just move across state lines. Those cockfighting bills are awaiting committee approval.

Copyright 2013 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

  • NEWSMore>>

  • Annual Fall Muster brings history to life at Beauvoir

    Annual Fall Muster brings history to life at Beauvoir

    Saturday, October 21 2017 4:22 PM EDT2017-10-21 20:22:22 GMT
    The Beauvoir property was transformed into a Civil War battlefield, complete with weapons, tents, and reenactors in period attire. (Photo source: WLOX)The Beauvoir property was transformed into a Civil War battlefield, complete with weapons, tents, and reenactors in period attire. (Photo source: WLOX)

    The thunder of cannons and rattle of musket fire shook the grounds at Beauvoir on Saturday for the annual Fall Muster reenactment.

    More >>

    The thunder of cannons and rattle of musket fire shook the grounds at Beauvoir on Saturday for the annual Fall Muster reenactment.

    More >>
  • 2 pedestrians struck in Hub City, 1 killed, Biloxi man charged

    2 pedestrians struck in Hub City, 1 killed, Biloxi man charged

    Saturday, October 21 2017 1:22 PM EDT2017-10-21 17:22:03 GMT

    A pedestrian was struck and killed, another seriously injured, and a Biloxi man is behind bars after an early morning wreck in the Hub City.  Justin Williamson, 25, of Biloxi, was arrested and charged with DUI-negligence resulting in death after an early morning crash on U.S. 49 by Interstate-59 and according to Hattiesburg Police Department Capt. Branden McLemore.  McLemore said a man and woman were both walking along the road around 2 a.m. when they were struck by the ve...

    More >>

    A pedestrian was struck and killed, another seriously injured, and a Biloxi man is behind bars after an early morning wreck in the Hub City.  Justin Williamson, 25, of Biloxi, was arrested and charged with DUI-negligence resulting in death after an early morning crash on U.S. 49 by Interstate-59 and according to Hattiesburg Police Department Capt. Branden McLemore.  McLemore said a man and woman were both walking along the road around 2 a.m. when they were struck by the ve...

    More >>
  • Ingalls explosion leaves employee in critical condition

    Ingalls explosion leaves employee in critical condition

    Saturday, October 21 2017 1:18 PM EDT2017-10-21 17:18:04 GMT
    (Photo source: WLOX)(Photo source: WLOX)

    An Ingalls employee is fighting for his life in a Mobile hospital after an explosion at the shipyard left him in critical condition Friday morning.

    More >>

    An Ingalls employee is fighting for his life in a Mobile hospital after an explosion at the shipyard left him in critical condition Friday morning.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly