Lawmakers: Cockfighting practices won't go unnoticed - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Lawmakers: Cockfighting practices won't go unnoticed

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The Humane Society of the United States urged those who have witnessed animal fighting to call its tip line. (FOX5) The Humane Society of the United States urged those who have witnessed animal fighting to call its tip line. (FOX5)

State and local leaders held a press conference on Thursday announcing to the public that cockfighting is now a first-offense felony in Nevada.

"It's a bad day for those who fight animals in Nevada, but a good day for Nevada and it's citizens," said Holly Haley, Nevada state director for the Humane Society of the United States. 

Haley has been working extensively along with other advocates to help pass this bill during the 2013 legislative session.

State Sen. Mark Manendo, D-Dist. 21, along with Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez-Masto and the Clark County district attorney, were also present. 

Cortez-Masto highlighted how the practice is inhumane and mistreats the roosters forced into cockfighting.

"Animal fighting is barbaric, has no place in our state," Cortez-Masto said. "I'm glad we have improved our state's laws to deter this crime."

Wolfson also spoke out saying his office has hired a chief deputy D.A. who will exclusively handle animal cruelty cases and that his office is prepared to handle any cases as they come in.

"About three months ago I assigned a chief deputy district attorney who exclusively handles animal cruelty cases, so we're to prosecute folks for this behavior," Wolfson said. "If your involved in animal cruelty, you're going to be prosecuted." 

As of Oct. 1, cockfighting in Nevada was a second-felony offense and only punished a cockfighter at the misdemeanor level after the first offense.

Manendo has been at the center of getting SB83 passed through the Legislature during the 2013 legislative session. He said the new law shows Nevada is moving in the right direction.

"Cockfighters should be warned, Nevada has a strong law, we have enthusiastic law enforcement officers," Manendo said.

Roosters are often tethered to make them more aggressive, razors used on their feet while they fight, and then cockfighters make the roosters fight until one of them gets killed.

"Our new cockfighting law also penalizes the possession of the cockfighting paraphernalia," Manendo said.

Stacia Newman with Nevada Political Action for Animals has worked for years to get stronger penalties against those who engage in this practice.

"It's a very brutal a very vicious type of blood sport and it should be illegal."

Newman says now that the law has stricter penalties, she says cockfighters will likely move the roosters from their backyards into closed garages. She wants to warn the community how to watch for this illegal practice.

"If they hear any clucking going on, especially now that they're being take in to the garages, they really need to call."

The Humane Society of the United States is giving out a $5,000 award to anyone who notifies authorities of this practice and it leads to an arrest.

To contact HSUS, you can call 877-TIP-HSUS (847-4787)or contact the local animal control in Las Vegas at 702-455-7710.

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