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Rooster Laws

The Shamo game breed

Proposed law needs to protect people showing game breeds for poultry exhibition from penalty.

There are good reasons for roosters in the city. Most importantly, roosters guard chickens from predators (e.g., stray dogs, cats, hawks). Roosters can be raised as pets, roosters can be raised for breeding and perpetuating endangered breeds, and roosters can be raised for food. Raising roosters for cockfighting, though, is not among the good reasons.

Last year, when The City of Austin considered a ban on roosters in the city, we
learned of an interesting loophole in Texas law allowing people to raise cocks for fighting but not allow cockfighting itself. In one instance, a woman had a neighbor with an oversized lot who managed to follow city code yet keep 20 roosters, each in their own separate pen, all in sanitary conditions and in compliance with other poultry codes. There are not many reasons to have that number of roosters individually housed long-term without poultry show exhibition or other education purposes.

Now that the Texas Legislature is back in session, there is a chance to change those existing laws addressing cock fighting.

In the 82nd Legislature, Representative Wayne Christian has (re-)introduced a bill to strengthen existing laws against cockfighting with more severe penalties, H.B. 1043. Cockfighting related materials and activities can result in felony charges. Under the currently drafted bill, we would recommend that subsection (b)(4) for a person owning or training a cock for use in an exhibition of cockfighting also be treated as a felony instead of a misdemeanor when other devices listed in this bill associated with cockfighting are also present. We want to insure that the wording penalize raising cocks for fighting while protecting those raising game breeds for poultry exhibitions, a hobby which helps keep many chicken breeds alive and with good genetic lineage.

There will be a public hearing in Austin, Texas on 3/29/2011 for the Texas Committee on Jurisprudence on the matter. If you are interested in expressing your opinion on the proposed bill, we encourage you to contact your representative to let him/her know your thoughts.

More information on the bill is included below.

====================================== ========================
HB 1043 Information: http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB1043

Find Your Representative: http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/

3/29 Meeting Agenda: http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/82R/schedules/html/C2202011032900001.HTM

COMMITTEE: Criminal Jurisprudence
TIME & DATE: Upon final adjourn./recess?Tuesday, March 29, 2011
PLACE: JHR 120 ?CHAIR: Rep. Pete Gallego

Representative Christian: http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/?district=9
House District 9–Representative Wayne Christian
Capitol Office: CAP GN.7
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0556
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
District Address: 202 E. Pillar, Room 209
Nacogdoches TX 75961
Phone: (936) 560-3982

Representative Lucio III:
http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/?district=38
House District 38–Representative Eddie Lucio
Capitol Office: EXT E2.510
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0606
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
District Address: 2402 West Bus Hwy 77, Suite I
San Benito TX 78586
Phone: (956) 361-2795

Representative Zedler:
http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/?district=96
House District 96–Representative William ‘Bill’ Zedler
Capitol Office: EXT E1.302
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0374
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
District Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin TX 78768

Representative Rodriguez:
http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/?district=51
House District 51–Representative Eddie Rodriguez
Capitol Office: EXT E2.408
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0674
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
District Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin TX 78768
Phone: (512) 463-0674

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear Representative:

I am writing regarding HB 1043 introduced by Representative Christian and scheduled for a public hearing on 3/29 as noted at:

http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB1043

I commend Representative Christian and his colleagues’ efforts on this bill to close a loophole on raising cocks for fighting, and I request that you also support this bill, with even more stringent cockfighting laws than listed. Specifically, I would like to see item 4 of the proposed bill for “owns or trains a cock with the intent that the cock be used in an exhibition of cockfighting”, to be evidenced by cockfighting equipment listed in the bill, also be a felony. It is agreed that there are reputable persons who raise cocks for show, but such persons do not have the fighting cock equipment identified for purposes of poultry exhibition.

While there are many good reasons for a rooster in a residential backyard flock, raising roosters for cockfighting is not one. Thank you for your support of stronger legislation to criminalize such behavior.

Sincerely,

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