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Cockfighting Bill, Texas HB 1043 update

Shamo

How will the bill delineate birds for show from fighting?

Updates to 3/29 Public Hearing on Texas H.B. 1043:

The Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence had a full agenda.  The discussions on cockfighting began later in the evening. Key points included:

1) Cockfighting has been illegal in Texas since 1908.

2) Texas is one of only six states where it is not a criminal act to be a spectator at a cockfight.

3) H.B. 1043 is modeled on current effective dogfighting laws in Texas.

There was testimony in both support and in opposition of the bill that literally continued for hours. There were some people who raised exhibition poultry who expressed their concerns that their equipment for show birds could be misidentified as cockfighting paraphenalia. The Committee members noted they would examine the wording of the bill to more clearly identify the matters.

Under the current draft of the bill, a person who owns or trains a cock with the intent of using in cockfighting is charged with a misdemeanor, not with a felony as with other parts of the bill.

The hearing went on into the early morning hours. The bill as of 3/30, is listed as “Left Pending in Committee”.  At this point, the bill’s language could be reworded and voted upon by the committee, or it is possible the bill would not leave committee. See the latest bill updates here.

ACTION ITEM

Please contact The Texas House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence’s members to express your support (or requested changes) for the bill. The contact information for the Committee members is listed below. Pete Gallego is the Committee Chair, Wayne Christian introduced the bill, and the following representatives are joint authors: Eddie Lucio III, Eddie Rodriguez, and William “Bill” Zedler.  Also consider contacting your local representatives.

A sample letter recommending “training, boarding or possession of birds or posessing paraphenalia (spurs, slash[ers], etc.) for cockfighting” be a felony instead of a misdemeanor follows.  Feel free to customize the wording or write your own letter.

CONTACTS AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

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

COMMITTEE: Criminal Jurisprudence

Representative Christian: Email

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 Gallego: Email

Rep. Gallego, Pete P. District 74 Capitol Address: Room CAP 4N.9, Capitol
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
(512) 463-0566
(512) 236-9408 Fax
District Address: P.O. Box 777
Alpine, TX 79831
(432) 837-7383
(432) 837-1153 Fax

Representative Lucio III: Email

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 ZedlerEmail
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: Email
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 <name here>:

Thank you for your hard work and perseverance on HB 1043.  This is a bill long overdue in Texas to provide “teeth” to prosecute illegal activity.

I support the bill but would request even stronger penalties (felonies) regarding: “”training, boarding or possession of birds or possessing paraphernalia (spurs, slash[ers], etc.) for cockfighting”.  Note that over 30 other states in the U.S. treat the acts listed in the previous sentence as felonies, as noted by The Human Society at:

http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/pdfs/cockfighting_chart_2010.pdf

I have included requested changes to the current bill’s wording as follows:

Sec. 42.105.  COCKFIGHTING…..

b)  A person commits an offense if the person knowingly:

(4)  owns or trains a cock with the intent that the cock be used in cockfighting as evidenced

by the presence of gaff, slasher, or other sharp implements designed for attachment to a cock with the

intent that the implement be used in cockfighting ;

(5) manufactures, buys, sells, barters, exchanges, possesses, advertises, or

otherwise offers a gaff, slasher, or other sharp implement designed for attachment to a

cock with the intent that the implement be used in cockfighting; or

(c)  An offense under Subsection (b)(1), (2), (3),(4) or (5) is a state jail felony.

Note in (b)(4) I have added language to further clarify how to identify cocks raised with intent of cockfighting from those being raised for show birds.

Thank you again for your time and dedication to stronger laws against cockfighting.


Sincerely,

<your name>

<your district>

<your contact information>

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