The Humane Society of the United States wants Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo to strengthen the state’s cockfighting laws.
Humane Society CEO Wayne Pacelle’s push comes after a cockfighting ring was recently busted in McDowell, Kentucky. A USDA agent says the Big Blue Sportsman’s Club allegedly hosted illegal gambling ‘derbies’ of fighting chickens.
Three of Stumbo's distant relatives are accused of running the operation.
John Goodwin is the director of animal cruelty policy for the Humane Society. He says he doesn’t believe Stumbo’s claim that he was surprised by the allegations of illegal activity from his relatives.
Goodwin says federal enforcement of a national felony ban on cockfighting would be easier if Kentucky joined the other 41 states that have already done so.
“Kentucky has one of the weakest cockfighting laws in the nation,” said Goodwin. “The USDA’s affidavit said that is why people were coming from so many other states to the cockfights. They need to make it a felony, turn off the magnet and keep these criminals and animal abusers away from Kentucky.”
Goodwin says cockfighting isn’t the only illegal activity at these events
“The DEA has done investigations in middle Tennessee where the Gulf Cartel was trafficking narcotics through cock fighting pits there,” said Goodwin. “We’ve seen similar incidents in Texas and the Pacific Northwest. So, it came as no surprise to us that once again these illegal cockfighting pits had drug dealers present.”
Cockfighting carries a misdemeanor charge in Kentucky, though attending a fight is now a federal felony.