Cockfights Continue Despite Ban

4-24-05- Despite a cockfighting ban approved by Oklahoma voters in 2002, many in the game fowl business continue to operate. While cockfights have been driven far underground, the breeding industry appears to have survived.

In McCurtain County, Rupert Cogburn and his wife Merilynn continue to crate up occasional orders for roosters and hens and deliver them by air mail, but the couple's flock has shrunk by about a third.

Law enforcement officers and prosecutors say without proof that
the birds are used for fighting, there's little they can do.

An informal survey found just four incidents leading to arrests
under Oklahoma's felony ban on the activity. All involved actual
cockfights or substantial evidence of one.

The only convictions to date involved three people in Oklahoma
City who received two-year deferred sentences. The other
defendants, all in southern and eastern Oklahoma, are awaiting

Meanwhile, breeders have been spared the law's possible ten-year
sentence and 25-thousand-dollar fine.