Cockfighting Charges Filed But Fights Still Planned

(Oklahoma City-AP) -- The Oklahoma Coalition Against Cockfighting has asked the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and county sheriffs to shut down cockfights scheduled for this weekend. The coalition has identified scheduled fights in several locations, including Kellyville and Muldrow.

The state Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the ban on cockfighting was constitutional, over arguments from game fowl breeders and pit owners that it robbed them of their livelihood without compensation. Louisiana and New Mexico are the only states where the sport is legal.

The ruling reversed injunctions issued by county judges that blocked enforcement of the ban in more than 25 rural counties, mostly in eastern Oklahoma. The ban makes it a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a 25-thousand dollar fine to hold cockfights, to keep equipment or facilities for cockfighting or to possess the birds.

Already, charges have been filed in Oklahoma County. District Attorney Wes Lane
filed cockfighting-related charges against three Oklahoma City residents. But locally, law enforcement and district attorneys say they’re waiting on clarification from the state before enforcing the ban.