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Cockfighting farmer speaks to dozens following major Bryan County bust

Published: Mar. 14, 2021 at 11:31 PM CDT
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BRYAN COUNTY, Okla. (KXII) - Dozens of people got together in Bryan County on Sunday to hear from a cockfighting farmer after a major bust a few weeks ago.

They met in the same arena where it took place and up to 300 people could face charges.

He’s trying to raise money for legal fees to help, but animal wellness advocates say enough is enough.

“Animals that are raised for fighting, they’re placed in a pit that they can not escape, they have weapons attached to their legs,” said President of Animal Wellness Action Wayne Pacelle.

“You’re simply testing and competing the game cock, to test it for the natural genetic traits that God put into the creature, when he created it,” said farmer B.L. Cozad.

Cockfighting has been illegal in Oklahoma for 20 years, and not only is it illegal, it became a felony in Oklahoma in 2002.

“So even before there were animal protection groups, citizens and law makers sensed that there was something wrong - there was something against our humanity.. to stage fights between animals,” Pacelle said.

But after a major cockfighting ring bust in Bryan County, Cozad said he doesn’t agree with the laws in place.

“If my creator gave me the dominion over the animals I own, who’s another man to supersede God and take those animals away from me?” Cozad said.

Cozard was a private investigator for over two decades.

“The government is telling me what I can and can’t do with my property, to make a living, the equivalent of this law is saying it’s illegal to own a beef cattle with the intent of harvesting beef.. because the job of the government is to protect the cattle from the cattle rancher,” Cozad said.

But Pacelle said cockfighting could be compared to other illegal organized crimes like drug trading.

“The people involved know that it’s a crime. It is something that should not be tolerated,” Pacelle said.

Cozad spoke in Bryan County on Sunday, where he briefed residents on his beliefs of why the laws should be taken down.

“I’ve seen families divorced, a man go to jail for over a year because of this unconstitutional law.. I’ve seen people have their homes taken away,” Cozad said.

Pacelle says cockfighting is still very active in Southern Oklahoma, and it needs to be stopped.

“We are very proud of the Bryan County Sheriff’s Office for their efforts in stopping this crime,” Pacelle said.

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