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California Senate cracks down on animal fighting, replica guns

April 23, 2012 |  2:32 pm


Trainers, hosts and spectators at cockfights and dogfights would face much steeper criminal fines under legislation approved Monday by the state Senate.

There have been more than 100 major cockfighting busts in the last four years in 35 counties, but the problem persists because the amount of money that can be made in the illegal contests is substantial, said Sen. Bill Emmerson (R-Hemet).

"Clearly, the penalties and fines in California are not severe enough to deter participation in this criminal enterprise," Emmerson, the bill’s author, said on the Senate floor before the measure was sent to the Assembly for consideration.

The fines for hosting fights or training fighting animals would double to $10,000 and the penalty for being a spectator at an animal fight would jump from $1,000 to $5,000.

The measure was opposed by California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, which argued that existing punishment "amply reflects society's disapproval for such things and serves as a real deterrent."

The Senate also voted Monday to approve a bill sought by Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck that allows Los Angeles County and all cities in that county to adopt stricter regulation of BB guns and toy guns that look like real firearms. SB 1315 was introduced  by Sen. Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles) and next goes to the Assembly.

The Senate also voted 31-5 to confirm Gov. Jerry Brown’s appointment of Steven Glazer to the California State University Board of Trustees.


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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photo: A state senator wants to increase penalties for people who promote cockfighting. Credit: Ahmad al-Rubaye /AFP/Getty Images