New tool to battle cockfighting introduced in House

Anyone who is caught watching an illegal cockfight would be guilty of a misdemeanor under legislation introduced in the state House on Tuesday.

House Bill 724, sponsored by Rep. Chuck Sims, R-Ambrose, gives law enforcement another tool in their efforts to shut down the illegal industry. Cockfighting is already illegal in Georgia, but, Sims said, police cannot charge spectators at the fights unless they are caught in the act of gambling.

Sims said his sheriff asked for the bill.

“The sheriff can’t make a case against someone just standing around,” Sims said. “They may be gambling but (police) can’t prove they’re gambling.”

Sims said Sheriff Doyle Wooten has tried to shut down cockfighting rings but has been stymied.

“We had a bunch of folks down in South Georgia several months ago,” Sims said. “When he tried to make the arrest, he had no law that gave him the power to make the arrest. He had to let them go.”

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