AMERICAN CANYON, Calif. _ (KCBS) 40 people were arrested in Napa County this past weekend and two people were killed in Merced County, all connected to illegal cockfighting.

John Goodwin, a manager of Animal Fighting Issues at the Humane Society of the U.S. said this is becoming more of a problem.

“Around the state of California, law enforcement has been cracking down on cockfighting pretty hard,” he said. “But until the penalties are strong enough to offset the gain that comes from breaking the law, this is going to continue to be a problem.”

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Napa County sheriff’s deputies arrested 40 suspects off American Canyon Road Saturday afternoon. And two men were killed over a $10 wager at an illegal cockfight in Merced.[pullquote quote=”Until the penalties are strong enough… this is going to continue to be a problem.” credit=”Humane Society’s John Goodwin”]

Goodwin said the main issue in the state is that cockfighting laws are far too lenient.

“In most states, if you’re arrested for cockfighting, you can be punished with a felony charge on the first offense,” said Goodwin. “But in California, to be punished with a felony, you have to have been caught and convicted multiple times.”

Goodwin said one of the Humane Society’s top legislative priorities for 2011 will be to pressure the California legislature to pass a first-offense felony cockfighting law.


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