Hawaii now known for animal cruelty
Hawaii has been cited as having one of the weakest dogfighting laws in the country.
HAWAII has been cited as being among five states with the weakest dogfighting laws in the country. Greater shame should be attached to its distinction of being among the four states with the weakest cockfighting laws. Unlike dogfighting, cockfighting is known to exist in Hawaii.
Much attention has been directed to dogfighting because of federal charges against Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, now suspended and awaiting sentencing in Virginia after pleading guilty to a felony conspiracy charge. He may face further state charges.
Idaho and Wyoming are the only states where dogfighting is a misdemeanor instead of a felony, according to the Humane Society of the United States. Hawaii barely dodged sharing that distinction this year when the Legislature upped the ante, although being a spectator at a dogfight remains legal in Hawaii, Georgia and Montana.
Cockfighting is defended in Hawaii as a "cultural" tradition. It is a felony in 35 states and the District of Columbia and a misdemeanor elsewhere. Shipping roosters across state lines for the purpose of cockfighting is a felony.
Hawaii, Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi are the only states where not only is cockfighting merely a misdemeanor but possessing implements or cocks for fighting or being a spectator at a cockfight is perfectly legal under state law. A city ordinance has made possession of gaffs, the sharp metal spurs fitted to fighting roosters, a misdemeanor.
An attempt to make cockfighting a felony was blocked five years ago when a state representative from the Big Island who headed the House Judiciary Committee blocked it, explaining, "I have a lot of cockfighting constituents." Legislators should work up enough courage to ignore the wishes of criminals to minimize their punishment.
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