The San Diego County Board of Supervisors Tuesday threw its support behind a state senate bill that would increase criminal penalties for hosts and spectators of cockfights.
"This is legislation that's another step in the right direction to combat this brutal bloodsport," Supervisor Dianne Jacob said of Senate Bill 1145, which was introduced Feb. 21 by Sen. Bill Emmerson (R-Hemet).
The bill would increase fines for those who permit, aid or cause an animal fight on their premises from $5,000 to $10,000 and would increase fines for spectators from $1,000 to $5,000. Possession of cockfighting paraphernalia, such as gaffs or slashers, would be punishable with a fine of $10,000.
Supervisors voted unanimously to have staff draft a letter in support of the bill.
San Diego, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and Fresno Counties have the highest number of cockfighting incidents that involve a law enforcement response. Since January 2008, more than 100 major cockfighting busts have been made in 35 counties, according to county documents.
"This is a terrible, criminal activity that goes on in our county," said Supervisor Pam Slater-Price.
In an effort to curb cockfighting, the supervisors adopted an ordinance last year to limit the number of roosters county residents are allowed to keep on their premises.