After a few feathers were ruffled in debate, the Utah Senate voted Tuesday to make cockfighting a felony despite arguments that it would be too harsh. Utah currently is the only Western state where cockfighting is just a misdemeanor.
Senate Minority Leader Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City, sponsor of SB52, said the change is needed to prevent Utah from becoming a magnet for the fights and gambling on them. He displayed on the Senate floor pictures of birds killed in the fights, and held up the razor-sharp spurs they wear.
"Cockfights seek out the states with the weakest penalties," he said. Davis persuaded the Senate to pass the bill 19-9, and sent it to the House.