Texas Penal Code 42.105 – Cockfighting
WHAT IS COCKFIGHTING IN TEXAS?
The Texas law against cockfighting prohibits knowingly participating in or attending a spectating event in which roosters fight one another, training roosters to fight, possessing sharp implements strapped to the roosters during a fight, and permitting cockfighting on their property.
WHAT IS THE COCKFIGHTING LAW IN TEXAS?
Tex. Penal Code § 42.105. COCKFIGHTING.
(b) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly:
(1) causes a cock to fight with another cock;
(2) participates in the earnings of a cockfight;
(3) uses or permits another to use any real estate, building, room, tent, arena, or other property for cockfighting;
(4) owns or trains a cock with the intent that the cock be used in an exhibition of cockfighting;
(5) manufactures, buys, sells, barters, exchanges, possesses, advertises, or otherwise offers a gaff, slasher, or other sharp implement designed for attachment to a cock with the intent that the implement be used in cockfighting; or
(6) attends as a spectator an exhibition of cockfighting.
(c) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the actor’s conduct:
(1) occurred solely for the purpose of or in support of breeding cocks for poultry shows in which a cock is judged by the cock’s physical appearance; or
(2) was incidental to collecting bridles, gaffs, or slashers.
(d) An affirmative defense to prosecution is not available under Subsection (c) if evidence shows that the actor is also engaging in use of the cocks for cockfighting.
(e) It is a defense to prosecution for an offense under this section that:
(1) the actor was engaged in bona fide experimentation for scientific research; or
(2) the conduct engaged in by the actor is a generally accepted and otherwise lawful animal husbandry or agriculture practice involving livestock animals.
(f) It is an exception to the application of Subsection (b)(6) that the actor is 15 years of age or younger at the time of the offense.
(g) An offense under Subsection (b)(1) or (2) is a state jail felony. An offense under Subsection (b)(3), (4), or (5) is a Class A misdemeanor. An offense under Subsection (b)(6) is a Class C misdemeanor, except that the offense is a Class A misdemeanor if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the person has been previously convicted of an offense under that subdivision.
WHAT IS THE PENALTY CLASS FOR COCKFIGHTING IN TEXAS?
The penalty classification for cockfighting depends on the person’s conduct, and level of culpability.
- State jail felony, punishable by 180 days to two years in a state jail facility, if the person commits the offense by:
- causing one cock to fight another; or
- participating in the earnings of cockfighting
- Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in county jail, if the person commits the offense by:
- using or permitting another to use property for cockfighting;
- owning or training a cock with the intent that it be used to cockfight; or
- manufacturing, selling, buying, possessing, or otherwise offering a gaff, slasher, or other sharp implement designed to attach to a cock in a cockfight; or
- attending a cockfight as a spectator, and the person has a prior conviction for Class C misdemeanor cockfighting;
- Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum $500 fine, if:
- attending a cockfight as a spectator, unless the person has a prior conviction for Class C misdemeanor cockfighting, in which case it is a Class A misdemeanor.
WHAT IS THE PUNISHMENT RANGE FOR COCKFIGHTING IN TEXAS?
The punishment range for cockfighting charged as a Class C misdemeanor is a maximum $500 fine. A person charged with Class A misdemeanor cockfighting faces up to one year in jail, and a maximum $4,000 fine. Cockfighting charged as a state jail felony carries between 180 days and two years in a state jail facility, and a maximum $10,000 fine.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR COCKFIGHTING IN TEXAS?
A person charged with cockfighting may be eligible for probation after a conviction, or deferred adjudication without a conviction. There is no probation term for a Class C misdemeanor conviction, but a person may be placed on deferred adjudication for up to 180 days.
A person charged with cockfighting as a Class A misdemeanor may be placed on community supervision for a period not to exceed two years. The community supervision term for a state jail felony may range from two to five years, with the possibility of extending supervision for up to ten years.
- What are probation conditions for cockfighting in Texas? Texas Code of Criminal Procedure article 42A.511 permits a judge to order a person on community supervision for offenses involving animals to relinquish custody of all animals, complete psychological counseling, and the judge may prohibit the person from possessing or owning animals.
WHAT ARE THE DEFENSES TO COCKFIGHTING IN TEXAS?
A person charged with cockfighting may raise an affirmative defense if the person was breeding roosters for poultry shows, or the conduct was “incidental to collecting” bridles, gaffs, or slashers.
Other statutorily authorized defenses to cockfighting exist for a person conducting bona fide scientific experimentation for research, lawful animal husbandry, or engaging in agricultural practices.
- Can minors be charged with cockfighting in Texas? The Texas cockfighting statute creates an exception for spectators under 16 years of age. This means a person 15 years old or younger who attends a cockfight as a spectator may not be convicted of Class C misdemeanor cockfighting in Texas. A person under 16 years old may, however, be charged with Class A misdemeanor or state jail felony cockfighting if the minor is actively breeding or fighting roosters, participating in the earnings of a cockfight, or is in possession of sharp implements.
WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR COCKFIGHTING IN TEXAS?
The limitation period for cockfighting categorized as a misdemeanor is two years. For cockfighting classified as a state jail felony, the limitation period is three years.
COCKFIGHTING IN TEXAS
Texas law punishes a person who breeds, trains, possesses, and fights roosters or participates in the earnings of cockfighting. A person may also be charged with cockfighting for permitting others to use property for cockfighting, possessing sharp implements designed to be used in cockfights, or merely spectating at a cockfighting event.
TEXAS COCKFIGHTING COURT CASES
The case law regarding cockfighting in Texas shows the application of the statute.
- In Nelson v. State, the defendants were convicted of possession of cockfighting implements after police raided land suspected of being used for cockfighting. Police found dead roosters obviously injured with objects, live roosters with sharp objects attached to them, and pits used for cockfights on the property. One of the defendants admitted to a box of sharp cockfighting implements being his. The appellate court affirmed the convictions, finding sufficient evidence.
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