San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos is set to testify Tuesday in Sacramento on behalf of a proposed law that would increase fines for organizers and spectators of cockfighting.
The bill from state Senator Bill Emerson of Hemet would double fines for organizers of cockfights to $10,000. Spectators could be fined up to $5,000.
The San Bernardino County D.A.'s office says it has prosecuted dozens of cockfighting cases over the past year. Ramos added that current penalties are not strong enough deterrents.
His office launched a multimedia anti-cockfighting campaign earlier this year.
"It’s not just the crime of cockfighting," says Ramos. "But you also have as a part of that the infiltration of gangs, illegal drug activity that’s part of cockfighting culture, prostitution. Crime, serious crime.”
Earlier this month authorities broke up a clandestine cockfighting event being held a trucking company in Fontana. Three men were arrested and more than 200 roosters seized by animal control officers.
A new state law passed last year allows authorities to also seize property used repeatedly for cockfights.