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Local leaders must stop promoting criminal activity and support the enforcement of a federal cockfighting ban, Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action, said on Wednesday.

Washington DC-based Pacelle and Animal Wellness Action have pushed for a crackdown on rooster fights on the island. He acknowledged that the government of Guam itself was not responsible for enforcing the ban, but said leaders who expressed their opposition were in defiance of the law.

“What I asked is that they don’t encourage criminal activity, that they don’t comfort people who break the law by saying, ‘Oh, this is just a cultural activity.’ “said Pacelle.

Federal crime

“This is a federal crime, the rule of law is important, elected officials take an oath and part of that oath is towards the Constitution of the United States,” he said, adding that the challenges of the ban had already been overturned in court.

According to Eric Sakach, animal fighting expert for Animal Wellness Action, the rooster fighting bans were different from the situation with the drug trade, especially marijuana. As several states move towards more lenient drug policies, in opposition to the federal war on drugs, drugs were a problem of personal use and not a problem that harmed other living things, he said. he declares.

A flock of chickens searches for food at the edge of an open field in Yigo on the morning of Thursday, November 25, 2021.

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Guam law states that enforcement of the ban is not a priority for local law enforcement. With no local law banning the practice, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said the unfunded ban was left to federal agencies.

But local laws cause moral confusion among citizens, Pacelle said. Failure to support the ban would comfort rooster fighters and put them at risk of up to five years in jail and $ 250,000 in fines for breaking federal animal fighting law. Despite the lags, federal enforcement of animal rights laws was increasing over time, he said.

“We have stricter criminal enforcement of the animal fighting law than we’ve ever had … and Congress has passed a number of appropriation bills to provide money specifically for this type of ‘application,’ he said.

There was adequate federal law enforcement in Guam to crack down on rooster fighters, from the US Marshalls to the FBI, and Animal Wellness Action will continue to push for stricter enforcement on the island.

Legal pursuits

He warned residents participating in what he said was an upcoming cockfighting derby at the Dededo Dome as they could face criminal charges.

The group previously released a “secret schedule” for the derby, which is due to start on New Years Day, he said. The AWA has no current knowledge of any federal law enforcement action, but would document the derby to the extent possible, Pacelle said.

“We will be monitoring everything that happens at the dome. And I don’t think any of this, if it happens, is going to escape our gaze. And I urge the media to be there. And I urge other citizens to be present to ensure that we show this level of crime, criminal conspiracies do not happen, ”he said.