SC bill that would get tougher on cockfighting

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Owning a bird for cockfighting would be a felony punishable by six months in prison under a South Carolina proposal.

A House subcommittee was scheduled to debate the measure Wednesday. But the panel didn't have time to take up the bill before the House went into session, due to debate on other issues.

The measure would greatly broaden who would face prison time and fines under the state's cockfighting law.

Fighting roosters are enmeshed in South Carolina's history. The University of South Carolina's sports teams are "Gamecocks."

Cockfighting has been illegal since 1917. But the contests still take place and bring arrests. Notably, the state's agriculture commissioner pleaded guilty in 2005 to extortion after admitting he took a bribe to protect a cockfighting ring.

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