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Ohio’s keeping bad company

Published: Tue, December 4, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

Ohio’s keeping bad company

Cleveland Plain Dealer: An Ohio House committee risks shaming the state in backing off a bill to make cockfighting a felony.

Ohio, as The Columbus Dispatch reported the other day, is one of only 14 states, and the only Great Lakes state, where cockfighting is a misdemeanor. Bids to help Ohio gain some legislative self-respect in this department have been stymied for decades by a small but determined and vocal clique of game-fowl breeders, mostly in southern Ohio.

In the latest twist, the effort to make cockfighting a felony has stalled in the House’s Criminal Justice Committee because of last-minute “questions” about House Bill 260, sponsored by Republican Rep. Timothy Derickson, from Butler County in southwest Ohio.

One committee member, lame-duck Republican Rep. Danny Bubp, of West Union in southern Ohio’s Adams County, reportedly mused that making cockfighting a felony would further crowd Ohio’s prisons. If that is so, then cockfighting is far more widespread in Ohio than its protectors have ever previously admitted.

Cockfighting is a revolting, dehumanizing blood “sport” that has no place in 21st-century Ohio. What also is revolting is that a lame-duck session of the Ohio House would seek to protect it.

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