From: jeff chapman
To: Ronda Menlove, David Lifferth, Jack Draxler, Edward Redd, Curt Webb, Jacob Anderegg, Ryan Wilcox, Gage Froerer, Jeremy Peterson, Dixon Pitcher, Brad Dee, Richard Greenwood, Paul Ray, Curtis Oda, Brad Wilson, Steve Handy, Stewart Barlow, Roger Barrus, Jim Nielson, Becky Edwards, Doug Sagers, Susan Duckworth, Jennifer M. Seelig, Rebecca Houck, Joel Briscoe, Angela Romero, Mike Kennedy, Brian King, Lee Perry, Janice Fisher, Larry Wiley, LaVar Christensen, Craig Hall, Johnny Anderson, Mark A. Wheatley, Patrice Arent, Carol Moss, Eric Hutchings, Jim Dunnigan, Lynn Hemingway, Daniel McCay, Jim Bird, Earl Tanner, Tim Cosgrove, Steve Eliason, Marie Poulson, Ken Ivory, Keven John Stratton, Robert Spendlove, Richard Cunningham, Greg Hughes, John Knotwell, Melvin Brown, Kraig Powell, John G. Mathis, Kay Christofferson, Brian Greene, Jon Cox, Val Peterson, Dana Layton, Keith Grover, Jon Stanard, Dean Sanpei, Rebecca Lockhart, Francis Gibson, Michael Mckell, Marc Roberts, Merrill Nelson, Jerry Anderson, Kay Mciff, Brad Last, John Westwood, mnoel, Lowry Snow, Don Ipson,
Subject: please get rid of bill to make gamefowl a felony
Date: Wed Mar 12 14:47:30 MDT 2014

I am writing to urge you to reject SB 112S01 Gamefowl Fighting Amendments when the bill reaches the floor of the Utah House for a final vote. SB 112 is a law looking for a crime and with far reaching implications on honorable and law abiding Utah citizens.

Cockfighting is not a problem in the state of Utah. This is an irrefutable fact. There are zero examples of persons being arrested, let alone from surrounding states, in Utah. Extensive conversations with Utah law enforcement by Senator Harper and others reveal that cockfighting is a "negligible to non-existent" problem. The SB 112 Fiscal note estimates that 1/2 person a year is anticipated to be convicted. There is simply no justification for legislative action.

The only evidence supporters point to is a reader submitted letter to a magazine suggesting people come to Utah because it's a misdemeanor state. To base public policy on an unclaimed commentary with zero substantiation when everything says cockfighting is not a problem in Utah is not justifiable considering the consequences to average Utah citizens. And if he assertion that the reason their is no proof of cockfighting occurring is that law enforcement is hesitant to spend resources on a misdemeanor and this law changes that, there is a massive resource expenditure that is not being accounted for. How much is law enforcement going to expend putting people in prison over a chicken?

There are also many people in Utah that raise gamecocks for show. Show standards require that the waddles, combs, and spurs be trimmed. The intent language in SB 112, even as amended, makes raising chickens for the purpose of fighting a potential felony. The problem? Trimming could easily be interpreted by law enforcement as proof of the intent to fight because these practices are also common among gamefowl fighting.

Perfectly good people could also risk losing their property to seizure for a crime against a bird that we slaughter and consume billions of annually. We are not talking about a dog. A law addressing a non-existent issue is not worth risking a massive intrusion on liberty that SB 112 represents.

It is asserted that Utah should conform to the policies of surrounding states. But think about the implications. Does this mean Utah is going to legalize marijuana like Utah, or gambling like almost every state, or prostitution like Nevada? It makes more sense to legislate specific to the state of Utah and not concern ourselves with conforming to surrounding states.

SB 112 is an attempt at making a symbolic statement to address a problem that does not exist in Utah. This symbolic statement is simply not worth the risks to personal liberty and property that the intent language.