The maximum penalty for cockfighting in Alabama is a meager $50, an amount that hardly seems like a deterrent against an inhumane activity that can generate thousands of dollars in profits. A bill, sponsored by Republican State Sen. Cam Ward, wants to increase that fine to $6,000 and it has support from the nation's most infamous, reformed animal fighter.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick released a statement on Monday criticizing the state for its lax animal cruelty law.
"Alabama has the weakest cockfighting law among all 50 states," Vick wrote. "I made a mistake by getting involved in animal fighting and we need to prevent other people from going down the same path I did. Animal cruelty is wrong, whether it is with dogs or birds. I am urging Alabama lawmakers to strengthen the penalties for this crime so it's not just a slap on the wrist."
If I were Vick, I'd be furious too, and not just for the continued mistreatment of animals. Fifty dollars? Dude spent almost two years in prison for dogfighting and folks a few hundred miles to the south can get caught attaching razor blades to animals and the fine is less than they'd pay for a traffic ticket? That's like if another coach got caught ordering a bounty and Roger Goodell punished him by making him write a letter of apology.
Birds and dogs aren't apples-to-apples comparison, but come on; it shouldn't be more expensive for an Auburn resident to buy a Cam Newton jersey than it is to organize an event where two roosters fight to the death.