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Bill would make it easier to prosecute cockfighting rings

Animal fighting is illegal in Florida. But it is almost impossible to prosecute, some state law enforcement officials say, because to pursue a case, they have to catch the actual fight in action.

Sen. Oscar Braynon II, a Miami Gardens Democrat, wants to change that.

A Braynon-sponsored bill that cleared its first Senate panel Monday would allow other signs of fighting to be used in a case, including fresh wounds or scars on an animal or possession of apparatus, paraphernalia or drugs to train animals to fight.

Braynon told the Senate Agriculture Committee that cockfighting happens in parts of his district. "It's a terrible thing," he said. "It's not something we should continue doing."

It sailed unanimously through after this facetious question from Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs: "Do you think that possibly this could apply to the Legislature?"