(KTEN) — Oklahoma state Sen. Lonnie Paxton (R-District 23) has introduced Senate Bill 1006, which would give counties the option to vote to reduce penalties for cockfighting down to a misdemeanor. 

"It's a criminal justice bill, and what we have done in Oklahoma," said state Rep. Justin Humphrey (R-District 19). "We have reduced a lot of crimes to a misdemeanor."

Currently, cockfighting is a felony in Oklahoma and anyone convicted of the crime can face 10 years in prison and face a fine up to $25,000.

In February 2021, KTEN reported that Bryan County deputies were called to Chestnut Lane near Allison to deal with a major illegal cockfighting operation. 

"I think they arrested quite a few and several people, and again, most of those were given reasonable sentences," said Humphrey, who has introduced House Bill 2530 that would also reduce the penalty for cockfighting anywhere in the state.

He said the goal isn't to legalize the blood sport, but to make the crime fit the punishment. 

"Why should we have a bill that makes fentanyl — killing hundreds and hundreds of Oklahomans —a misdemeanor, and have chicken-fighting sending people 10 years to the penitentiary?" he asked.

Oklahoma resident Darryl Spears believes this is a topic worth discussing. 

"It's inhumane," he said. "It's illegal, and as far as it being reduced to a misdemeanor, well... there may be some extra repercussions that come along with it."