AR-News: Louisiana Parish Bans Cockfighting

Political Animal politicalanimal13 at
Fri Aug 15 08:35:47 EDT 2003

Jurors say no to cockfighting

After a heated discussion, the Beauregard Parish
Police Jury passed an ordinance Tuesday outlawing
cockfighting, with only two nay votes - jurors Tommy
Brown and Byrel Book.

The ordinance was introduced by Gerald McLeod in April
when residents from his district complained that a
rooster breeder had moved into the area and built pens
on six acres of land. The residents were concerned not
only about cockfighting, but the elements that they
said go along with it ,including gambling and alcohol.

The ordinance was drafted at the May meeting by the
police jury's legal adviser, Steven Landreneau. At the
Aug. 6 meeting there was confusion about the wording
of the ordinance, and rewriting the ordinance was

Landreneau spoke at a Tuesday afternoon police jury
committee meeting to say the ordinance would stand as
it was.

"You can't read just one sentence in a statute," said
Landreneau. "This does not discuss people selling
feed. It is specific in nature about outlawing
cockfighting. I don't think the statute needs to be
changed. If you intentionally engage the roosters to
fight, including sparring, you are guilty."

Pastor Michael Cole of the Singer United Pentecostal
Church attended the meeting to represent his
congregation, who, he said, support the ordinance.

Dwain White of Singer, who raises and sells roosters,
was vocal in his objection to the ordinance.

Greg Nothnagel opened discussion on the ordinance at
the full jury's evening meeting.

"Cockfighting has been hashed and rehashed on the jury
and now it is time for the final public hearing," said
Nothnagel. "Our assistant DA was here and explained
that feed stores or people who raise birds have
nothing to do with this ordinance."

Mark Johnson, owner of a cockfighting pit in Vinton,
spoke vehemently against passing the ordinance. He
read a portion of the ordinance and opened a
dictionary to read the definitions of association,
associated and business. He argued that business
owners selling feed to breeders would be breaking the

"I don't care what your DA said," Johnson told the
jurors. He reminded the jurors they were up for

Nothnagel told him he was interpreting the ordinance

"We are residents of Beauregard Parish and citizens of
the United States," said Johnson. "I don't believe
your DA can define the English language any better
that a Webster's Dictionary. We being taxpayers of
Beauregard Parish, there will be money wasted in

"Bring it on," said Mike Nothnagel.

Sadie Sigler spoke for the ordinance.

"We moved from Calcasieu Parish to Beauregard Parish,"
said Sigler. "There is a pit 150 feet from my
children's bedroom door. There is alcohol, fighting
and cussing."

After much discussion the jurors voted to pass the

During committee meetings earlier in the day, jurors
voted to formally accept the resignations of
Beauregard Tourist Commission members Betty Cunningham
and Hayward Steele.

The Personnel Committee suggested writing a letter to
the city to see if they had a recommendation to fill
Steele's position, as he was originally selected by
the city.

"When we organized in '82 or '83, we chose someone
from the parish, city and outlying areas to represent
us," Cunningham said.

Recommendations should be made in coming weeks to fill
both vacancies. No recommendations have been publicly

Juror Brown, Personnel Committee chairman, also
discussed the possibility of making direct deposit an
option for parish employees.

"It would be a convenience for employees," he said.

Brown said he also wanted all jury members to consider
becoming part of a credit union. He suggested
contacting the state police jury association and
researching the specifics of becoming involved with a
credit union. 

Juror Book suggested speaking with the Beauregard
Parish School Board, asking to join their credit

"I would say we need to approach the school board and
ask them to let employees join them," Book said. "It's
good if you're in a credit union to have one locally."

Brown said he has approached the jury in the past, but
attempts to organize a credit union for employees were

"The more members, the better," he said. "It's kind of
a pyramid system. It would just be a benefit to

During a meeting of the Building and Grounds
Committee, jurors considered several repairs including
gutter work at the old Post Office, duct work at the
Air Flight Service Station and wall repair at the
Veteran's Office at the courthouse.

The committee also discussed repairing some sidewalks
at the courthouse. Some of the sidewalks have weather
damage and hollow spots underneath. The committee
decided to address the issue at a later meeting.

Two members of the committee, Book and Jerry Kern,
will be attending a conference in Washington, D.C.,
for updates on jury policies.

Additionally, the police jury will be sending three
employees to the 49th annual conference of the
Organization of Parish Administrative Officials to be
held Sept. 10-12 in Shreveport.


Staff Writer


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