Jury acquits 5 men charged with cockfighting

LAWRENCE COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - A Lawrence County jury acquitted five men charged with cockfighting.

The verdict came down Wednesday following two days of testimony.

The five were arrested in August of 2011 after undercover officers went to the fights and documented what they saw.

The fights reportedly happened at a home in the Speake community.

Defense attorneys argued that cockfighting is a sport, saying that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abe Lincoln all were known to be involved in it.

They also tried arguing that since a chicken doesn't have four legs and fur, it's not an animal - so animal abuse charges wouldn't make sense.

The jury seemed to hinge on whether or not the fights were on private or public property.

"In short, if you fight cocks in a public place, then that's a violation of the law. The flip side of that is, theoretically, well, you can fight at a private place," said Lawrence County District Attorney, Errek Jett.

The judge told jurors to ignore the argument that chickens weren't animals.

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