April 21st, 2014 by Eric Phelps
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Doll Stanley, 662-809-4483, firstname.lastname@example.org
Convictions in Two Horrific Animal Cruelty Cases Overshadowed by Court’s Sentencing Limits
Grenada, Miss. (April 21, 2014) – In Defense of Animals (IDA), the international animal protection organization that operates Hope Animal Sanctuary in Grenada, Mississippi, won convictions last week in two horrific animal cruelty investigations. On Tuesday, April 15, 2014, IDA appeared in a Yalobusha County courtroom for the arraignment of Oli Jordan from Water Valley, Miss. Mr. Jordan was charged in the starvation of a herd of 25 horses, including six horses who perished. Then, on Thursday, April 17, 2014, IDA appeared in a Tallahatchie County courtroom for the arraignment of Jason Smith of Cascilla, Miss. Mr. Smith was charged in the starvation of his six donkeys, including five who perished.
In both cases, IDA cruelty investigators were stunned at the enormous suffering the animals had endured and the fact that neither Mr. Jordan nor Mr. Smith had taken any steps to alleviate their unspeakable agony. “It’s beyond understanding how anyone could watch the slow and excruciating death of any individual being. The acute suffering these horses and donkeys experienced by dehydration and starvation is incomprehensible,” said Doll Stanley, director of Hope Animal Sanctuary.
Following the investigations, Ms. Stanley filed affidavits charging Oli Jordan and Jason Smith with animal cruelty. At the Yalobusha County arraignment, Mr. Jordan entered a plea of no contest. Advised of his rights, he cooperated with the court and accepted the guilty court ruling of 19 counts of animal cruelty. He was sentenced to a fine of $100 for each count, court costs of $3,511.25, and 50 days of incarceration. At the Tallahatchie County arraignment, Mr. Smith pled guilty to six counts of failure to provide adequate and wholesome food and water to his donkeys and received a fine of $100 on each count, court costs of $64 per count, and a suspended 30-day jail sentence.
“These weak sentences were expected, but knowing that didn’t diminish the sadness we felt as we left the courtrooms,” said Ms. Stanley. “Many traffic violations carry far greater penalties than the maximum penalties for animal cruelty in Mississippi. I doubt anyone believes that these two sentences would even begin to equal justice for the months of suffering these horses and donkeys endured.”
Two years ago, the Mississippi State Legislature amended the penal code addressing animal cruelty by limiting the number of affidavits for dogs and cats per cruelty case to just one, and limited the fine to $100 for other species. For the twenty years prior to this change, cruelty charges had carried equal penalties for all species and a count for each animal harmed, with no limit.
Hope Animal Sanctuary is caring for and still in need of aid for the 19 horses and one donkey that survived in these cases. People offering help may contact Hope Animal Sanctuary at 662-809-4483.