Victory! Jail for Fake Rescue Operator Who Killed 30 Dogs and a Buzzard
We and local animal activists have enthusiastically welcomed the sentencing of Jessica Collins, who was charged with the deaths of 30 dogs found dead and bagged on her property, along with a federally protected buzzard.
In February 2022, a local animal advocate was alerted to multiple dead dogs at a property in Saucier where Collins was said to be operating Deep South Animal Rescue and contacted Harrison County Animal Control to report what she had witnessed.
Video shows bodies of dogs all over, with many in trash bags or burned, and in varying states of decomposition. Just one dog was alive, an emaciated labrador who had been locked in a shed without ventilation, food, or water, along with a deceased buzzard.
A warrant was issued to rescue the dog and begin disposal of 30 deceased canine remains.
An additional 14 dogs on a property in Pass Christian were also surrendered by Collins.
Collins was arrested in March 2022, and charged with only one felony count of animal cruelty for the federally protected buzzard and 30 misdemeanor counts of simple animal cruelty for the deceased dogs.
Collins operated Deep South Animal Rescue under the name Jessica Ann Gallaspy. She was charged with 30 misdemeanor counts for cruelty to a dog under MS § 97-41-16 (2) a. and bonded out of the Harrison County Adult Detention Center. Maliciously injuring dogs or cats is now chargeable as a first-offense felony for each dog or cat killed with malice, MS § 97-41-16 (2) b.
We are incredibly grateful to the over 21,000 In Defense of Animals’ supporters who signed our alert urging Harrison County Prosecutor Herman Cox to amend the charges to felonies before Collins’ court appearance.
In 2020, the Mississippi Dog and Cat Pet Protection Law of 2011 was updated to make animal cruelty a first-offense felony and allow a charge of cruelty for every animal harmed after much effort from Doll Stanley, our supporters, and local Mississippi advocates.
Collins should have rightfully been charged with the felonies, and we are disappointed that she was not. Three of the dogs were shot, and the prosecution failed to have necropsies performed on the other pitiful dogs found dead on her property.
However, on August 11, 2023, a plea deal was reached. While it was not everything we wanted, it was much more than the usual Mississippi sentencing. Collins was sentenced to 60 months incarceration, with six months to be served beginning on August 25. She will serve the remaining 54 months if she violates any term of her sentencing.
She is not to have animals for 15 years, and may not work with or around them for five years. She will have to pay $4,500 in restitution and court costs and submit to mandatory psychiatric evaluation and treatment at her own cost. Collins will be on probation for two years.
According to Doll Stanley, our Justice for Animals Senior Campaigner, “Volunteers said that they were shocked to hear Collins yelling at the dogs that she’d kill them, and claimed the dead dogs were killed by a bobcat. Collins is devoid of empathy for the massive suffering she caused which cannot be erased. Mississippi animal advocates have worked tirelessly to update the law to hold abusers like this accountable. It’s bad enough that this woman was posing as a rescuer, but to let her get away with misdemeanor charges for the horror she inflicted upon these dogs is inexcusable.”
A local animal advocate Missy Dubuisson said, “Let's not forget the huge black dog who was dead that she was driving around with who knows how long in her Suburban. They were already in a bag which was so heavy my husband could hardly carry it.”
Doll Stanley left California for Mississippi on a dog theft case and never came back. The need was just too great. It’s now been 30 years! Our Justice for Animals campaign serves to educate and assist law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges in areas of animal law and cruelty investigation, in addition to connecting them with the resources to aid with or prevent cruelty cases.
If you appreciate our efforts, please consider making a donation to support our work. We rely entirely on donations from kind-hearted individuals to rescue animals and advocate for their fair treatment and we can’t do it without you! Thank you for caring.