MEDIA RELEASE: Justice Delayed for Dog Shot & Killed by Neighbor in Adams County
Natchez, MS (March 11, 2020) – In Defense of Animals, the international animal protection organization that operates Hope Animal Sanctuary and the Justice for Animals Campaign in Carroll County, was represented in court yesterday, March 10th, for the trial of Chance Dillion Fenn, who deliberately shot his neighbor’s dog and hid the evidence.
State prosecutor Paul Sullivan, and court-appointed defense, Tim Blaylock, agreed to ask Adams County Justice Court Judge Eileen Maher to dismiss the charge of aggravated cruelty to a dog or a cat under Mississippi § 97-41-16. (2) (b) Maliciously injuring dogs or cats for the concern that the state could not meet the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. However, the state will file related charges under Mississippi’s Malicious Mischief statute MSSS 97-17-67. Chance Finn was dismissed from the courtroom and will be arrested on the charge fitting his crime.
“Only a heartless monster would take the life of a neighbor’s beloved animal companion,” said Doll Stanley, In Defense of Animals’ Justice for Animals Campaign Director. “The injustice is that in Mississippi, stealing a dog is a felony, but the deliberate killing or injuring of a dog is a first offense misdemeanor.”
Chance Dillion Fenn, of Adams County, surrendered himself and was booked on January 26th and released on a $500 bond.
On January 24th, Sgt. Michael Kracek of the Adams County Sheriff’s Department questioned Fenn about the disappearance of Chief, a black Labrador Retriever belonging to Brian Breaux, a resident in the vicinity of Fenn’s dwelling. Initially, Fenn denied knowing anything about Chief’s whereabouts, but later admitted to having shot Chief and disposing of his body nearby. He also admitted to removing Chief’s ID collar and throwing it off a bridge into the nearby creek. Sgt. Kracek recovered Chief’s remains and his collar.
Chief was the sidekick and constant companion of Brian Breaux’s son, Jordan.
“Since 2011, animal advocates have worked to amend the Mississippi Legislature’s efforts to prohibit a felony charge for aggravated animal cruelty. Legislators deliberately stripped affiants from charging a count of aggravated cruelty to dogs and cats by limiting the Mississippi Dog and Cat Pet Protection Law of 2011 to a single charge of cruelty—even if 500 animals were harmed by a violent individual. Such a monstrous act is only a felony for a second conviction within five years of a first conviction,” added Stanley. “We will do everything in our power to get justice for Chief and his bereaved family.”
Senator Angela Hill has championed justice for Mississippi’s dogs and cats by introducing SB 2658 this legislative session. If passed, this bill will amend the current law to make a first offense act of aggravated cruelty a felony and will allow for a separate charge of cruelty for each dog or cat determined to be criminally abused by a suspect. The bill has passed the Senate committee but must pass the full Senate vote and will most certainly be challenged in the House, which has already killed the companion bill.
In Defense of Animals works with officials and citizens in Mississippi and surrounding states to aid in addressing animal protection issues, including the revision and establishment of just and viable laws to protect animals and their environment.
February 2020 marks In Defense of Animals’ service in the state of Mississippi for 27 years.
Contact: Doll Stanley, firstname.lastname@example.org, (662) 809-4483
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In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with over 250,000 supporters and a 37-year history of protecting animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats through education, campaigns, and hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, and rural Mississippi. www.idausa.org