Victory! Justice is Served for Animal Abuser Posing as Rescuer in Mississippi
While we’re working toward a world where all animals are treated with kindness and respect, we’re also advocating heavily for animal victims of abuse. Now, we’re applauding the outcome of the trial of Miranda Kittrell who starved and neglected 39 dogs while posing as the operator of a rescuer organization. She was among the first in Mississippi to be charged for animal cruelty after penalties for hurting animals were increased with the passage of SB 2658.
Kittrell, who claimed to be an animal rescuer, was the subject of a search warrant executed by the Jones County Sheriff’s Department (JCSD) in August. Aided by Southern Pines Animal Shelter, law enforcement removed 39 starved and dehydrated dogs from conditions they described as “heartbreaking,” in what was Kittrell’s third offense related to neglected animals.
Rescuers on the scene found dogs everywhere, including in cages, roaming free, and trapped in the house and in a metal shed on the property. They were all malnourished, covered in fleas and many were in need of veterinary care. Sadly, rescuers were too late to save five additional dogs who were found dead when they arrived.
Just days later the JCSD and Boggy Fire Department responded to a structure fire call at the same address, which was Kittrell’s last known residence. The fire is being treated as suspicious.
Kittrell, who was originally charged with 39 counts of simple animal cruelty for starving and abandoning dogs on her property, was identified and arrested at a DUI safety checkpoint in September after evading law enforcement.
At her trial, the charges were dropped to 38 counts because one surviving dog was in reasonably good health, but we’re applauding the outcome.
Kittrell was sentenced to 114 months in prison, with 108 months suspended. She will serve one year in prison for this case and previous charges, and is required to pay $3,800 in fines and complete 380 hours of community service.
She is also being required to undergo psychological counseling at her own personal expense, which is expected to cost $3,500, and is prohibited from even being near an animal for the next 15 years. If the terms of her sentencing are not met, she will be ordered to serve nine years in prison.
As terrible as it is when any animal is harmed, we’re grateful that animal abusers in Mississippi are finally going to be held accountable following the enactment of SB 2658 on July 1 this year, which updated the Mississippi Dog and Cat Pet Protection Act of 2011.
We fought for years alongside other animal advocates in the state to update the law so abusers wouldn’t get away with a slap on the wrist for the cruelty they inflict on innocent animals.
Before the enactment of SB 2658, Kittrell would only have been charged with one single count of animal cruelty for the suffering of the 39 dogs she harmed.
This outcome wouldn’t have happened without that legislation, and we’re also extremely grateful to everyone who supported its passage.