PRESS CONFERENCE: Harmontown Dog Shootings Spark Outrage

PRESS CONFERENCE: Harmontown Dog Shootings Spark Outrage

Residents Seek Justice for Dog Shootings

CONTACT: Doll Stanley,, 662-809-4483


Harmontown, Miss. (March 14, 2017) – In Defense of Animals, the international animal protection organization that runs the Justice for Animals campaign in Mississippi, is calling on Harmontown residents in the vicinity of County Road 551 to report any information they may have on incidents of dog shootings or poisonings following the horrific shootings of two Harmontown dogs. On Tuesday, March 14, at 2 p.m. In Defense of Animals will hold a media conference at 65 CR 551 at the home of dog shooting victims, the Cox family. Joe, the Cox’s dog, was shot on or about February 6. A neighbor whose dog was also shot is expected at the conference.

On Wednesday, In Defense of Animals’ Winona, Mississippi-based Justice for Animals Campaign Director Doll Stanley met with the Cox family and a Harmontown resident whose dog, Josie, was previously shot. The sound of a gun being discharged led Josie’s guardian to a neighborhood property where she lay dead. The Lafayette Sheriff’s Department was summoned, but the responding officer determined evidence for an arrest was lacking since there was no eyewitness, without even considering forensics.

On February 6, campaigner Doll Stanley received a distressed call from the Cox family to report the intentional, lethal attempt on their family dog, Joe. The wound initially appeared to be a rip from the chest to the stomach, but X-rays revealed that Joe had been shot. The bullet ripped through Joe’s chest, missing vital organs, but leaving metal fragments in his flesh. Joe had to undergo emergency surgery, and almost didn’t make it. Fortunately, on March 4, Joe was declared to have made a full recovery, to the joy of his family.

“We are calling an urgent press conference in Harmontown to get to the bottom of these unlawful dog shootings, and address some common misconceptions,” said Doll Stanley, of In Defense of Animals’ Justice for Animals campaign. “We want to stop animal killings and arm Mississippians with the know-how to protect their families.”

Law enforcers are primarily concerned with the human population and the incidents of animal cruelty are not their priority, but generally they are motivated if evidence is supplied. Then it is the guardian that is usually left to file the court affidavit and address subpoenaing witnesses.  

Hunting dogs passing through properties have been troubling Mississippians for years. The Miss. Attorney General has ruled that since dogs cannot read, they cannot trespass. However, an animal guardian who has been advised that their animal should not stray onto a property can be brought up on trespass charges if the animal continues to enter.

“It is deplorable to shot a dog, who without menace, wanders onto your property, but the onus is on guardians to guard their animals from perils,” stated Stanley.

Mississippi Statute 97-41-16 (4a) (i), (ii), and (iii) allow for the defense of one’s property, life, and the life of one’s animals if an intruding animal is menacing or attacking.

“This does not declare open season on wandering animals,” added Stanley. “Good neighbors communicate.”

It is the goal of In Defense of Animals to alert law enforcement and citizens to the misconception that an animal can be “destroyed” for entering property where they are unwanted without probable cause of injury or damage. As for damage caused to property by an animal, this is an issue to be taken up in court for recompense. In Defense of Animals urges community members in the region of CR 551 to be alert to inexcusable offenses to animals within the community and to report them to the animal’s guardian and law enforcement.

“Joe and Josie’s killer remains a threat to all animals in the community,” advised Stanley. “Prevent tragedies by talking to your neighbors to let them know that gunning down dogs is illegal, regardless of if they stray onto a property.”


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In Defense of Animals’ Justice for Animals campaign is actively working with officials in communities, building a groundswell of support for establishing and amending city and county ordinances as part of its campaign to show state lawmakers that Mississippians will not tolerate animal cruelty.

In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with over 250,000 supporters and a 30-year history of protecting animals’ rights, welfare and habitats through education, campaigns and hands on rescue facilities in India, Africa, and rural Mississippi.