Victory! One of the Worst States for Animal Protection Passes Law to Crack Down on Cruelty
We’ve been working for years in the Deep South to rescue animals in need and see that justice is served for those who become victims of cruelty and neglect. Now, thanks to all of you who spoke up for animals and signed our alert, we’re celebrating a historic victory with the passage of a new law that increases penalties for animal abusers in Mississippi!
Over the years, you have helped us get justice in some of the worst and most heartbreaking cases of animal cruelty you could imagine. Sadly, we’ve also experienced firsthand how devastating the outcome can be in cases where abusers get away with a slap on the wrist.
Just some of the horrific cases and pathetic sentences we’ve seen include:
- A fine of $327 for burning a dog alive.
- Little jail time, fines and community service for a a trio who poured boiling water on a cat and posted a video to Snapchat.
- A fine and suspended sentence for a drunk man who shot a neighbor’s dog in the face.
- A fine and suspended sentence for beating a cat to death while visiting an animal shelter.
- Time served and probation for a repeat offender who was involved with dogfighting.
- A fine for the person who the person who shot a beloved pot-bellied pig five times.
- A fine of $327 for abandoning a puppy to slowly die of starvation and dehydration.
These outcomes are deeply troubling, but not entirely surprising. According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, which ranks state animal protection laws every year, Mississippi is among the worst when it comes to states prioritizing animals — coming in dead last on the most recently released list.
Now, however, Mississippi finally has a law with teeth that gives law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges the authority to hold animal abusers accountable for their unspeakable acts of cruelty.
As the law stood before this, only those who had been convicted of animal cruelty within the past five years could be charged with a felony. Even more troubling was that abusers would only face a single count of cruelty, regardless of how many dogs or cats were involved in a single incident.
The bill, SB 2658, which was introduced by Sen. Angela Hill, addresses those issues by amending the Mississippi Dog and Cat Protection Law of 2011 to increase penalties for animal cruelty.
Aggravated animal cruelty is now a first-offense felony, and individual charges can be filed for each individual dog and cat who is found to have been harmed. Penalties for a second offense have also been doubled, which could bring serious jail time.
This is a much-needed and long-overdue change to the state’s animal cruelty laws that we’ve been working on with other animal advocates and organizations to see become a reality. Sadly, this bill had been introduced multiple times over the years, but had continued to be blocked until now.
We’re grateful to Senatorator Hill for her dedication to this bill and for her perseverance, to the legislature for passing it and to Governor Tate Reeves for signing it into law.
Through our Justice for Animals Campaign, we’ll be continuing to ensure that law enforcement, prosecutors and judges take these cases seriously and hold animal abusers accountable for their sickening acts of cruelty by charging offenders appropriately, and seeing that their sentences fit their crimes.
Thanks to caring people like you, we can continue to serve animal victims of abuse and neglect through direct rescue, rehabilitation, and rehoming with loving forever guardians at our Hope Animal Sanctuary.
Thank you for being part of the campaign to create a more compassionate world. If you are grateful for our work to rescue and get justice for animals in the Deep South, please consider making a donation. Whatever you can spare makes a difference for animals in need.