Champ's Candlelight Vigil
Candlelight Vigil for Champ Held
By now you’ve likely heard of Champ, the dog from Houlka, Mississippi who was mercilessly attached to the back of his keeper’s pickup truck and dragged down the road as two youths, one the grandson of the driver, videoed from the bed of the truck as they laughed. Luckily, the laugh was on them. The grandson idiotically posted the video on Snapchat and subsequently his grandpa was arrested.
Champ was rescued by horrified onlookers who rushed to aid him. He suffered severe abrasions on most of his body because he couldn’t keep up with the pickup and was choked by the chain around his neck. The crime stirred the fury of animal advocates and the general public.
In Defense of Animals” Justice for Animals Campaign and the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society, long time partners in cruelty cases and rescues, organized a candlelight vigil held on the evening of grandpa Willie Davis’ arraignment last week on April 13. Davis pleaded nolo contendere (no contest) in the Chickasaw County Justice Court. It’s the equivalent of a guilty plea, but usually met with a lighter sentencing. We were saddened but not surprised that Davis was given only a $1,000 fine of a possible $2,500 maximum, and the six-month jail term handed down was remanded, not to be served unless Davis commits another crime against an animal in the next two years. This is not good enough for Champ, or any animal who suffers abuse.
This case galvanized Mississippi animal advocates to join forces in creating and pushing for enforcement of anti-cruelty to animal laws. Sixty-eight advocates traveled from far and wide to converge on the Court in Houston, Mississippi that evening, many bringing their dog companions; including the Winona Animal Advocacy Group that stood with In Defense of Animals to pass Winona’s recent cruelty ordinance amendment after a Winona dog was torched alive.
With Champ in the crowd, advocates called out law-makers and judges alike urging them to represent the public’s will to protect Mississippi animals from vile neglect and monstrous acts of violence. All vowed to stick together to bring Mississippi out of the Dark Ages that the Mississippi House Agriculture Committee and Mississippi Farm Bureau lobbyists have kept the state in.
In Defense of Animals will push forward in joining forces with all advocacies and individuals who want a “civilization” in Mississippi. To all the judges, law enforcement officers, and civic leaders who stand with the coalition and have proven their disdain for animal cruelty, we salute you and look forward to your influence in turning this red tide.
Watch Justice for Animals Campaign Director Doll Stanley’s passionate address at the vigil here .