Vigil for Tilly - Slain Cat

Vigil for Tilly - Slain Cat


For Immediate Release

Contact: Doll Stanley,, (662) 809-4483



Activists gather as brutal cat killer is sentenced

Brookhaven, MS (May 3, 2016) – In Defense of Animals, the international animal protection organization that runs the Justice for Animals Campaign in Mississippi, is joining forces with Mississippi animal advocates for acandlelight vigiltoday at theBrookhaven, Mississippi Municipal Court. Participants are honoring Tilly, a cat who was brutally beaten to death, to demonstrate to legislators that Mississippians will not stand by and see crimes against animals treated with indifference.

Today, Jody Cothron will enter a plea at his arraignment for the sadistic mid-May killing of Tilly, a cat from Brookhaven, MS. Cothron is accused of beating Tilly to death at the Brookhaven Animal Rescue League. Cothron entered the shelter and asked to see the adoptable cats. A shelter caregiver showed Cothron to the cat section and had to leave Cothron unattended to attend to dogs at the time of the attack. When the caregiver returned to the cat facilities, Cothron was seen leaving. Entering the room, the attendant saw blood splattered across the room and a plastic stick was found nearby in pieces. Tilly was rushed for veterinary intervention, but died from the extensive injuries she received.

Brookhaven police have confirmed that the man accused of beating Tilly to death was arrested, charged with animal cruelty, and incarcerated in the Lincoln County Jail. If Cothron is charged under the Mississippi Dog and Cat Protection Law, MSSS 97-41-16 b, the maximum fine is just $2,500, and a six-month jail term.

“Crimes like these are a perversion of our legal responsibility to protect and care for our animal companions. This hideous incident has outraged and disgusted Mississippians,” said Doll Stanley, In Defense of Animals’ Justice for Animals Director who organized the vigil for Tilly.

Mississippi humane organizations are determined in urging legislators to increase the penalties for the gross neglect of animals and egregious acts of violence to animals. In Defense of Animals and the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society held a vigil in Houston on April 13 for Champ, a Houlka, MS dog who was dragged by the neck behind a pickup while the crime was videoed. 68 Mississippians and abuse survivor Champ attended the vigil, yet the perpetrator of this horrific crime was fined just $1,000.

“Crimes like these are a perversion of our legal responsibility to protect and care for our animal companions. This hideous incident has outraged and disgusted Mississippians and led In Defense of Animals to renew our pledge to see a 1st offense felony bill passed in 2017,” said Doll Stanley.

In the 2016 legislative session, a bill went before the Mississippi House of Representatives Agriculture Committee that would have made aggravated animal cruelty a first offense felony crime. However, SB2174 was “killed” after the Mississippi Farm Bureau took a direct aim at it.

“We call on Mississippians holding Farm Bureau insurance policies to protest the Bureau’s inexcusable actions to allow monstrous animal abusers to escape proper justice,” added Stanley.

In Defense of Animals’ Justice for Animals Campaign is working tirelessly to advance the cause for justice and show state legislators that the people of Mississippi are united against senseless and horrific animal abuse. Campaign members are aligning with Mississippi judges, prosecuting attorneys, law enforcement officials, legislators, animal advocates and concerned citizens to pass meaningful regional ordinances that will protect animals when state statutes fail. In Defense of Animals has served in Mississippi for 24 years, aiding victims and law enforcement with hundreds of cruelty reports.

For more information, please visit

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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 located in San Rafael, Calif. dedicated to protecting animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats through education, outreach, and our hands-on rescue facilities in India, Africa, and rural Mississippi.

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