Animal abuse laws need more teeth

Published 7:00 am Friday, December 5, 2014

The rights between humans and animals suffer a great divide.

While there are laws to protect humans from inhumane treatment, laws to protect other animals, especially those we keep as pets are grossly inadequate.

This week a couple pleaded guilty to the neglect of more than 70 dogs that were in their care. Their punishment for this offense? A paltry $483.

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Had a person perpetrated the same abuse on even one human, they likely would have been incarcerated for several years.

It’s been a topic of much debate recently; the need for animal abuse laws that put teeth behind their enforcement.

According to Mississippi law, a person can only be charged with one count per animal abuse incident, even if the incident involves more than one animal. 

The previously mentioned case is a prime example. The couple had more than 70 dogs in their care, but faced and pleaded guilty to only one charge.

For devoted pet owners, their beloved furry companions are cared for like children. 

Then there are others who show little regard for their pet’s welfare. 

The unfair aspect of the current laws concerns the slap on the wrist offenders receive when guilty of these offenses. When a simple fine of less than $500 is all an offender faces, it makes it difficult to justify putting any effort into arresting a person for an animal cruelty violation.

Law enforcement and court officials have surely invested more time and energy into working such a case than what the guilty party has to dole out.

It’s time for the residents of Mississippi and every other state in America to take a stand and demand harsher punishments for those who abuse or neglect animals.