Need for stricter animal laws

Published 7:00 am Saturday, February 6, 2016

For years the Mississippi legislature has avoided supporting changes to Mississippi’s weak animal cruelty law for pet dogs and cats by killing the bill in committee. It never sees the light of day – no discussion, no voting. Surely our legislators would agree that even the first occurrence of egregious, malicious torture of a pet dog or cat calls for a felony charge. Our current weak law requires it to be the second offense of such violence before the individual can be charged with a felony.
We know that there is a strong link between violence toward animals and violence toward humans.
People who abuse and torture pets are much more likely to be violent toward humans, often women, children, and vulnerable adults. Wouldn’t it be wise to deal with these sick individuals in a serious manner rather than slap them with a little misdemeanor charge? Do we really want individuals who abuse and torture pets to be employed in daycare centers or nursing homes where vulnerable community members would be easy prey?
As a member of the MS Animal Advocacy Group, a statewide grassroots organization of over 2,000 members, I encourage Mississippi citizens to ask their legislators if they support a stronger animal cruelty law. We need our legislators to stand strong against the lobbying efforts of big agriculture to support the needed changes to Mississippi’s weak animal cruelty law for dogs and cats. Please call, write, or email your state legislators and ask if they will do the right thing.

Jennie Reynolds

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