State animal cruelty laws need to be changed

Published 7:00 am Saturday, February 20, 2016

Wednesday, animal advocates voiced their desire for stricter animal cruelty laws to the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors.
As part of their presentation, they told the board many home sales have allegedly been lost because potential clients witnessed signs of animal neglect in the county. They also linked animal mistreatment to a myriad of other illegal activities, including drug, child and domestic abuse.
In the state of Mississippi, the cruelty law considers the abuse and neglect of several animals concurrently as one only one count of animal abuse, Animal Advocates of Pearl River County Brenda Nuremberg told the board.
This is one of the laws the group hopes the state will change.
In October 2015, Lynne Hackney and Miles Allen pleaded guilty to one count of animal cruelty, one count of keeping more than six pets, one count of lack of rabies inoculation and one count of violation of sanitation standards for keeping animals. The total fine for both suspects was $7,133.
Those convictions stemmed from a case that began a year prior when law enforcement officers found more than 50 dogs living in and around the home, many were sitting in their own feces and urine, the Item reported.
However, the pair, under state law, could only be charged with one count of animal cruelty.
We agree with animal advocates; the laws need to be changed. Not only will it protect animals, but also anyone else the abuser may harm.
We also hope that the board of supervisors will soon find a qualified individual to hire as the county’s animal control officer.
This will help our volunteer groups who spend their free time rescuing animals in dangerous situations.
The officer, who must be trained in law enforcement, will be able to issue citations to the abusers.
Our legislators need to take note of the public’s wishes and change the laws to protect animals.

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