Supervisors discuss animal cruelty laws
Published 7:00 am Thursday, February 23, 2017
Several members of the Animal Advocates of Pearl River County approached the Board of Supervisors about strengthening county ordinances regarding animal abuse.
Brenda Nirenberg spoke on behalf of the group asking the Board to clearly define what constitutes adequate shelter for dogs and cats.
“I know all of you are decent human beings and care about how animals are treated,” Nirenberg said. “I’d like to have a commitment today that this will be worked on.”
Pearl River County Animal Control Officer Danny Joe Slade was present to hear the Board express support for the group’s efforts. The Board then entered into a lengthy discussion about the measures they could take to not only clarify and strengthen county ordinances, but also begin to put pressure on the state legislature to enhance penalties against offenders.
“I’m not talking about if your dog dies of dehydration because someone forgot to fill the water bowl, I’m talking about something so heinous I don’t even want to talk about it again,” Nirenberg said.
Board Attorney Joe Montgomery referenced the state statue, which says misdemeanor offenders could serve up to six months in jail, and said he’s not aware of anyone serving that kind of time in this county.
“The law isn’t being enforced to the fullest extent,” and because those convicted of cruelty are not usually defined as felons, they can still work in daycares or be an in-home healthcare nurse, Nirenberg said. “I’m passionate about this, I think it affects the standard of living for all of us.”
At one point, District IV Supervisor Farron Moeller made a motion to amend the ordinance “to include the wording that defines a shelter as structure for which the intended use is to house a dog.”
Moeller later rescinded that motion after saying the Board needed to review the language further to make the best possible amendment. “This is something we need to put teeth into,” he said.
Montgomery suggested the Board collaborate with the group to draft an amendment to the county’s ordinance for the next meeting, as well as a letter to the Mississippi Association of Supervisors.
In other news, the Board approved several items under the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department.
Sheriff David Allison received approval to purchase 10 radios for the jail from the Henleyfield Volunteer Fire Department at a cost of $200 apiece, or $2,000 total, for use by jail employees. Allison said to buy the radios new would cost $700 apiece.