Dogs, cats and livestock lives should all matter

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Public concern over the treatment of dogs and cats has grown this year as Senator Angela Hill of Picayune continues to advocate for stricter penalties against those who commit heinous acts of cruelty.

She has said many times that her bill has been blocked due to strong lobbying pressure from the agriculture industry because they believe it will affect ranchers and other agriculture industries in the state.

Yet her bill has no mention of cows, goats, sheep, hogs, horses or any other livestock.

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So what protection does livestock have under Mississippi law? I

f lobbyists have fought so hard to repeatedly kill a bill that has nothing to do with agriculture, what other bills have they lobbied against that would enhance penalties against cruelty to livestock?

Mississippi codes 97-41-1 through 97-41-23 essentially outline the protections for livestock…and it’s not much.

Generally, no matter the level—or intention—of the negligence, torture, injury, depravity or cruelty impacted upon an animal the offender can be found guilty of a misdemeanor.

Other malicious crimes can lead to felony charges.

Those who are found guilty of carrying an animal in a cruel manner, confining them without food or water, failure to provide sustenance or engaging in fights can be fined no less than $10, and no more than $100, or face between 10 to 100 days in jail.

While our domesticated pets like dogs and cats are important to protect, we shouldn’t stop there.

All animals deserve to be treated humanely, no matter their breed, demeanor, worth or any other factor.

If not for the sake of the animal, then for the sake of the diseases they could spread and other dangers to the community.

These animals need to be taken care of and be protected by every right under the law.