County puts best paw forward

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Yesterday, Pearl River County took another step toward providing animals with more deserved rights.

After months of gathering model ordinances and perfecting the language, the Pearl River County Board of Supervisor approved an amendment to the current ordinance regarding the care of animals.

After working with the Animal Advocates of Pearl River County, the Board crafted this amendment as a way to clarify what constitutes as adequate shelter for an animal.

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What may seem like common sense is often difficult for county officials to enforce if the language of the law isn’t perfectly clear. This amendment makes it clear animals must be protected from wind, water, heat and/or cold.

Many dogs and cats are left outside in conditions that can quickly go from bad to worse if someone doesn’t intervene. Over the past year, the county started to protect pets from these abuses.

By hiring an animal control officer, they’ve been able to rescue dozens of puppies, horses and other animals from those who have mistreated them.

However, we still have a long way to go. Members of Animal Advocates of Pearl River County suggested more ways the county could take action against these abuses during Monday’s Board meeting.

The county could increase ordinances against puppy mills that strictly breed dogs to turn a profit and don’t allow the animals to live in ideal conditions. Each municipality could implement mandatory spay and neuter policies to prevent over breeding, a suggestion one Poplarville official made previously that was not popular with some community members. 

Abuse of an animal almost never ends there. Research shows that those who abuse animals are often guilty of other forms of domestic violence.

Ending the violence early could ultimately be a factor in reducing a number of other problems our community faces.

While the freedoms of animal owners should be preserved, it should not be done at the expense of other living creatures who deserve to be treated humanely and live comfortable, long lives.