Exposure can help convict, prevent animal abuse

Published 7:00 am Friday, February 16, 2018

Most animal lovers in the state of Mississippi know that the laws against animal abuse are lax.

For those who choose to beat their pets, there’s little fear of prosecution, and even if they are convicted of the crime, it’s still considered a misdemeanor.

This fact has created a number of efforts to attempt to put sharper teeth into the currently very lenient sentences handed out in those rare instances that a conviction occurs.

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In the meantime, it appears there is something that the public can do to shed more light on instances of animal abuse.

Earlier this week, a Jefferson Davis County man was arrested for the offense of animal abuse after his act was caught on video by a concerned neighbor.

The video depicts the man using a leash to drag and beat a puppy he recently adopted from the animal shelter in Columbia, according to television coverage in that market.

Fortunately for the dog, a mindful neighbor caught the act on video and posted it to the Internet, where others could see.

It took only two days of social media exposure for the video to lead to the man’s arrest, and subsequent placement of the dog in a more suitable home.

Not only has the video sparked outrage, but also led to the man’s arrest for animal cruelty. Additionally, representatives of animal advocate groups from more than 30 states and eight countries indicated that they are willing to put up funding to hire an attorney to ensure the man is convicted.

No one wants to see a pet abused for any reason, and while it would be better to step in to try to stop the abuse rather than video it, providing undeniable proof that a crime has occurred has its advantages.