Dogfighting bill passes with amendments

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Last week, the Mississippi House of Representatives voted to pass Senate Bill 2934 after making changes to it, one of which includes reducing the fines and penalties involved for a first-time conviction.

Senator Angela Hill said one of the amendments to the bill by the House reduces the fine for a first offense to a minimum of $1,000 and a maximum of $5,000 and/or a prison sentence up to three years.

Prior to the amendment by the House, the law stated any person found guilty of a first offense of dogfighting would be fined up to $10,000 and or spend up to 10 years in jail.

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The amended bill has additional penalties for second and third convictions.

If a person is convicted of a second offense, they face a jail term of between 3-5 years and or a fine between $5,000-$8,000, the amendment states.

For a third offense conviction, the fine is between $8,000-$10,000 and the jail time increases to between 5-10 years.

Hill said the Senate’s objective has always been to make torturing any animal a first offense felony. But each time a change to the law is presented it’s killed by both the House and Senate.

District 106 Representative John Glen Corley said he believes the decision to reduce penalties for a first offence conviction were made to provide a second chance to someone caught at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Lessening the first offense conviction provides an opportunity for those individuals to mend their ways.

Corley said the more important question should be where the state stands on penalties for crimes involving violence against animals or humans.

“Don’t make crimes against animals greater than crimes against humans,” Corley said.

Hill said it’s time for people to understand that there is something inherently wrong with people who torture animals because they are dangerous.

The bill will now head back to the Senate for approval before heading to the governor.