Monday, February 12, 2007

Even After Puppy Found In Mississipppi Tortured With PVC Pipe Glue, 9 Versions Of A Bill Making Extreme Acts Animal Cruelty A Felony Die in State

Well, what did you expect coming from Mississippi??!! Sad, but true


Buddy's law dies

Monday, February 12, 2007
The Mississippi Press

JACKSON -- The fight to change the animal cruelty penalties in Mississippi is over.

Rep. John Reed said nine versions of a bill making extreme acts animal cruelty a felony died before the House and the Senate.

Animal cruelty became a strong focus in Mississippi last July when Buddy, a 16-week-old Labrador was found in Gautier tortured with PVC pipe glue and left for dead. The puppy was later euthanized by a local veterinarian.

Mississippi has one of the weakest animal cruelty laws in the country, and is one of only eight states with no felony provision for extreme acts of cruelty.

"I would have really like to have seen a change," Reed said.

A campaign to change the animal cruelty law was launched as animal lovers and animal rights activist across the country spoke out in support of a revision to the Mississippi law that has been in place since 1972.

House Bill 1538 would have enforced a misdemeanor for acts of simple animal cruelty, such as neglect and abandonment, and a felony for malicious abuse and torture towards animals. Three conviction of simple animal cruelty would execute a felony as well.

Senate Bill 2097 also made similar distinctions between misdemeanor and felony charges for animal cruelty.

Both bills, as well as the seven others, died before the Agriculture and Judiciary B committees on Jan. 30.

Five were House bills and four were Senate.

Mississippi House Judiciary B Committee Chairman Jeff Smith, who presented House Bill 1538, and Rep. Erik Fleming heard testimony on Jan. 25 from local and national animal cruelty experts at a hearing in Jackson concerning increased penalties.

While bills to correct the issue have been introduced in years past, none have made it to the point of a hearing, which encouraged several organizations supporting the change.

Wanda Henry Jacobs, publisher of The Mississippi Press, told committee members that the paper received more than three dozen letters to the editor in response to an article about Buddy last year. The paper collected more than $3,000 in reward money from local readers, as well as more than 12,000 signatures on a petition demanding stronger laws.

The Humane Society of South Mississippi's Joe Elmore asked that committee members to champion the effort.

"The HSUS believes strongly in the need for felony level penalties for extreme acts of animal cruelty," Elmore said.

Dr. Mary Lou Randour, a psychologist and animal cruelty expert with The Humane Society of the United States, said animal abuse can lead to malignant treatment towards people.

"There's a clearly documented link between animal cruelty and human violence. Often, people who abuse animals become violent criminals who are a threat to society. Felony level penalties are critical to preventing future acts of violence," Randour said.

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