Animals appreciate perseverance

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 1, 2011

Sen. Bob Dearing could write a book on patience and perseverance, at least when it comes to law making.

The Democratic senator from Natchez waited three years to see cats included in a state animal cruelty law and approximately six years to see the cruelty laws on the book include a felony charge.

Each year for most of the last decade Dearing has introduced a bill to the Legislature regarding animal cruelty. Most of the time his bills failed to get approval from both the Senate and the House.

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But this week was different.

A version of Dearing’s latest cruelty law is on its way to the governor for his signature.

Under the bill passed by the House and Senate, a person who intentionally tortures, burns, starves or disfigures a dog or cat more than once within a five-year period could be charged with felony aggravated cruelty.

It’s the first time Mississippi has ever had a felony animal cruelty law on the books, and it’s long overdue.

Yet, Dearing can’t abandon his perseverance yet.

His goal from the start was to create a felony cruelty charge for first offenders as well.

Dearing has said he’ll faithfully try again next year, and he’s proven he’s true to that word in the past.

But, with the governor’s signature, the state’s dogs, cats and animal lovers can celebrate a small victory and thank Dearing for his stick-to-itiveness.

Every animal spared an ounce of cruelty is well worth it, Senator. We thank you for those creatures that cannot.