Animals need better protection laws

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 9, 2017

Mississippi’s animal protection laws are woefully inadequate to deter the heartless abuse of creatures unable to defend themselves.

Adams County Sheriff’s Office deputies have been spending incredible resources this week to do the right and decent thing for dozens of abused dogs found in the county, even though deputies know the culprit, if found guilty, may only receive a slap on the wrist.

The effort is a stark reminder of just how lax Mississippi’s attitude and laws remain regarding animal abuse.

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State law stipulates that simple cruelty to domesticated animals such as dogs and cats is only a misdemeanor crime. The first offense of which carries a fine of up to $1,000 or a prison sentence of up to six months, or both.

The same charge but with malice is consider aggravated cruelty to animals. That carriers the same potential prison sentence, but increases the potential fine to $2,500.

State law requires that regardless of the number of animals involved, the law views such a crime as a single offense, meaning abusing dozens of dogs carries no more weight than abusing a single one.

Viewing images of what appears to be hell on earth for the dogs found in horrible conditions in the alleged dog-fighting farm, the current potential penalties do not seem to fit the severity of the crime.

Anyone who knowingly abuses animals, through neglect or outright malice, needs to be held accountable in a more meaningful way.

We urge state lawmakers to look at the images from dogs in Adams County and elsewhere throughout the state and have a heart for those creatures that have been severely injured and gone untreated so long that insects are eating them alive.

Mississippi should be better than this.