Mississippi’s animal cruelty laws worthless to deter or provide any sense of justice

Published 9:56 am Thursday, April 27, 2017

“I think it is a disgrace that Mississippi’s animal cruelty laws are so weak that the killing of this family’s pet in order to facilitate a home burglary is only a misdemeanor in the state of Mississippi…The killing of that animal in order to carry out a burglary should in and of itself be a felony.”

Those are the words of Warren County Martin Pace — a man who knows — in reaction to the devastating loss of a Warren County family, who came home on Saturday to find their beloved, 8-year-old dog dead, lying in a pool of blood. The intruders shot the animal, named Honey, three times — twice in the leg and once in the head.

Four juvenile suspects have been apprehended and are being held pending charges in the case. Each faces three counts of burglary and one county of animal cruelty. But that animal cruelty charge is only a misdemeanor in Mississippi.

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A Warren County youth court judge will decide if the suspects — three age 17 and one age 16 — stand trial as juveniles or as adults.

The fact that these teenagers could be so callous, so heartless as to kill a family pet for no reason at all speaks volumes about their characters and their futures.

Study after study has shown that people who can commit such heinous acts against animals often make the short leap toward similar cruelty and worse against fellow human beings.

These perpetrators need to be punished, punished effectively and swiftly.

However, like Pace said, Mississippi’s weak animal cruelty laws do little to punish for provide justice.

Mississippi’s do-nothing legislature had the opportunity during the recent legislative session to do the right thing.

Yet, legislators allowed a bill that would have strengthened Mississippi’s animal cruelty laws, to die without action. Why? Most everyone in the know credit the political and financial influence of Farm Bureau of Mississippi with killing the legislation.

Follow the money, and you’ll understand why Mississippi’s animal cruelty laws are something of which we should all be ashamed.

We’re better than this. And until the voices of the people of Mississippi speak louder than Farm Bureau’s dollars, nothing will change.