Our In Defense of Animals staff has intervened in seemingly countless cases of cruelty, abuse and neglect of animal companions in Mississippi. Sadly, justice isn't always served for these victims as it should be, and abusers get away with no more than mere slaps on the wrists. Now, however, legislation has passed the Mississippi House and Senate and is about to reach the Governor’s desk. It will increase penalties for animal abusers and we're calling on Gov. Tate Reeves to sign it.
The bill, SB 2658, which was introduced by Senator Angela Hill, will update the Mississippi Dog and Cat Protection Law of 2011 to increase penalties for those convicted of cruelty to dogs and cats.
If it's passed, animal abusers would be facing felony charges on a first offense if convicted of aggravated animal cruelty, which comes with a fine of up to $5,000 and up to three years in prison. A second offense could result in a fine of up to $10,000 and five years in prison.
Right now, some of the most horrendous and unspeakable acts of cruelty inflicted on animals are merely considered misdemeanor offenses. Only those who have been charged with aggravated cruelty within the past five years will get a felony charge for their second offense.
The bill also allows for charging offenders with more than one count per incident. As the law currently stands, someone could be found guilty of harming dozens of animals, but they would only face one single count of cruelty.
Our Justice for Animals Campaign has seen firsthand how devastating the result of weak laws can be for dogs and cats who are neglected, tortured and abused in Mississippi is. Anyone who is neglecting or harming animals needs to be held accountable for their actions.
This legislation will bring a long overdue change that's immediately needed to get justice for victims and send a message that cruelty to animals won't be tolerated.
Please contact Gov. Tate Reeves and ask him to take a stand against animal cruelty by signing SB 2658.
Please call Gov. Tate Reeves' office at 601-359-3150.
When the phone is answered, state your name, your town or city, and telephone number. You can then say:
As a Mississippi resident, I respectfully urge the Governor to sign SB 2658 into law. This bill would strengthen the Mississippi Dog and Cat Protection Law of 2011 and make aggravated animal cruelty a felony on a first offense and would allow charges for each dog or cat harmed. This is a much-needed update for animals in our state.
2) Send our letter to Gov. Tate Reeves by filling out the form on this page
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Please Sign SB 2658 Into Law: It's Time to Hold Animal Abusers Accountable
Dear [Decision Maker],
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]
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