Target: Angela Hill, Senator, Mississippi State Senate
Goal: Increase punishments for animal cruelty.
Punishments for animal cruelty crimes in Mississippi could soon become much harsher, should a proposed bill be voted into law. The bill would allow prosecutors to lay felony charges for the first instance of animal cruelty, whereas currently only second or third offenses can be considered felonies. The law would also allow several animal cruelty charges to be laid at once. Currently, no matter how many animals are involved in the cruelty, only one charge can be laid.
Mississippi has some of the most lax animal welfare laws in the country. Here, the penalties for neglect and dog fighting are the same — a fine of between $10 and $100 or a jail sentence of between 10 and 100 days. In contrast, the state of California allows for a $10,000 fine and 18 months imprisonment for dog fighting.
Some residents of the state say that these lax laws can deter law enforcement officials from taking animal welfare crimes seriously. One example is the case of a cat, which is seen on video screeching and writhing in pain as it is burned alive. Though the cat’s body was found, no arrests were made in the case, despite the fact that the video went viral on social media.
In order to protect the pets of the state, it is imperative that animal welfare laws are strengthened. Stronger punishments will help deter potential offenders and encourage law enforcement to take animal abuse more seriously. Sign the petition below to show your support for these proposed changes.
Dear Senator Hill,
Your recently proposed improvements to Missippi’s animal welfare laws would see possible punishments for animal cruelty crimes greatly strengthened. These changes include allowing felony charges to be laid for the first offense, as well as multiple charges to be laid when multiple animals are victimized. Current laws only allow misdemeanor charges for first offenses, and only allow one charge to be laid at once, no matter how many animals are abused or neglected.
Stronger animal welfare laws would encourage law enforcement to take animal cruelty more seriously, as well as help deter potential offenders. We, the undersigned, thank you for proposing these changes and ask that you do everything within your power to ensure that these proposed changes are passed into law.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Rikki’s Refuge