Target: Sheriff Jimmy Dale Smith, Perry County Police
Goal: Charge police officer who left his dog in his car overnight, resulting in the dog’s death
Napo, a three-year-old Belgian Malinois police dog, was found dead in the back of an officer’s car after being left there overnight. Deputy Steve Verret states he forgot he left the dog in his vehicle. Sheriff Jimmy Dale Smith stated that the cause of death is unknown, yet there have been no efforts to determine the exact cause of death. The Perry County police department kept this incident hidden for over three weeks from the public.
While Mississippi has no laws against leaving dogs in vehicles, and the state’s animal abuse laws stipulate that there has to be malicious intent in order to charge a person with animal cruelty. Yet section 97-41-16, amended in 2011, of Mississippi’s law states, “If a person shall intentionally or with criminal negligence wound, deprive of adequate shelter, food or water, or carry or confine in a cruel manner, any domesticated dog or cat, or cause any person to do the same, then he or she shall be guilty of the offense of simple cruelty to a dog or cat. A person who is convicted of the offense of simple cruelty to a dog or cat shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), or imprisoned not more than six (6) months, or both.” Deputy Steve Verret’s forgetfulness has taken the life of a living creature — and it is certainly criminal.
Sign this petition to urge Sheriff Jimmy Dale Smith to properly discipline Deputy Steve Verret in the same manner that any citizen would be charged. Proper punishment should serve as an example to all police departments nationwide: you are not exempt from laws. Harming either citizens or animals must carry the same consequences for law enforcement as for any other person.
Dear Sheriff Jimmy Dale Smith,
The death of one of your police dogs, Napo, due to neglect of Deputy Steve Verret is a case of negligent animal abuse. The department’s lack of effort in determining the actual cause of death of Napo shows the public that you are not taking this issue seriously, and your department is holding an officer exempt from laws regarding animal abuse. Animal abuse is a serious issue, and in this case the life of a living creature has ended prematurely at the fault of your department.
I urge you to properly reprimand Deputy Steve Verret, as you would any citizen in this scenario. Forgetting that he was locked inside of a car falls under criminal neglect as per section 97-41-16 of your state law, and I demand that he be punished accordingly. Allowing Deputy Steve Verret to get away with forgetting Napo shows the public your lack of attention to the behavior of your officers. Please, set the standard high for police departments throughout the nation and use this incident as an example: proper punishment for a crime.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: D. Williams via Flickr