Authorities push for tougher animal cruelty laws in Mississippi

By Jamel Major - bio | email

RED BANKS, MS (WMC-TV) - Many believe Thursday's puppy mill bust is proof there is a need for tougher animal cruelty laws in Mississippi.

Allison Cardona with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) said this is not the first case they have dealt with in Mississippi.

"Unfortunately, we can see these cases all across the country and we've recently seen some in Mississippi," Cardona said.  "The ASPCA did assist in another case in Jasper County back in October."

Nancy and John Garrison face animal cruelty charges after nearly 100 dogs, some of them diseased, dead, or dying, were discovered in a puppy mill bust at the couple's home on Turner Cove in the Red Banks community.

"Animal cruelty is serious," Cardona said.  "It is a crime and there is a strong connection that when people commit animal cruelty often times they'll commit crimes against humans as well."

The Mississippi Senate passed a bill that would make it a felony to torture or main cats or dogs.  The bill passed Thursday with bipartisan support.

The bill now moves to the Mississippi State House.

Cardona said Mississippi is one of four states without a felony animal cruelty law.

"Currently it's a misdemeanor, and it's mostly neglect charges," Cardona said.

According to Mississippi law, the punishment for malicious or mischievous injury to a dog or cat can be up to six months in jail or a $1,000 fine.

Cardona said she supports tougher animal cruelty laws.

"The ASPCA along with the American Humane Society fully support making tougher laws in all states so that people can be held accountable when they do commit acts of animal cruelty against animals," Cardona said.

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