Discovery of dead pups leads to call for tougher animal cruelty law

Discovery of dead pups leads to call for tougher animal cruelty law

STONE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A disturbing discovery in Stone County has led to louder cries for stronger laws against animal cruelty in Mississippi. Six dead puppies were found dumped on the side of the road close to where 3rd street meets Old Highway 49. The puppies' bodies were found in a bag, one with a rope around its neck.

Now, those who want to protect dogs and cats are calling for a state law with more bite.

"That's bothered me so bad. They were just dumped," said Stone County Chief Deputy Phyllis Olds.

Olds said last Thursday, a woman saw someone toss a plastic bag out a car window on Old Highway 49 in the McHenry community. Inside the bag were the bodies of six mixed-breed puppies. Olds believes they were strangled.

"One of them looked like it was hung with a rope," said Olds. "You could at least took them and bury them, instead of just throwing them on the side of the road like they were trash.  A dog breathes. It has emotions and just throwing away in the trash, would you do the same thing to a child?"

The president of the Stone County SPCA said there is no reason why the puppies had to end up that way. The shelter opened three years ago to take in unwanted animals and find them loving homes.

"It's excusable, because there's a place to bring them that won't cost them anything. We ask for a donation. We don't require a donation. Right now, we have spay and neuter vouchers available [for low income residents]," said Stone County SPCA President Katie Stonnington.

"I'm angry, yes, and I'm angry not only at the person that done this, but I'm angry at our governmental body, because if we find the person who done this, I can only charge him with a misdemeanor," said Olds.

There is a push underway to put more teeth into Mississippi's animal cruelty law. State Senator Angela Hill has introduced a bill that specifically targets the abuse or neglect of dogs and cats.

Hill said right now, a person can only be charged with one count of animal cruelty for each incident, no matter how many pets are involved. Hill's bill would allow up to ten counts per incident, plus, the first offense of aggravated cruelty, like torturing, burning, or mutilating a cat or dog, could be a felony.

"I think the person needs some mental health counseling. I also think the person done that needs to be fined. I think they need to perform community service in one of our shelters," said Olds. "Get a stronger law. Make them have to own up to the responsibility."

The deputy who responded to the call has buried the six puppies. This is still an open investigation. If you have any information, please call the Stone County Sheriff's Department at (601) 928-3191.

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