HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Leaders of Friends of the Hancock County Animal Shelter say horrific cruelty cases such as six puppies found dead in McHenry show a need for tougher laws in Mississippi.
A bill recently introduced in the state legislature aims to sink teeth into the state's animal cruelty laws.
"Right now if they find out who did this to the puppies, if there were six puppies in there and they were all murdered, they would only be charged with one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty instead of one count for each animal that had been abused," said Mickey Evans, Founder of Friends Of The Animal Shelter.
Senator Angela Hill's bill would do away with the state's current one count charge when a cruelty case involves multiple animals; allowing prosecutors to pursue felony charges against the accused.
The bill would only apply to dogs and cats, excluding livestock and other animals. Additionally, it would allow those convicted of cruelty crimes to be tracked by law enforcement.
"The National Sheriff's Association was the entity behind adding animal cruelty to the FBI National data base of crimes and the reason for that," Tina Richardson, President of Friends Of The Animal Shelter. "It has been proven that young people who start off burning kittens, stomping rabbits and doing all of those things have a tendency to continue that type of behavior into adulthood."
Senator Hill introduced a similar bill last year that never made it out of committee. Hill says lobbyists for The Farm Bureau have been successful in convincing other state lawmakers not to support it, and she fears her current bill may suffer a similar fate.
The new bill must come out of committee by Tuesday, or it will die.