Rocking Out Against Animal Cruelty On The Biloxi Town Green

It's a concert that started with a phone call. Coast resident Taylor Roberts made the call after receiving pictures of abused animals.

"I got on the phone with the Humane Society, and they put me in touch with the ASPCA.  I told them I'd like to do something, maybe a concert, to raise awareness, and here we are."

Taylor Roberts is also a member of the band Catharsis, just one of six bands who performed in Sunday's concert.  Besides raising awareness about animal cruelty, the concert raised money for the Animal Cruelty Response and Reward Fund. The fund will help pay medical costs for abused animals and pay reward money to those who help police in animal abuse cases.

The ASPCA says often times animal cruelty can be an indicator of violent acts to come.

"Luke Wooden up in Pearl Mississippi back in 97. He started with his dog Sparkle. He poured lighter fluid down his dog's throat and set the dog on fire. He talked about how this was his first kill, and he was so proud of it. He went on to stab his mother and kill two high school students. This is why we have to be vigilant about animal cruelty, so we can intervene quickly," says Joe Elmore, ASPCA.

Event organizers say the best way to stop the violence before it starts is through education, something they plan to do a lot more of in the future.  Taylor Roberts says he's ready to sign on for another year.

"We really hope to make this somewhat of an annual event, so we can do something fun yet educational through the power of music. Sending out messages through that can affect people in a way that's long and lasting."

Gulfport and Biloxi have signed on to become "Orange Communities," an effort through ASPCA where communities commit themselves to respecting and protecting animals.  Mississippi Spay and Neuter Clinic, the Humane Society, the Biloxi and Gulfport Police Departments and the Harrison County Sheriff's Department are all partners with ASPCA.