Harsher Fines For Animal Abusers As Winona, MS Passes Precedent-Setting Amendment
An Animal Rights Article from All-Creatures.org

FROM

Doll Stanley, In Defense of Animals (IDA)
December 2015

It is time for lawmakers to realize that our prisons are being filled with individuals who show a predisposition for violence as children, often through attacks on animals. The number of prisons built is linked to the number of children who cannot read by the third grade. Tackling child abuse and ensuring children’s education in Mississippi will have far-reaching positive effects for animal and human residents alike.

Winona, MS (December 17, 2015) – In Defense of Animals, the international animal protection organization that operates Hope Animal Sanctuary in Grenada, MS, and founder of Winona, MS based Justice for Animals Coalition has praised the Winona City Board of Aldermen for voting unanimously to raise animal cruelty penalties from a mere $50-$150 fine, to up to $2,500 and six months in prison. All animals are now included under this protection which previously only applied to dogs and cats, bringing the city’s animal ordinance into accordance with MSSS 97-41-16 of Mississippi’s 2011 amendment to animal law for aggravated cruelty.

The precedent-setting amendment comes in the wake of an international firestorm of fury over the October sentencing of Winona resident Jonathan Thompson, for the heinous act of torching his dog in his backyard. Thompson was fined just $327.50, revealing the gross inadequacy of the city’s 2009 ordinance.

“This amendment will act as a clear warning to would-be animal abusers in Winona,” said Justice for Animals Coalition Director Doll Stanley. “I have nothing but praise for Mayor Jerry Flowers for acting with speed and sense to address the urgent need to update city’s animal cruelty law. I thank city Attorney Ray Baum and all members of the Board of Aldermen who embraced the amendment so readily.”

City Attorney Ray Baum pointed out that this amendment is a step in the right direction, but that state lawmakers must now act to pass just and meaningful statutes. MSSS 97-41-16 amendment to the state animal cruelty law additionally capped cruelty to dogs and cats to one count of cruelty when prior law included an affidavit for each offended animal.

The amendment was taken up following a meeting between Mayor Flowers and Justice for Animals Coalition Director Doll Stanley and Winona Animal Advocacy Group representative and Winona citizen Melissa Greenlee.

Justice for Animals Coalition is actively working with officials in other Mississippi communities building a groundswell of support for establishing and amending city and county ordinances as part of its campaign to show state lawmakers that Mississippians will not tolerate animal cruelty.

During a recent presentation to the Winona Board of Aldermen, Stanley highlighted studies showing the significant connection between animal abuse and human abuse, such as bullying, domestic violence, unprovoked violence against strangers, and other crimes.

“It is time for lawmakers to realize that our prisons are being filled with individuals who show a predisposition for violence as children, often through attacks on animals. The number of prisons built is linked to the number of children who cannot read by the third grade. Tackling child abuse and ensuring children’s education in Mississippi will have far-reaching positive effects for animal and human residents alike.” said Stanley.


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