Protecting people and pets in Mississippi

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One state lawmaker wants to help protect pets and domestic abuse victims.

Animal Control Officer Melanie Roe said, “I’ve had a domestic violence situation to where the father asked the two children do you want your momma or do you want your dogs? They obviously said their mother and at that time, he shot both dogs in the house, both dogs lived but he was charged with just one count of animal cruelty.”

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That’s just one example of animals being used in domestic abuse cases, but Roe says instances like this happen all too often in the state of Mississippi which is why one state senator is pushing for protection of animals in these kinds of situations. Wiggins Police Chief Matt Barnett said, “It’s an amendment to Senate Bill 2014 by Senator Angela Hill out of Pearl River County to include a protection order for dogs and cats or domesticated animals during a domestic situation where a restraining order may be issued by a judge.”

Nearly two-thirds of states include pets in protective orders in domestic abuse cases, Mississippi is not one of those states. “A lot of times you’ll have victims of domestic violence that are in a situation that the domestic violence is ongoing and they will not call law enforcement because they have animals and they are concerned about not being with the animals.”

Along with making people and their pets safer in domestic situations, Senate Bill 2014 would also make it easier for law enforcement to do their jobs. “I think you’ll see more victims of domestic violence calling about the abuse going on and because they’ll know they can get some help regarding a restraining order not only for them but for the animal involved.”

Senate Bill 2014 has cleared the committee and is now headed to the Senate floor.

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