Across the country, lawmakers are trying to get harsher punishments for people who abuse animals. Here on the Gulf Coast, animal activists and law enforcement officials are dealing with animal neglect and abuse cases every day.
Meet Chupy. This old dog came into the Jackson County Animal Shelter this week as a stray. Jackson County Animal Shelter Adoption Coordinator Maridee Mallette said, “It broke my heart, just looking at his face. That has to be painful, itching and everything. That would just be terrible. So, I just wanted to save him and get him out of here.”
The shelter believes that Chupy was abused by his previous owners. “He is emaciated. He’s covered in fleas and he has a flea allergy. He’s almost blind. He just looked so bad. I couldn’t stand it. I mean, someone did this to this dog.”
Chupy’s story is not unique. Officials at the Jackson County Animal Shelter say they see situations like Chupy’s all too often. Just this year, six people have been convicted of animal cruelty charges in Jackson County. “We get in neglected dogs almost every day, definitely every week, but almost every single day.”
The laws on animal abuse and neglect vary from city to city. Sergeant Joey Payne with the Biloxi Police Department tells News 25 you can and will be charged if you abuse your animals. “Well there are two separate statutes for animal cruelty. One is for aggravated animal cruelty and one is a misdemeanor and it follows the misdemeanor guidelines for misdemeanor crime. We do go all the way up to we can seize your animals, you have to pay to come to court, pay hefty fines, even jail time.”
But many people, like Maridee Mallette, feel more needs to be done to stop people who hurt animals. “I would like to see people prosecuted more harsher for this because we are supposed to take care of them.”
If you would like to adopt Chupy and give him a loving home, contact the Jackson County Animal Shelter. “I do believe that every dog deserves a second chance. He has a lot of love to give. He is an amazing, sweet soul.”
Law enforcement officers ask you report any animal abuse or neglect to your local authorities.