Make Animal Cruelty a Felony in Mississipi

Target: Phil Bryant, Governor of Mississippi

Goal: Make the first offense of animal cruelty a felony.

Senator Angela Burks Hill, a member of the Mississippi State Legislature, is trying to pass a law making a criminal’s first animal cruelty offense a felony. A similar law was attempted last year that did not pass. Now Senator Burks Hill has re-written the law and it is going through the state’s judicial system. Unfortunately, there are many opponents to this law, including Mississippi’s agricultural sector.

Currently, in Mississippi, animal cruelty only constitutes a felony if it is an individual’s second offense. The first is just a misdemeanor; so if a person with no prior record mutilated or killed an animal, it would be considered a minor crime and prosecuted as such. This law would make the first offense and felony and also enable prosecution on multiple counts of animal cruelty, whereas now that is not possible.

As mentioned, many groups don’t want this bill to be passed, the most significant opponent being the Mississippi Farm Bureau. The passing of this bill would represent a changing of attitudes towards the treatment of animals. Large companies who are involved in industrial agriculture, particularly in the livestock sector, fear that this law would force them to alter the way animals are treated in their facilities. One representative referred to the bill as a “slippery slope,” exposing just how much of a hoot the livestock industry gives about animal welfare, and how desperate they are to keep advancements like this one off the books.

It is commonly known that those who commit atrocities against animals are more likely to commit violent crimes in the future, potentially against fellow humans. This is just one of the many reasons criminals committing these types of crimes should be considered felons after the first offense. Sign this petition to ensure this law is passed, and that those who hurt animals are rightfully convicted.


Dear Governor Byrant,

A Mississippi Senator is currently trying to pass a bill that would make first time animal cruelty offenders felons, and allow criminals to be charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty. Neither of these two things are currently possible in your state, and because of this there is very little deterring people from committing crimes against animals.

As it stands now, if someone murdered or tortured an animal once, they would receive little more than a slap on the wrist. The only way they would be truly punished is if they committed the crime a second time. This is hardly just, especially considering that those who commit violent crimes against animals are more likely to commit a similar crime towards a human.

People who hurt animals need to be rightfully prosecuted as the criminals they are. I urge to use your influence as governor to stand behind this law and change how animals are treated in your state.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Life Lenses

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