The news is filled with stories of animal abuse and heartbreaking situations calling for the rescue of these innocent four legged companions. Recently, a story unfolded in Jones County, Mississippi, where the Humane Society of the U.S. became aware of the need to intervene in a situation of epic proportions. The horrific scene involved what was referred to as “large scale cruelty” on a 161 acre residential property in which 34 cats and 55 dogs were discovered in an inhumane environment. The Sheriff’s Department of Jones County approached the residents and served them with a search and seizure warrant after being informed of the situation.
A multi-organizational collaborative rescue effort
When the wretched living conditions of the animals were reported to the Sheriff, law enforcement investigated the situation and promptly reported it to the Humane Society in the area. It took the effort of a team of rescuers to deal with the 89 animals in need of saving. The Southern Cross Animal Rescue followed up with the search and seizure order issued by the Sheriff’s Department. They were joined by the local Humane Society and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. Several hands were needed on deck to remove the animals from the home that deprived them of veterinary services and kept them in a state of severe neglect.
Immediate attention for animals in distress
The dogs and cats were promptly removed from the location and transferred to rescue facilities where they are now getting the attention that they deserve. The HSUS secured the animals in a safe and humane shelter where they receive the nutrition that they need in addition to veterinary care services for medical examinations, treatment and vaccinations that are badly needed.
The conditions of the animals rescued
When rescuers found the animals, they were found locked in “filthy cages.” It became obvious that they had not received the care or cleaning that they were in need of as their fur was dirty and matted. Animals kept in cages do not get the physical exercise that is necessary and the sad scene was one that showed cruelty and inhumane treatment for the dogs and cats that were imprisoned in the cells that prevented their escape.
Communities that care
The Jones County Sheriff’s Department issued a press release that made the department’s position on animal cruelty clear. Their goal is to ensure that the county maintains safe and humane living standards and safety for people as well as for animals. The current animal cruelty laws are in need of revision. First time offenders are only charged with a misdemeanor offense. Mississippi is one of just two states in the union that does not have a felony charge in place for egregious acts of cruelty upon animals. Even if situations of starvation or torture are reported, there is nothing that law enforcement can legally do except issue a misdemeanor citation. If similar acts were reported in most other states, the offenders would face much stiffer penalties. This case may well be the incident that prompts a change in the current laws regarding animal welfare. The situation was referred to as “unfair and unnecessary” by Sheriff Alex Hodge in his official statement.
How the dogs and cats are doing today
There have been no reports of death or the need for euthanizing made with regard to the 89 pets rescued from their terrible living conditions, but we have learned that there is more that needs to be done. The Humane Society was happy to share that a large donation came in to help pay for the expenses for medial services and for the care of the animals, but more is still needed. The goal with these rescue animals is to nurture them back to health and put them up for adoption to qualified homes. If you’d like to make a donation or if you’re interested in adopting any of these dogs and cats, they are in need of good homes with families or individuals who are looking for a lifetime companion. The state of Mississippi owes a debt of gratitude to all the rescuers who combined their efforts to save these pets from a life of misery and torture. The eyes of the nation will be upon the State of Mississippi in hopes that they will take swift action in changing their animal protection laws in the very near future.