2011 Regular Session
To: Judiciary, Division B
By: Senator(s) Hewes, Flowers
AN ACT TO CREATE SECTION 97-41-25, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROHIBIT CRUELTY TO VERTEBRATE ANIMALS; TO CREATE SECTION 97-41-27, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO ESTABLISH THE CRIME OF AGGRAVATED CRUELTY TO ANY DOMESTICATED DOG OR CAT; TO CREATE SECTION 97-41-29, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE EXEMPTIONS FROM CRIMINAL LIABILITY UNDER THE CHAPTER; TO CREATE SECTION 97-41-31, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO ENACT DEFINITIONS; TO REPEAL SECTIONS 97-41-1, 97-41-5, 97-41-7, 97-41-9 AND 97-41-16, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH DEAL WITH ANIMAL CRUELTY; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The following shall be codified as Section 97-41-25, Mississippi Code of 1972:
97-41-25. If any person shall knowingly or with criminal negligence torment, unjustifiably injure, deprive of necessary sustenance, food or drink; or cruelly beat or mutilate; or cause or procure to be tortured, unjustifiably injured, tormented, or deprived of necessary sustenance, food or drink; or to be cruelly beaten or mutilated or killed, any living vertebrate creature, except human beings and fish, every such offender, for each offense, shall be guilty of cruelty to animals, which is a misdemeanor punishable by not more than one (1) year in jail, a fine of not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), or both.
SECTION 2. The following shall be codified as Section 97-41-27, Mississippi Code of 1972:
97-41-27. (1) If any person with malice shall torture, mutilate, maim, burn, starve, disfigure or kill any domesticated dog or cat, every such offender, for every offense, shall be guilty of aggravated cruelty to a dog or cat, which is a felony, and upon conviction shall be committed to the custody of the State Department of Corrections for not less than twelve (12) months nor more than five (5) years, and fined an amount not less than One Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($1,500.00), nor more than Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00).
(2) A person alleged to have committed the offense of aggravated cruelty to a dog or cat shall not also be alleged to have committed the offense of cruelty to animals for an alleged offense that involves the same animal.
(3) In addition to such fine or imprisonment which may be imposed for a felony offense under this section:
(a) The court shall order that restitution be made to the owner of any such dog or cat. The measure for such restitution in money shall be the current replacement value of such loss and the actual veterinarian fees, special supplies, loss of income and other cost incurred as a result of actions in violation of subsection (1) of this section.
(b) The court shall also order that restitution be made to all law enforcement agencies, animal control, or humane societies for the costs of investigation, sheltering, transporting, rehabilitation and other costs directly related to the case.
(c) The court may also require:
(i) Psychiatric or psychological evaluation, and if determined appropriate, psychiatric or psychological counseling or treatment for a length of time prescribed by the court. The cost of any psychiatric or psychological evaluation, counseling, or treatment shall be ordered paid by such person up to the jurisdictional limit of the court.
(ii) Forfeiture of any future right to own or care for any animal for a period which the court deems appropriate.
(iii) Periodic unannounced visits for a period up to one (1) year by a humane officer to inspect the care and condition of any animal permitted by the court to remain in the care, custody or possession of the guilty party. Such period may be extended by the court upon motion made by the state.
SECTION 3. The following shall be codified as Section 97-41-29, Mississippi Code of 1972:
97-41-29. (1) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as prohibiting a person from:
(a) Defending himself or herself or another person from physical or economic injury being threatened or caused by an animal;
(b) Injuring or killing of an unconfined animal on the person's property if the unconfined animal is reasonably believed to constitute a threat of physical injury or damage to any animal under the care or control of the person;
(c) Acting in accordance with the provisions of Section 95-5-19;
(d) Engaging in practices lawful under the Mississippi Veterinary Practice Act, Section 73-39-51 et seq., or engaging in activities by any licensed veterinarian while following accepted standards of practice of the profession, including, but not limited to, the euthanizing, spaying or neutering, earcropping, taildocking, declawing, or debarking of an animal;
(e) Humanely killing an animal that is suffering from an incurable or untreatable illness or condition or if there appears to be no reasonable probability that the life or usefulness of the animal can be saved;
(f) Rendering emergency care, treatment or assistance to an animal that is abandoned, ill, injured or in distress related to an accident or disaster if the person rendering the care, treatment or assistance is:
(i) Acting in good faith; and
(ii) Not receiving compensation;
(g) Performing accepted agricultural and animal husbandry practices on livestock or poultry, including, but not limited to, slaughter, butchering, food processing and marketing practices;
(h) Performing professional pest control activities in a lawful manner;
(i) Training for or participating in a rodeo, equine activity, or competitive event, any lawful animal exhibition or competition practice, or any lawful zoological practice;
(j) Engaging in normal or accepted practices of animal identification, including, but not limited to, use of microchips, tatoos, eartags, branding, ear notching, or any similar practice to identify ownership of an animal;
(k) Engaging in lawful hunting, trapping, fishing, wildlife management, or any activity regulated by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks;
(l) Any lawful scientific research or medical practice, or activities undertaken by research and education facilities or institutions that are:
(i) Regulated under the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act, 7 USC 2131 et seq., as in effect on July 1, 2011;
(ii) Regulated under the provisions of the Health Research Extension Act of 1985, Public Law No. 99-158; or
(iii) Subject to any other applicable state or federal law or regulation governing animal research as in effect on July 1, 2011;
(m) Activities involving the training and deployment of dogs for the purpose of hunting and pursuit of game;
(n) Any conduct which is otherwise permitted under the laws of this state or of the United States.
(2) An owner of an animal or a person in control of an animal shall not be guilty for either the offense of cruelty to animals or the offense of aggravated cruelty to a dog or cat if the person, as the result of causes beyond the person's reasonable control, including, without limitation, acts of God, declarations of disaster, emergencies, acts of war, earthquakes, fires, floods or other natural disasters, reasonably engaged in an act or omission that might otherwise constitute an allegation of the offense of cruelty to animals or the offense of aggravated cruelty to a dog or cat.
SECTION 4. The following shall be codified as Section 97-41-31, Mississippi Code of 1972:
97-41-31. For purposes of this chapter, the following words shall have the meanings ascribed unless the context clearly requires otherwise:
(a) "Maim" means to injure so severely as to cause lasting damage.
(b) "Mutilate" means to seriously wound, injure, maim or disfigure an animal by irreparably damaging the body parts of the animal or to render useless any part of the body of the animal.
(c) "Torment" means the infliction of extreme pain or agony.
(d) "Torture" means the infliction of inhumane treatment or gross physical abuse to a dog or cat meant to cause the dog or cat intense or prolonged pain or serious physical injury, or thereby causing death to the dog or cat, with the intent of increasing or prolonging the pain of the dog or cat.
SECTION 5. Section 97-41-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, which deals with cruelty to animals, Section 97-41-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, which deals with carrying a creature in a cruel manner, Section 97-41-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, which deals with confining animals without food or water, Section 97-41-9, Mississippi Code of 1972, which deals with failure to provide sustenance to animals, and Section 97-41-16, Mississippi Code of 1972, which deals with malicious or mischievous injury to cats and dogs, are repealed.
SECTION 6. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2011.