Mississippi adds teeth to animal cruelty laws

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Mississippi lawmakers have expanded the state’s animal cruelty statutes.

Senate Bill 2658, which Gov. Tate Reeves signed into law Friday, makes aggravated cruelty to animals a felony punishable by up to three years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Second and subsequent convictions increase the time behind bars to a maximum of 10 years and double the fine to $10,000.

Separate charges can be filed for each dog or cat harmed or killed.

Aggravated animal cruelty is defined as intentional torture, mutilation, maiming, burning, starving to death, crushing, disfiguring, drowning, suffocating or impaling any domesticated dog or cat “with malice.”

The law goes into effect immediately.