Dog fighting billboards to be put up to raise awareness - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

Dog fighting billboards to be put up to raise awareness

Mississippi's dog fighting laws are under the microscope this year. Source: WLBT Mississippi's dog fighting laws are under the microscope this year. Source: WLBT
Mississippi's dog fighting laws are under the microscope this year. Source: WLBT Mississippi's dog fighting laws are under the microscope this year. Source: WLBT
Mississippi's dog fighting laws are under the microscope this year. Source: WLBT Mississippi's dog fighting laws are under the microscope this year. Source: WLBT
Mississippi's dog fighting laws are under the microscope this year. Source: WLBT Mississippi's dog fighting laws are under the microscope this year. Source: WLBT
Mississippi's dog fighting laws are under the microscope this year. Source: WLBT Mississippi's dog fighting laws are under the microscope this year. Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (WLBT) -

Mississippi's dog fighting laws are under the microscope this year and a push to strengthen them helped bring the problem out of the shadows and into the light.

Now, a group of animal advocates hopes more visible reminders will lead to more arrests.

They're hoping to expand the message past the advocacy community and catch more eyes.

"We need the children that's growing up that has relatives involved in this to go home and say daddy that's not right what you're doing," said Rhonda Myers with Advocates Against Animal Abuse. "It's a felony. It's on a billboard."

The Advocates Against Animal Abuse are looking for the support of local businesses, concerned citizens, and vets who want to see those dog fighters brought to justice.

"We want people to understand it's not a sport," noted Myers. "It's not an activity. It's serious"

The Humane Society has a reward program for information leading to an arrest.

The reward is $5,000 and those who submit tips remain anonymous and what happens past that is also changing in Mississippi, starting July first.

Participation in dog fighting, including those who stage the fights, place bets on them, own the dogs that enter the fight, or own dog fighting paraphernalia could be sentenced to between one to five years in prison on top of fines.

But advocates like Elizabeth Jackson say it still flies under the radar.

"It's a huge problem," noted Jackson who is Executive Director of the Animal Rescue Fund of Mississippi. "It's a huge underbelly part of criminal activity in our state. There's dog fighting going on in every community, every city, every town. They are constantly moving to keep from being caught. But there's lots of money involved in it."

Jackson believes that while the law is being strengthened, it still needs work to be enough to deter the dog fighters who are making so much money.

The billboards are planned to go up around the Jackson area next month, but the group hopes others around the state will be motivated to do the same.

Sponsorship for a billboard is $300 a month or if you commit to a year, the cost is $200 a month. You can add your logo on the billboard if it is being sponsored through a business.

For more information you can contact Margaret Lee at 601-624-2021 or via Facebook Messenger. You can also text or call Renee Kimble at 601-954-4085.

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