Buddy’s Law getting a second chance in Mississippi legislature

Buddy's Law is named after Buddy, a dog that suffered severe burns at the hands of a...
Buddy's Law is named after Buddy, a dog that suffered severe burns at the hands of a 12-year-old. While the original law died in the House, a group of senators is now hoping an amendment to an agricultural bill will help keep Buddy's Law alive.(Tunica Humane Society)
Published: Mar. 26, 2022 at 10:50 AM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLOX) - A new plan of action is in the works to try and keep Buddy’s Law alive.

Buddy’s Law is named for a dog who narrowly survived after authorities say he was severely burned by a 12-year-old in April 2021.

The law, which passed the Mississippi Senate unopposed earlier this year, would mandate psychological assessments and treatment for youths who torture animals.

The bill failed in the House earlier this month, sparking outrage and disbelief among animal advocates throughout the state.

Now, a group of Mississippi senators has added Buddy’s Law onto another bill in hopes of keeping it alive.

If the amendment is approved, Buddy’s Law would become part of House Bill 1065, which pertains to hunting and trapping nuisance animals, as well as the importation and release of wild hogs.

The amendment would incorporate Buddy’s Law, which only pertains to domesticated dogs and cats.

The amendment states in part: “If a person with malice shall intentionally torture, mutilate, maim, burn, starve to death, crush, disfigure, drown, suffocate or impale any domesticated dog or cat, or cause any person to do the same, then he or she shall be guilty of the offense of aggravated cruelty to a domesticated dog or cat. Each act of aggravated cruelty that is committed against more than one (1) domesticated dog or cat shall constitute a separate offense. (ii) A person who is convicted of a first offense of aggravated cruelty to a domesticated dog or cat shall be guilty of a felony and fined not more than Five Thousand Dollars.”

It also lays out penalties for anyone found guilty of animal cruelty and specifically orders that any child found guilty in youth court of animal cruelty be ordered to receive a psychiatric evaluation and counseling or treatment, and the child’s parents be ordered in contempt if the mandate isn’t followed.

The amendment to the bill was co-authored by Sen. Angela Burks Hill, who was one of the main proponents and writers of the original Buddy’s Law. Other authors listed on the amendment include Sen. Neil Whaley, Sen. David Parker, Sen. Kevin Blackwell, and Sen. Michael McLendon.

To read the amendment to House Bill 1065 in full, click here.

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