JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - In 2011, state lawmakers passed the Dog and Cat Pet Protection Law which charges first-time offenders with a misdemeanor for abusing their pets. In the law, it states no matter how many animals are being abused at the same time it'll only count as one offense.
Community Animal Rescue and Adoptions Chairwoman, Valerie Hicks, says that's not enough.
"This is not the first time they've gone in and arrested people involved in these rings," said Hicks. "But there is never any serious consequences to that. They get their hand slapped and they go back home. They confiscated their dogs. They can have 30 dogs in a months time."
State Senator Angela Burks Hill has been trying to strength this law over the past three years, but she says with big lobby groups protesting and mischaracterizing her bills they haven't been able to get out of committee. She says that however won't stop her from pushing forward for a 4th time.
"The FBI and the national sheriff's association says that this is a serious crime that we need to report and track," said Senator Hill. "I think it's past time for Mississippi to pay attention. This is important and these people are dangerous."
MSNewsNow reached out to the local Farm Bureau Federation, Lt. Governor Tate Reeves, and Speaker of the House Philip Gun whom all have spoken out against strengthening the animal cruelty law in the past. The bureau has not returned calls and both lawmakers are out of town.
Mississippi does have a separate dogfighting law which states hosting, betting, and watching dogfights are felony offenses that are punishable by fines ranging from $500 to $5,000 and prison time up to 5 years.