JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Mississippi legislators are revisiting animal cruelty laws across the state.
State Senators passed a preliminary bill on Tuesday that would make malicious and cruel behavior against any cat or dog a felony.
Currently, the charges are misdemeanor with no more than one year in jail for maximum punishment and a $1,000 fine. Maximum punishment for felony charges would result in no more than 5 years in prison and a fine of $10,000 dollars.
This bill has been proposed in the past, but opposition was raised in the legislature over what constitutes as animal cruelty and if the farming industry would be affected.
This current bill, however, states that only cats and dogs would apply to the felony animal cruelty charges. Local organizations who support this bill say it is long over due.
"Because of the overwhelming amount of evidence that links animal cruelty to cruelty against people," said president of Mississippi FACT (Fight Animal Cruelty Together), Tiffany Frautschi.
"I'm an attorney as an attorney it's very discouraging to know that whoever would inflict such pain on an animal would only be prosecuted for a misdemeanor crime," Claire Hawkins local volunteer at the Community Animal Rescue and Adoption center (CARA).
In the meantime, the bill will be presented to the full senate for review.
©2010 WLBT. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.