Jackson, Miss. (WJTV) -- In a 44-7 vote, Mississippi Senators passed Senate Bill 2934. If passed in the House and signed by Gov. Phil Bryant, the legislation would increase dog fighting penalties.
Shelby Parsons with the Animal Advocacy Initiative of Mississippi says, right now, dog fighting is a felony that comes with 1-3 years in prison and a $1,000-$5,000 fine.
Parsons says, "The increased penalty is up to a $10,000 fine for people who are involved in dog fighting. And that's a $1,000 fine per dog up to $10,000."
The legislation comes after several large dog fighting rings have been broken up in recent months in Adams, Madison, and Wayne Counties.
"I think that any progress is good progress," says Parsons. "Not only does it show that Mississippi cares about its animals but it also dissuades people from thinking that Mississippi is a good place to start that activity. Not only are there local people that are involved in dog fighting but people do travel around to start dog fighting rings."
The Senate also passed bill 2474 which would create a registry of animal abusers.
According to Parsons, "The goal with this law is not only to increase penalties for people who commit animal abuse but to have them in this registry. Not only could that prevent future violence against other people such as domestic abuse, abuse against kids or other family members, but it could also help us understand that this type of abuse happens at a young age and intervention needs to happen early before it escalates into more violence as an adult."
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