Woman charged with animal cruelty could face new law - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Hattiesburg woman charged with animal cruelty could face new law

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Under a new state law, a Bay Springs woman arrested Monday for 11 counts of animal cruelty in Hattiesburg may be charged with a new offence.

Patsy Payton, 52, was taken into custody after detectives investigating the crime received tips in regards to the video from the Southern Pines Animal Shelter. The new law means she could be charged with aggravated animal cruelty.

The Hattiesburg Police Department "would like to thank all of those persons in the media who brought attention to this case, and all of the citizens who contacted Metro Crimestoppers to identify the woman."

The Mississippi Dog and Cat Protection Law passed in April. Under the new law, simple cruelty is no longer limited to beating, killing, maiming or poisoning. It now includes intentionally or with criminal negligence wounding, depriving of adequate shelter, food and water, carrying or confining in a cruel manner any domesticated dog or cat. Aggravated cruelty now includes torture, mutilation, maiming, burning, starving and disfigurement. The fine is now $5,000 and jail time up to 5 years.

An employee of the Southern Pines Animal Shelter arrived at work July 13 and found 11 Shepard mix puppies tied to the gate.

Surveillance video at the shelter showed a woman taking two puppies at a time by the neck from her vehicle and using zip ties and baling wire to tie them to the fence. The zip ties had been tightened around their neck.

The puppies apparently struggled to free themselves throughout the night. One of them died trying to get loose and the rest suffered serious injuries and had to be euthanized.

Shelter manager Lara Hudson has filed an official complaint with the Hattiesburg Police.

"It is just gut wrenching to see this happen to the most innocent animals," said Hudson. "These pets, domestic animals shouldn't be treated in this manner. It's now a crime in the State of Mississippi to commit animal cruelty."

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact the Hattiesburg Police.

Copyright 2011 WDAM. All rights reserved.

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