JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Supporters of animal rights will hold a peaceful protest Thursday prior to a hearing in Jones County Justice Court for a man charged with one count of offending the Mississippi Dog and Cat Law.
Southern Cross Animal Rescue is heading up the protest, which will begin at noon outside the Justice Court, joined by Southern Pines Animal Shelter and the Animal Rescue League, according to SCAR president Heather Williams.
"Our take is that anyone who breaks a law should be punished, but for so many years, animal cruelty and neglect has been widely ignored in the South," said Williams. "We want to set a precedence that it won't go unnoticed anymore. Maybe it will make offenders think twice."
The defendant, Zavier Arrington of Sandersville, is facing an animal cruelty charge under Mississippi Code 97-41-16 2(b) for keeping 10 dogs on his property that were found by SCAR to be living in poor conditions, with no shelter, food or water.
Williams said in December when the dogs were found on Arrington's property that SCAR volunteers went "with full intentions of explaining the law to the homeowner," but quickly realized the dogs needed to be removed.
Nine pit bulls and one chihuahua were recovered from the site with help from the Jones County Sheriff's Department. All of the dogs received medical care due to their low weight, both internal and external parasites, and other injuries that appeared to be abscessed bite marks.
Since the December rescue, one of the dogs has passed away, and the other nine are in temporary custody of SCAR.
The protest will begin Thursday, March 5 at noon, followed by the hearing at 1 p.m. in Jones County Justice Court. For more information on the protest, visit the Facebook page "Demand max penalty for Zavier Arrington".