Mississippi State Cruelty to Animals Statutes- § 97-41-1. Cruelty to living creatures

This post is the first of a series on each of the Mississippi State Cruelty to Animals Statutes and how they serve or fail justice. Responses are welcomed.  Together we will understand how to utilize the laws we now have to protect animals, and why we must unite to improve the statues that defy justice.

It’s the a goal of AAIM to join forces with Mississippi agencies, organizations, and individuals to see that city and county ordinances are established or amended giving both the animals the protection they deserve and their guardians peace of mind knowing that their non-human animal companions have the law on their side.

Mississippi is home to a dedicated grassroots force. An unified effort of advocates who are privy to the hurdles  of passing humane laws, knowing what laws exist and how they serve or fail justice is a  good start. Our accomplishments on the city and county level will show our state legislators we are serious, on the move, and that our efforts will lead to the Capitol where we will see just and meaningful animal protection statutes finally put into place.

Mississippi will have the assurance that violence towards and neglect of animals will be treated for what it is - wrong and intolerable.  AAIM will be posting educational information about what laws exist, examples of crimes against animals and their guardians, and the failures of existing laws that fail to deliver justice for these crimes.

Soon AAIM will be posting lists of organizations, agencies, and other resources for the enforcement of laws, education on animal related issues, and more.  The goal is to share the work being done around the state thereby allowing animal advocates to cover more ground in unity.  It’s time to close the void that has kept us from achieving what we know is just and right


Title 97. Crimes. Chapter 41. Cruelty to Animals. Title 97. Crimes. Chapter 29. Crimes Against Public Morals and Decency.


§ 97-41-1. Cruelty to living creatures

Except as otherwise provided in Section 97-41-16 for a dog or cat, if any person shall intentionally or with criminal negligence override, overdrive, overload, torture, torment, unjustifiably injure, deprive of necessary sustenance, food, or drink; or cruelly beat or needlessly mutilate; or cause or procure to be overridden, overdriven, overloaded, tortured, unjustifiably injured, tormented, or deprived of necessary sustenance, food or drink; or to be cruelly beaten or needlessly mutilated or killed, any living creature, every such offender shall, for every offense, be guilty of a misdemeanor.


Amended by Laws 2011, Ch. 536, § 2, eff. from and after passage (approved April 26, 2011).


<This section was held unconstitutional in Davis v. State (Miss. 2001) 806 So.2d 1098. See Notes of Decisions, post.>


The 2011 amendment substituted “Except as otherwise provided in Section 97-41-16 for a dog or cat, if any person shall intentionally or with criminal negligence override” for “If any person shall override”

There is just no reason that one animal should be protected from pain and suffering over another.  Why should dogs and cats receive greater protections  than other animals?  Interestingly, there are greater protective laws for livestock than for dogs and cats that are killed or harmed, which can impact the income of farmers and ranchers., However, under this statute, livestock animals have less protection than dogs and cats, but we will sort out these inconsistencies,  learn from them, and then see how to overcome them.


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