Monday, July 20, 2009

Animal abuse laws lack teeth

Pearl River County supervisor wants harsher penalties

    Patricia Older

MCNEILL — When Pearl River County supervisor Sandy Kane Smith went to the abandoned gas station in McNeill, nothing in his life prepared him for the sight and smell of the dead and dying dogs abandoned there.

"I have seen a lot of things in my life, especially on my grandmother's farm," said Smith, "but I have never seen anything like this. Just to see those dogs tied up the way they were, well, there are not words to describe it."

Four dogs were found dead behind the gas station in McNeill earlier this month. The owner, Alicia Goynes, has been charged with six counts of animal cruelty. Goynes has defended herself, saying she had been on vacation and had left the dogs in the care of a woman she has not named.

Smith has promised to study what options the board of supervisors has to enact laws that would have more bite to them against people who commit acts of animal cruelty. He said even the process they had to go through to save the lone surviving dog was arduous.

"We couldn't just take the dog out of there, we had to get a (seizure) warrant and that took all day," Smith said.

A sheriff's deputy was alerted. Tied in various locations around a small travel trailer parked behind the closed gas station the deputy discovered a dead pit bull and a dead puppy. Three puppies were still alive and another pit bull was also alive..." More