Miss. House OKs amended animal cruelty bill

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — The Mississippi House has passed a bill intended to curb cruelty to domesticated dogs and cats.

The bill passed on Monday.

The first offense of cruelty to dogs or cats would remain a misdemeanor, but the alleged offender would undergo testing at his or her own expense to screen for mental illness. Conviction for a first offense would carry a $2,500 fine or up to six months in jail.

An offender could face a felony charge on a second offense. Punishment for a felony conviction would be a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison. The Senate had proposed a $10,000 fine and five years in prison.

The bill now heads back to the Senate for more work.

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The bill is Senate Bill 2821.