Thursday, July 14, 2005

Letters to the Editor

Teen Challenge:
Dear Editor,

I want to give a hearty thanks to W. A. McMillan for his letter to you “Confused by Board.” I am the previous president of MS Teen Challenge and presently serve as a board member. 

There is a Teen Challenge center in my city and it has been a tremendous help to many ladies who were on the edge of committing suicide. Countless families have been reunited through the efforts of Teen Challenge. It is a wonderful organization that gets the praise and support from President George W. Bush.

I encourage the Board of Aldermen in your great city to rescind their negative action toward MS Teen Challenge.

David Watson

Animal cruelty:
Dear Editor

Animal cruelty is a reality that I have witnessed here in Marshall County. Recently I was educated about the fact that there are people who actually starve horses to death. Some people have actually managed to get away with it in Marshall County. The State Law 97-41-1 clearly says, “Living Creatures not to be cruelly treated.” Specifically it states “If any person shall 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.” This crime carries with it a possible $1,000 fine and up to 6 months in jail. For a felony, it is $10,000 fine and 5 years in jail.

So, we have a law to protect the animals. Why don’t we have a justice system here in Marshall County to interpret this law and punish those people who starve horses to death? When you look at the pictures of this horse, how can anyone not see that this horse was definitely deprived of necessary sustenance, food, or drink? By the way, this law says nothing about “intentional”. Surely there is no human that would intentionally starve horses to death. But clearly this horse was deprived of food. So therefore, in my opinion, as I interpret the law, the people responsible for this were guilty of animal cruelty.

If I legally could, I would appeal the judge’s ruling and take it to a higher court. But I was informed that I can’t appeal. However, a lawyer did ask me to take it to Civil Court. All I wanted was for the State of Mississippi to punish the people responsible for starving the horse. It was also brought out in the testimonies that three other horses have died in these people’s care, all within one year. I regret that I was not able to do something for those horses. I want to encourage citizens to report animal cruelty when they see it. Don’t wait for someone else to take action. It might be too late to save a life.

Why do some people commit this terrible crime? Is it ignorance, laziness, or just a total lack of compassion for animals? Or do some people do it because of inability to finance the proper care? If you can’t take care of the animals you have, you need to find them a home that can.

Even though justice was not served in Marshall County, I can find peace in knowing that one day we will all answer for how we treat others, including animals. I believe that in the end, God’s justice always prevails.

I don’t want to discourage anybody who sees animal cruelty from trying to do something about it. Perhaps you can learn from my experience. These are the things I would do:

  1. Call the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department to come out and make a report. They were most helpful and even took pictures of the horse. They were very quick to respond.
  2. Call Terry at No Borders Animal Rescue (662-252-6407). He is a great help and has been rescuing horses for over twenty years.
  3. Don’t waste your time calling the Marshall County Humane Society. They were no help to me. They told me they were coming out and never even showed up.
  4. Take pictures of the horse and the place where he/she is kept. Make sure you photograph the facts of no food and no water. This is to help prove the case in court.
  5. Obtain a report from a veterinarian explaining the horse’s condition.
  6. Secure neighbors as witnesses to help prove the case.
  7. Even though the state provides a prosecuting attorney, hire your own lawyer if at all possible. If you can’t, at least make it clear to the state’s attorney that you expect him to do the questioning. I am not a lawyer and certainly not qualified to act as one and try to prove a case by myself.
  8. Keep the goal in focus: to save a life and to stop at least one person from cruel and inhumane treatment of animals.

By the way, I still have the rescued horse. He is so healthy and happy. He will remain here, where he will never be hungry and neglected again. I thank God for allowing me to be of service, to save this horse.

Dorinda K. Hughes

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