The Mississippi Dog and Cat Pet Protection Law of 2011, found in the Mississippi Code §97-41-16 was passed to protect animals from cruelty by defining cruelty, providing a process for reporting suspected cruelty and giving Mississippi judges the authority to punish animal cruelty.  This statute only provides protection to domesticated dogs and cats.

SIMPLE CRUELTY  A person is guilty of Simple Cruelty if they intentionally or with criminal negligence

  • wound
  • deprive of adequate shelter
  • deprive of food or water OR
  • carry or confine in a cruel manner
  • OR cause any person to do the same
  • it is a misdemeanor offense
  • FINE is not more than $1,000.00 OR
  • JAIL not more than 6 months OR
  • BOTH fine and jail

AGGRAVATED CRUELTY  A person is guilty of Aggravated Cruelty if they with malice shall intentionally

  • torture,
  • mutilate,
  • maim,
  • burn,
  • starve OR
  • disfigure
  • OR cause another person to do the same
  • 1ST OFFENSE–misdemeanor, fine not more than $2,500.00 OR jail not more than 6 months OR BOTH
  • 2ND OFFENSE–felony, fine not more than $5,000.00 AND jail not less than 1 year nor more than 5 years


  • nolo contendere plea is counted as conviction for purposes of determining 1st or subsequent offense
  • restitution SHALL be the current replacement value of loss and actual veterinarian fees, medication, special supplies, loss of income as a result of the crime
  • court MAY order reasonable costs of sheltering, transporting and rehabilitation of the animal and any other costs directly related to the care of the animal to any law enforcement or animal control entity, either governmental or nonprofit
  • court may order a psychological evaluation, counseling paid for by the offender, community service, be restrained from employment that involves care of a dog or cat
  • EXCEPTIONS: protection of self,  protecting poultry or livestock from trespassing dog or cat, lawful practice as a Veterinarian, emergency care of a dog or cat, use of dogs or cats to herd animals for food, use of dogs or cats for organizations and events that promote dogs or cats, lawful practices under other state and federal laws, natural disaster, unintentional injury by motor vehicle, immunity for good faith reporting, immunity for people doing their job and acting in good faith