A Mississippi bill that makes aggravated cruelty to a domesticated dog or cat a felony has been approved by both the House and Senate and is now on its way to Governor Barbour for his signature.

SB 2821, originally introduced by Sen. Bob Dearing, is the product of a compromise between The Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) and the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation. These two organizations, originally on opposite sides of the bill, hammered out their differences and agreed to the amended legislation.

“I think this bill addresses the major concerns of both organizations and the people that they represent,” says Randy Knight, president of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation.

“This legislation provides meaningful penalties for the worst cases of animal cruelty,” says Lydia Sattler, HSUS Mississippi state director. “We needed a starting point to update animal cruelty laws, and this is a huge step for Mississippi."