2013 Mississippi Code
Title 97 - CRIMES
Chapter 41 - CRUELTY TO ANIMALS
§ 97-41-19 - Dog fights
(1) If any person (a) shall sponsor, promote, stage or conduct a fight or fighting match between dogs, or (b) shall wager or bet, promote or encourage the wagering or betting of any money or other valuable thing upon any such fight or upon the result thereof, or (c) shall own a dog with the intent to wilfully enter it or to participate in any such fight, or (d) shall train or transport a dog for the purposes of participation in any such fight, he shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine of not less than One Thousand Dollars ($ 1,000.00) nor more than Five Thousand Dollars ($ 5,000.00), or by imprisonment in the State Penitentiary for a term of not less than one (1) nor more than three (3) years, or by both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.
(2) If any person shall be present, as a spectator, at any location where preparations are being made for an exhibition of a fight between dogs with the intent to be present at such preparations, or if any person shall be present at an exhibition of a fight between dogs with the intent to be present at such exhibition, he shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine of not less than Five Hundred Dollars ($ 500.00) nor more than Five Thousand Dollars ($ 5,000.00), or by imprisonment in the State Penitentiary for a term of not more than one (1) year, or by both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.
(3) Any law enforcement officer making an arrest under subsection (1) of this section may lawfully take possession of all dogs and all paraphernalia, implements, equipment or other property used in violation of subsection (1) of this section. Such officer shall file with the circuit court of the county within which the alleged violation occurred an affidavit stating therein (a) the name of the person charged, (b) a description of the property taken, (c) the time and place of the taking, (d) the name of the person who claims to own such property, if known, and (e) that the affiant has reason to believe, stating the ground of such belief, that the property taken was used in such violation. He shall thereupon deliver the property to such court which shall, by order in writing, place such dogs, paraphernalia, implements, equipment, or other property in the custody of a licensed veterinarian, the local humane society or other animal welfare agency, or other suitable custodian, to be kept by such custodian until the conviction or final discharge of the accused, and shall send a copy of such order without delay to the district attorney of the county. The custodian named and designated in such order shall immediately assume the custody of such property and shall retain same, subject to order of the court.
Upon the certification of a licensed veterinarian or officer of the humane society or animal welfare agency that, in his professional judgment, a dog which has been seized is not likely to survive the final disposition of the charges or that, by reason of the physical condition of the dog, it should be humanely euthanized before such time, the court may order the dog humanely euthanized. The court shall make its finding of whether to issue such an order within seven (7) days from the certification by the veterinarian or officer of the humane society or animal welfare agency. The owner of a dog which is euthanized without an order of the court with such certification of a licensed veterinarian or officer of the humane society or other animal welfare agency shall have a right of action for damages against the department or agency by which the arresting or seizing officer is employed. Upon conviction of the person charged with a violation of subsection (1) of this section, all dogs seized shall be adjudged by the court to be forfeited and the court shall order a humane disposition of the same. In no event shall the court order the dog to be euthanized without the certification of a licensed veterinarian or officer of the humane society or other animal welfare agency that, in his judgment, the dog is not likely to survive or that, by reason of its physical condition, the dog should be humanely euthanized. In the event of the acquittal or final discharge without conviction of the accused, the court shall direct the delivery of the property so held in custody to the owner thereof. All reasonable expenses incurred by the custodian of seized dogs and property shall be charged as costs of court, to be taxed against the owner or county in the discretion of the court.
(4) Nothing in subsection (1) of this section shall prohibit any of the following:
(a) The use of dogs in the management of livestock, by the owner of such livestock or other persons in lawful custody thereof;
(b) The use of dogs in lawful hunting; and
(c) The training of dogs for any purpose not prohibited by law.
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