Governor Reeves signs anti-animal cruelty measure dubbed ‘Buddy’s Law’

Published: May. 19, 2022 at 10:24 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Governor Tate Reeves signed legislation Thursday in honor of a dog that was burned and severely injured by a 12-year-old in April of last year.

The two to three-year-old pup, Buddy, was forced into intense veterinary treatment, including skin grafts, after the child set him on fire.

“We are finally able to uncover his face. As you can see, he is completely healed. His personality is intact, and he loves people,” Dr. Elizabeth Swanson with Mississippi State University Veterinary School said.

“Buddy’s Law” not only aims to protect animals but children as well.

Senator Angela Hill led the push for the creation of this anti-animal cruelty measure but making it a law was anything but easy.

“Buddy’s Law” passed the Senate unopposed earlier this year, only to later die in the House and ultimately get tacked on to a different bill.

Aside from making the torture incidences (drowning, burning, suffocating, etc.) more specific, Senator Hill said very little changed from the original version of “Buddy’s Law” that she authored to the version signed by Governor Tate Reeves Thursday.

The measure is included as part of Senate Bill 2245, which is a bill having to do with voyeurism.

In a nutshell, “Buddy’s Law” requires psychological evaluations, counseling, and/or treatments for children who torture domesticated cats and dogs.

Additionally, the law holds the offender’s parent and/or guardian accountable if they don’t provide the recommended help for their child.

Lastly, it forces the offender’s parent and/or guardian to pay for the necessary care.

“We need to make sure that if these kids are in front of a youth court judge for something like this, that they receive an evaluation and some treatment,” Hill said. “Hopefully, we will be healing them as well as healing the dogs and cats.”

Both Hill and Representative Dana McLean said Buddy’s Law looks to interrupt the cycle of violence.

“There are signs that say those that end up committing really terrible crimes start out as young children abusing animals,” McLean said.

Buddy’s law goes into effect starting July first.

To read the bill in full, click here.

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