Breaking! First Felony Conviction In Mississippi Of Dog Fighter Tommy Queen Under Strengthened Animal Welfare Law
In Defense of Animals has welcomed a historic ruling for animals in Mississippi. Last week, circuit court Judge Debbie W. Blackwell presided over the first felony case charged under the 2018, strengthened Mississippi dog fighting law (§ 97-41-19. Dog fights.) Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten and his deputies made history with the conviction of Tommie Queen on three of the nine counts of dogfighting that he was charged with.
“This case was actually historical for the state of Mississippi because it’s the first time that multiple counts of dog fighting has actually been charged and somebody has been found guilty of it,” said Sheriff Travis Patten in a statement. “We don’t want to see anybody go to jail, but at the end of the day people need to know that there are consequences for their actions. We are sworn to uphold and protect the rights of all, and that includes the animals as well, I hope it sends a message.”
In November 2017, the Adams County Sheriff’s Department responded to an early morning call to 129 ½ Miracle Road concerning barking dogs. The call led to a three-day investigation culminating in the seizure of 54 dogs and the arrest of Tommie Queen for possessing dogs with the intent to fight them. The statute now allows for a count for each dog involved in a case of fighting dogs, training dogs for fighting, and or the possession of dogs for fighting.
Testimony from Adams County deputies involved in the case, as well as ASPCA Criminal Investigator Kyle Held and Dr. Robert L. Savant of Natchez Veterinary Clinic, aided in the on-site investigation that sealed Queen’s fate.
After a two-day trial and four hours of deliberation by the jury, Tommie Queen was found guilty of possessing dogs for the intent to train and to fight them. There were 42 pieces of evidence introduced, including 12-15 lb. chains, medical supplies used for enhancing the strength of a fighting dog, and graphic photos of nine of the 54 dogs who were so seriously injured that they had to be euthanized, one with her lower jaw torn off, leaving little but necrotic flesh.
After sentencing, Queen was immediately taken into custody to begin his sentence of 3, three-year terms of imprisonment to be served consecutively.
In Defense of Animals’ Justice for Animals Director Doll Stanley attended the two-day trial. Stanley was instrumental in aiding Senator Bob Dearing in the passage of his 2018 bill that increased the penalties for dog fighting and enabled law enforcement to charge suspects with multiple counts of cruelty. Stanley previously awarded the Adams County Sheriff’s Dept. with In Defense of Animals’ Humanitarian Award for its role in dog fighting busts and other justice for animals cases.
Stanley said, “This was a truly horrific case and we thank Judge Blackwell for passing a meaningful sentence for so many dogs who suffered at the hands of Queen. More than 12,000 In Defense of Animals supporters have made it clear that they want to see justice for dog fighting victims. We are delighted to see strong animal laws enforced in Mississippi.”
Sheriff Patten told Stanley, “They have to see the law get it right for animal rights. Because animals can’t care for themselves; as people, we have to be better stewards for our animals. And if not, there are people like you and I (Doll Stanley) who are put in place to demand and make sure that justice is sought out, and today, I think we saw that happen first hand.
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