Police rescued this dog leashed to a tree on the property.
Police rescued this dog leashed to a tree on the property.
The Madison Police Department should be lauded for their efforts this week in helping rescue four horses and a dog from animal neglect.

When called out on Monday to deal with horses on the loose, the animal control officer could easily have put the horses back in the field and gone about his business. Instead, he took action after noting the obvious neglect that had taken place.

The police, like Johnny-on-the-spot, had a seizure order ready to go, took it to court, and in less than a day had a rescue lined up.

There were two troughs on the property, one empty, and one with contaminated water. Elsewhere on the property a dog was leashed to a tree with no food, water or shelter.

The horses are owned by Murphy Burnett of Jackson, and were kept on his property at 1358 North Livingston Road.

It’s 2018 and we have people like Mr. Burnett who still think it’s acceptable to treat animals this way.

If you can’t care for them or don’t want them, there are a number of organizations that would rather help in finding a good home.

If it wasn’t for a neighbor feeding them hay during the winter, the horses would have likely died, Stephanie Billingsley, who took in the horses, said.

Mississippi has no felony animal cruelty laws on the books and this year another measure to pass one died in the Legislature.

 Some who voted against the bill, like Madison County’s Sen. Barbara Blackmon, a Democrat from Canton, said she only opposed the bill because the penalties were harsher than in some instances for crimes against adults.

We’ve found out from the Florida school shooting last month that cruelty to animals can lead to killing people.

Why the Legislature can’t strengthen penalties for crimes against both humans and animals is as unbelievable as people tying dogs up to trees with nothing to eat or drink. But, yet, that’s reality.

Burnett arrived on the property during the rescue and was later arrested on an outstanding contempt of court warrant in Madison.

He has also been charged with animal cruelty and having animals run at large. He is still being held at the Madison County Detention Center where we hope he sits for a while and reflects on the harm he has caused.

At least he will be afforded food and water, unlike his dog found tied to a tree.