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Woman guilty of cruelty to animals





HATTIESBURG -- A 52-year-old woman has been found guilty of 11 counts of animal cruelty and ordered to pay $1,100 to the animal shelter where she tied 11 puppies to the fence after hours. 




A Hattiesburg Municipal Court judge gave Patsy Payton of Bay Springs six months to pay the Southern Pines Animal Shelter, and ordered her to have all her current pets spayed or neutered, WDAM-TV reported. 




The judge suspended an 11-month jail term, Police Lt. Eric Proulx told The Hattiesburg American. 




Payton allegedly tied the pups to the shelter's fence July 10 with baling wire and zip ties, WDAM reported. It said one died trying to free itself, and the other 10 were so seriously injured they had to be euthanized. 




Shelter manager Lara Hudson called the verdict a mini-victory for abused animals. 




"I'm pleased there are laws in the state that are going to protect animals," Hudson said. "It's nothing personal against the lady. I don't think she intended for it to happen but I'm glad for it (the verdict). It's a victory for the thousands of abused animals that never get heard of because of neglect and abuse." 




A state law passed this year changes the rules on how animal cruelty prosecutions for domesticated cats and dogs. Anyone who intentionally tortures, burns, starves or disfigures a dog or cat can be charged with aggravated cruelty. A first offense would remain a misdemeanor, but a second within five years would be a felony.




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