MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Governor Tate Reeves has signed a measure that will require children who abuse animals to undergo a psychiatric evaluation and treatment.
Thursday at the State Capitol in Jackson, Mississippi, a dog named Buddy was the center of attention as Reeves signed “Buddy’s Law,” a measure sparked by the horrible burns inflicted on the dog by a 12-year-old Tate County boy last April.
Under state law, the 12-year-could not face charges.
Sandy Williams, director of the Tunica Humane Society, was one of the first to see Buddy after he was found badly burned and was outraged to learn a 12-year-old was responsible.
“When it was disclosed that it was a child involved that had set Buddy on fire, that just took it to a whole other level of frustration,” Williams said.
Supporters of “Buddy’s Law” believe there will be more protection for animals in Mississippi.
“Children who, for whatever reason, cause harm to animals will be guaranteed that they can be evaluated and cared for in a manner which would be necessary to prevent anything like this from happening in the future,” said Dr. Lisa Godfrey from Stateline Animal Clinic.
Buddy’s burns were so horrific he spent 10 months at Mississippi State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine receiving skin grafts and specialized care. Dr. Betsy Swanson became so attached to Buddy that she’s now his foster mom.
Swanson, who was with Buddy in Jackson Thursday, says the dog has beaten the odds and is completely healed.
“I think he’s been a very good advocate for his cause, but most of all people have poured their hearts into him,” Swanson said.
“Buddy’s Law” will go into effect July 1.