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OPD launches investigation into animal cruelty claims

Oxford law enforcement officials are investigating instances of animal cruelty following reports by homeowners claiming that their pets have been shot and wounded.
The shootings are being investigated by the Oxford Police Department and the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office.
A recent incident occurred when a woman’s cat was shot with a pellet gun, according to Oxford Police Department Chief Mike Martin.
Lee Payne, a veterinarian at Animal Clinic of Oxford, said shootings could certainly be lethal and cause serious medical problems.   
“If it’s a superficial thing, you don’t do anything with it, or you can go all the way up to major surgeries with broken bones or major abdominal surgeries,” Payne said.
In another incident, an Oxford resident’s dog was found shot in the leg in her driveway. The dog endured six surgeries over the next two and a half weeks before passing away.
Jennifer Stobbe, a veterinarian with Pampered Paws Animal Hospital in Oxford, said she believes animal cruelty is a problem in the state.
“In the first three months of being a vet in Mississippi, I saw more animals shot than I had in the 14 or 15 years working for other vets in other states,” she said.
In 2010, there were 133 reported cases of shooting a pet in the United States.
Mississippi only had two. However, statistics were not provided for shooting with a non-lethal weapon.
Overall 1,077 cases of animal abuse were recorded in the United States, and Mississippi had only 14.
Martin said those persons involved in the shooting of animals, if caught, would face a misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty and a potential fine of up to $2,500 and/or six months in jail.
Oxford police ask those with information to help solve cases of animal cruelty to call Crimestoppers at 662-234-TIPS.   
Additional reporting by Jacob Batte.