She's helped uncover everything from puppy mills to cockfighting. Now a Stone County sheriff's deputy's crusade against animal cruelty has won her national acclaim. On Tuesday, the Humane Society of the United States honored Chief Deputy Phyllis Olds. Olds said she believes in protecting all God's creatures.
Over the years, our news cameras have captured just some of the puppy mills, dog fighting and animal hoarding Olds has investigated. She said no matter how many cases she's worked, seeing animals living in deplorable conditions still gets to her.
"Then you go home at night and you replay it in your mind. You wonder how someone could do this to an animal," said Olds. "It takes an emotional toll, but you go home and you do your serious crying and you're beating on stuff at home and away from the public and away from those animals because animals have feelings, too."
For her efforts, the Humane Society of the United States presented Olds with the 2013 Humane Law Enforcement Award, which is given for leadership in combating illegal animal abuse. While officers from across the country were nominated, Olds was one of the few chosen.
"The cases that we've done with Phyllis Olds, they've been some really difficult cases. A lot of other law enforcement officers maybe would have walked away from that situation," said Lydia Salter, Mississippi Director for the Humane Society of the United States. "We've done some really tough cases with her. Large cases and some really horrific scenes. She was amazing. She handled it professionally, wonderfully and got the job done and is really to be commended."
During a 2013 dog hoarding raid, the Stone County Sheriff's department seized more than 100 animals. Salter said Olds is someone who goes above and beyond.
"She never hesitates when it comes to animal cruelty cases," Salter said. "She doesn't make excuses. She's well educated on the link between animal violence and human violence."
Chief Deputy Olds said the award is special to her.
"The pay off is most of these animals go to good, loving, forever homes and they will get love and care they never received the first part of their life," said Olds. "The second part of their life they will be loved."
Chief Deputy Phyllis Olds said she would like to see the Mississippi legislature strengthen our cruelty laws to better protect animals.
"They just don't have a voice. Somebody needs to be that voice for them," Olds said. "They're there for us to love and cherish and take care of. Not to abuse and not to continuously breed and tear their bodies down. They are part of God's creatures."
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