Chain Of Cruelty: Loose Animal Neglect Laws In SC - WSPA.com

Chain Of Cruelty: Loose Animal Neglect Laws In SC

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According to the Humane Society of the United States, South Carolina is ranked 47th overall in how state laws protect animals against abuse. According to the Humane Society of the United States, South Carolina is ranked 47th overall in how state laws protect animals against abuse.
SPARTANBURG, S.C. -

According to the Humane Society of the United States, South Carolina is ranked 47th overall in how state laws protect animals against abuse. The HSUS has released its 2012 Humane State Ranking, a comprehensive report rating all 50 states and D.C. on a wide range of animal protection laws. Many lawmakers and animal activist groups tell 7 On Your Side, that a ranking near the bottom is unacceptable.

In South Carolina, some counties have ordinances that can help animal control keep a close eye on animal abusers. 7 On Your Side looked at Greenville County where there are rules that prohibit hoarding animals or running a puppy mill. In Lauren’s County, there isn’t an ordinance and animal control officers enforce state law only.

In each of those counties, Rebecca, Amanda and Sara Keith were charged with ill treatment of animals and their arrest records show a conviction in 1998. In 2006 the women were living in Travelers Rest when deputies said there was a grease fire at their home and dozens of animals were seized.

Those two incidents didn’t stop the group however and in early May, a report showed Laurens County animal control officers removed livestock from her home after responding to a call for service.

One of six horses were removed according to a report and 7 On Your Side spoke with Joe Mann, owner of Big Oats Rescue Farm in Greenwood, who cared for the remaining livestock. Mann said one of the horses was already dead and another died later because it was not cared for properly.

The HSUS and some lawmakers in the state are calling for stricter animal cruelty laws to stop the abuse from happening and deny repeat offenders the ability to abuse animals over and over.

Greenville County animal control tells 7 On Your Side that as the law stands now, an animal control officer responds to a call where abuse may be occurring and if they feel the situation endangers the health of the animals, they may petition a magistrate to remove the animals.

When a judge gives the okay, then the animals will be held until a hearing, which usually takes place within three days. After that the animals, if removed permanently, may be adopted out.

Representative Bill Taylor made a proposal to make severe animal abuse a felony. Click here to read the details of the bill.

Here are the links to several animal bills currently pending at the state legislature:

  •  S. 193 – Cruelty bill (increases fines and jail times for cruelty offenses, particularly after the 1st offense).
  •  S. 194/H. 3492 – Animal shelter/private practice veterinarian bill; House bill is heavily contested and has been re-drafted multiple times over the last several months. The current version online is not up-to-date.
  •  S. 529/H. 3068  – Felony cockfighting bill  (SC is one of ten states where it’s a misdemeanor)
  •  S. 640 – Animal Rescue Act: addresses multiple animal welfare concerns; controversial language will be heavily contested if it moves.
  •  S. 777/H. 3490 – Bear Baying: SC is the only state that still allows the unsporting practice of bear baying.
  • H. 3045 – Animal Abuse Registry
  •  H. 3361 – Pet Protective Orders: protected pets in domestic violence disputes (strong link between domestic violence and animal cruelty)
  •  H. 3392 – Large-Scale Cruelty Seizures: increases fines and jail times in large-scale offense, provides felony provisions (Rep. Taylor’s bill).
  •  H. 3985 – Dangerous Wild Animals Bill: would make it illegal to privately own certain dangerous wild and exotic animals. SC one of five states with zero regulations. 

If you have an opinion on the issue, you can contact your lawmakers.  Click here to find their contact information.

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