Are new rules protecting animals in Spartanburg Co. effective?

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Spartanburg County started implementing new rules to its animal control ordinance in September 2019. The agency says the difficulty has been getting the word out about the changes.

7News checked in and learned even those who have made an effort to report violations find making change is slow going.

The agency that oversees animal control in Spartanburg County says since the ordinance was implemented three months ago, they’ve issued 12 citations and written 25 warnings pertaining to the new rules.

Activists who advocated for better animal protections say the new law is only effective if there’s accountability.

In November of 2019 Chris Morrow in Moore, noticed a dog tethered to a tree with a chain.

The new rules prohibit metal chains as collars or tethers. And the non-metallic tether must be at least 12 feet in length and tied to a stake or swivel system.. unless it’s on a trolley. That way the animal has adequate space to run around.

“It’s clear that he is not supposed to be kept that way based on the new ordinance in Spartanburg County,” said Morrow.

Morrow says he first reported this violation to Animal Control with a phone call in mid-November and followed up by filling out an online form in early December.

“They’ve been notified about it at least 6 weeks and now the animal is still chained. So it’s dissappointing that they are not following up,” said Morrow.

Jamie Nelson, the Director of Environmental Enforcement in Spartanburg County oversees Animal control. He says the agency did follow up twice with that homeowner, giving him extra time to come into compliance because of the holidays.

And while his staff is not obligated to get back with people who report violations, he welcomes the accountability.

“We can just use their eyes and ears. If you see a dog that doesn’t fall into compliance call us and let us know. Feel free to call us back, we may not call you and say hey this is what we did. But there’s nothing wrong with you following back up and saying, hey, is this taken care of,” said Nelson.

Morrow hopes more people will learn the rules and report violators. He also hopes some day the county will follow the city of Spartanburg which has tougher restrictions on temperature and how long a dog can be tethered.

Homeowners should know each citation in the county can run up to $1000.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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