Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Animal hoarding targeted in Horry County

May 1, 2012:  Additional animal control regulations passed by Horry County Council

By Brad Dickerson

There’s a few more rules on the books for dealing with animal management in Horry County.
The County Council unanimously passed third and final reading Tuesday night of an ordinance that adds new provisions to the animal control statute, such as making it unlawful for keeping pets locked up inside vehicles on hot days. Additionally, the new ordinance changes some of the language to better clarify how animals should be treated by their owners.
Third reading was quickly passed with no discussion among council members other than clarifying some grammatical errors in the ordinance. This followed a lengthy discussion during second reading, where the issue of whether the new laws were too broad was discussed...

...Also, animal hoarding isn’t based on a specified number, but whether or not the owner is able to provide the minimum care and treatment required for a large number of animals
There has been some talk over how the wording of the updated animal control ordinance makes the rules too broad.
Council Chairman Tom Rice cast the sole “nay” vote on the ordinance’s second reading at the April 17 County Council meeting..."  More

Aug 2, 2012: Horry County considers stiff new penalties to protect animals

By Sean Maginnis

HORRY COUNTY, SC - Horry County Officials may be looking to crack down on animal abuse and provide aid to stray animals.
The Horry County Public Safety Department is currently reviewing plans to create stiffer penalties for people convicted of animal abuse crimes, as well as better defining proper animal care.
County Spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier said the goal of the proposed law change is to make sure people know what it means to provide adequate food, shelter and water for domesticated animals.
"The County is...just trying to better define our definitions," Bourcier explained.  "And [also] trying to put in a little heavier penalties as well."
One of the penalties would include the possibility of prohibiting convicted animal abusers from owning a domesticated animal for up to two years.
Conway resident Bobby McDowell, a self proclaimed animal lover, says he believes the county's rules on animal care are vague and in dire need of an update.
"[The ordinance] has no meat, no backbone to it," he stressed. "Which means our [animal control] officers can't do their jobs."
Other ideas being considered by the Public Safety Committee are the prohibition of animal hoarding, creating a low cost spay and neuter program, creating a catch and release spay and neuter plan for stray animals, and requiring all pet owners to implant their pets with I.D. microchips.
Bob Bonsigner, President of the "Sav-R-Cats" animal advocacy group, said he is particularly pleased with the catch and release spay and neuter program, one he is helping county officials develop..."  More

Jan 24, 2010: Animal hoarding up for public review in Horry Co.

An ordinance that aims at protecting animals will be up for public review Monday during a Horry County Public Safety Committee meeting.
The ordinance, under its last review, would give Horry County the authority to remove pets from someone's home if there are a large number of animals that are not properly cared for. A copy of the ordinance states hoarders often fail to provide basic care for animals, resulting in "malnourishment, injuries, disease and often death."
John Pennington, who manages a rental property, says he had a big mess to clean up after renters moved out and left their dogs behind. One dog was dead and the others made what he describes as a "mess" around the house.
Pennington hopes the ordinance passes, noting it would have greatly helped his situation.
"If they would have [gotten] the dogs out of there, not only would it make a difference for the dog, he'd still be alive," believed Pennington. "My apartment wouldn't be completely destroyed."
Bob Grabowski, vice chairman of the Horry County Council, says its instances like Pennington's that have pushed the council to pass an ordinance such as the animal hoarding ordinance.
"Our focus here is really to help the animals - to help the animals get out of these horrible conditions," he said.
If an officer takes note of an animal hoarding problem, they are supposed to take pictures and then present the evidence to a judge before the animals can be removed from the home.
Pennington claims he called police four times before they took action. He says the reason police didn't act was because the animals were not running around the neighborhood. They were in a home.
Pennington believes the ordinance could have given police the authority to take action earlier. He says if someone is not taking care of their pets, they should be taken away.
"They come get your kids, don't they?" he asked. "When you're not good to your kids, why not the animals?"
Grabowski says the ordinance is not targeting licensed breeders or anyone who has multiple animals that are well cared for or well fed.
The public review will take place during on Monday at 9:30 a.m. at the Horry County Government and Justice Center in Conway. The ordinance is expected to Horry County Council for another public review and its final reading..." Link

Dec 7, 2009: Animal hoarding ordinance to receive more consideration

By Claudia Lauer
The Horry County Council Public Safety Committee voted to continue the discussion on the county's proposed animal hoarding ordinance.
Several members of the public, including representatives from Sav-R-Cats and the Horry County Humane Society, came to the committee meeting this morning with questions and requests. Some questioned whether the ordinance would unfairly target rescue operations, but the county was clear that the ordinance would not be aimed at anyone who is humanely adopting animals..." More & video

Nov 5, 2009: Animal hoarding targeted in Horry County

By Claudia Lauer

The story of the woman who lives with dozens of cats seems to be a fictional cautionary tale for most people, but Horry County could soon take steps to prevent the real-life problems that accompany the condition known as animal hoarding.
The compulsive hoarding of animals is often a psychiatric disorder in which people feel the need to rescue more animals than they can care for, and the result is usually a health issue for the humans and animals involved. The Horry County Council will hear first reading of an ordinance Tuesday to treat animal hoarding as a punishable offense and to allow animal control officers to remove animals from those situations.
"It has been a problem in certain districts in the county. We had one situation where a person had 56 dogs inside of a single-wide trailer, and when officers stepped inside, they fell through the floor because it had rotted from all of the animal waste," said Paul Whitten, Horry County's director of Public Safety. "I think any attempt to put a number where it becomes unsafe to have that many animals, I think that number would really be arbitrary."...
...Animal hoarders usually don't understand or acknowledge their inability to care for their animals. Houses can be overrun by animal waste and the animals are often kept inside because the owners are afraid others will see their poor health, but conditions don't have to reach that critical point to be considered hoarding, according to the psychiatric research group Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium..."...More