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Chapter 4 – ANIMALS

  • ARTICLE I & II. – PROTECTION AND CUSTODY REGULATIONS

  • Sec. 4-23. – Definitions.

    The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

    Abandonment means a situation in which an owner of an animal or pet does not provide for humane disposal of the animal or pet, or does not transfer ownership to a responsible person, or who does not provide or arrange for adequate food, water, shelter and care.

    Animal control officers means the persons designated by the county sheriff’s office as enforcement officers pursuant to the provisions of this article.

    Animal shelter means any premises designated by the town council for the purpose of impoundment, care or destruction of animals or pets found in violation of this article.

    Animal shelter operation means any organization charged with the operation of an animal shelter (i.e., S.P.C.A) under an agreement with the county government.

    Animals, for purposes of this article only, means any live, vertebrate creature, domestic or wild, which shall include all brute creatures that are owned by persons or kept as pets.

    At large means an animal which is off the property and/or premises of the owner or keeper and not under physical control by the owner or keeper by means of a leash or restraint.

    Dangerous animal.

    (1)

    The term “dangerous animal” means an animal:

    a.

    Which the owner knows, or reasonably should know, has a propensity, tendency, or disposition to attack unprovoked, cause injury, or otherwise endanger the safety of human beings or domestic animals;

    b.

    Which:

    1.

    Makes an unprovoked attack that causes bodily injury to a human being and the attack occurs in a place other than the place where the animal is confined; or

    2.

    Commits unprovoked acts in a place other than the place where the animal is confined and those acts cause a person to reasonably believe that the animal will attack and cause bodily injury to a human being;

    c.

    Which is owned or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of fighting or which is trained for fighting.

    (2)

    The term “dangerous animal” does not include:

    a.

    An animal used exclusively for agricultural purposes; or

    b.

    An animal which attacks a person who is trespassing or who appears to be trespassing. A trespasser is a person who is not lawfully upon the property of another.

    Injury or bodily injury means:

    (1)

    Broken bones;

    (2)

    Lacerations;

    (3)

    Punctures of the skin; or

    (4)

    Any physical injury resulting in death.

    Livestock includes horses, bovine, sheep, goats and swine.

    Owner means any person who owns or has custody or control of the animal.

    Pet means any animal which may legally be held as a pet by private citizens without special permit or permission required (i.e., dogs (canis famiuaris), cats (catus)). With the exception of dogs and cats, subsections (1) through (6) of this definition are “exotic” pets or wildlife which require special permits.

    (1)

    Family canidae: coyote, wolves, foxes, dogs.

    (2)

    Family ursidae: bears.

    (3)

    Family procyonidae: raccoons and allies.

    (4)

    Family mustelidae: marten, fisher, weasel, ferret, mink, ermine, tayra, grison, wolverine, badger, skunk otter.

    (5)

    Family vevirridae; mongoose.

    (6)

    Family felidae: cats and allies.

    Restraint means when a pet or animal is confined to the premises of its owner or keeper by fence, chain, or other appropriate measure, on the premises of its owner or keeper, or when a pet is accompanied by owner or keeper and is physically controlled by a leash or similar physical device.

    Stray means any animal running at large without identification.

    Vaccination against rabies means the injection, subcutaneously, intramuscularly or otherwise, of anti-rabies vaccine as approved by the department of agriculture/veterinary biologics division, administered by a license veterinarian.

    (Ord. No. 99-06, § 1(A), 7-26-1999)

  • Sec. 4-24. – Seizure and right-of-entry to protect abandoned, neglected or cruelly-treated animals.

    (a)

    Any animal control officer may lawfully take charge of any animal found abandoned, neglected or cruelly treated or unfit for use, and shall petition any magistrates court in the jury area wherein the animal is found, for a hearing which shall be a civil proceeding. The hearing shall be set not more than ten days from the date of the seizure of the animal to determine whether the owner, if known is able to adequately provide for the animal and is a fit person to own the animal. The animal control officer shall cause to be served upon the owner, if known and residing within the jurisdiction wherein the animal is found, written notice of at least five days prior to the hearing of the time and place of the hearing. If the owner is known but residing out of the jurisdiction where such animal is found, written notice by any method or service of process as is provided by South Carolina Code of Civil Procedure shall be given. If the owner is unknown at the time of seizure, it shall be considered a stray. The animal control officer may provide for such animal until the owner is adjudged by the court able to adequately provide for such animal and a fit person to own the animal, in which case the animal shall be returned to the owner. If the owner is adjudged by the court unable to adequately provided for the animal or not a fit person to own the animal, then the court shall order that the animal be placed for adoption in a suitable home, or humanely destroyed. The court, in determining whether the owner is able to adequately provide for the animal or is a fit person to own the animal, may take into consideration, among other things, the owner’s past record of convictions under this article, or one similar thereto, and the owner’s mental and physical condition.

    (b)

    Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the destruction of a critically injured or ill animal or an animal identified as carrying or having an infectious or contagious condition or disease or any unidentified animal deemed to represent a physical danger to the public, animal control, shelter staff, or other impounded animals may be humanely euthanized upon agreement by animal control and shelter staff.

    (Ord. No. 99-06, § 1(B), 7-26-1999)

  • Sec. 4-25. – Vaccination against rabies.

    No person shall own, keep, or harbor any dog or cat within the town unless such pets has been vaccinated against rabies as provided herein. The provisions of this section shall only apply to dogs or cats over three months old.

    (1)

    All rabies vaccinations (as evidence by certificate) shall be from a licensed graduate veterinarian using a vaccine which is good for a period longer than one year, provided such vaccine has been approved with the longer period of time specified by the state department of health and environmental control after consultation with the executive committee of the state association of veterinarians.

    (2)

    A state department of health and environmental control certificate of pet rabies vaccination will be issued by a licensed graduate veterinarian for each dog or cat, stating the name and address of owner, the name, breed, color and makings, age, sex of animal, and the veterinary or pharmaceutical control number of the vaccination.

    (3)

    Coincident with the issuance of the certificate, the licensed graduate veterinarian shall also furnish a serially numbered metal tag bearing the same number and year as is on the certificate. The metal license tag shall bear the name of the veterinarian and shall at all times be attached to a collar or harness worn by the dog or cat for which the certificate and tag have been issued. Note: these tags shall be issued in accordance with the recommendation of the National Association of Public Health Veterinarians as to tag, shape and color.

    (4)

    The owner shall have a valid certificate of rabies vaccination readily available at all times for inspection by animal control officer or health official.

    (5)

    In the event that a rabies tag is lost, the owner shall obtain a duplicate tag within seven working days.

    (6)

    A certificate of rabies vaccination issued by a licensed veterinarian from another state will be accepted as valid evidence of vaccination, provided it is less than a year from date of issue.

    (Ord. No. 99-06, § 1(C), 7-26-1999)

  • Sec. 4-26. – Enforcement of rabies control provisions.

    The provisions of this section relating to control of rabies and the provisions of S.C. Code 1976, § 47-5-10 et seq., Rabies Control Act, shall be enforced by animal control officers and state health department rabies control officers.

    (1)

    Animals found running at large or having no valid rabies inoculation tags shall be impounded by the animal control officer, and disposed of after remaining unclaimed for five days.

    (2)

    Animals impounded under the provisions of S.C. Code 1976, § 47-5-130, Rabies Control Act, may only be redeemed after showing proof of current rabies inoculation, or payment for rabies inoculation, payment for daily boarding cost assessed by animal control.

    (Ord. No. 99-06, § 1(D), 7-26-1999)

  • Sec. 4-27. – Impoundment of pets running at large; disposition.

    (a)

    Any pet or dangerous pet running at large may be impounded by the animal control officer or any of the persons empowered to enforce this article and transported to the county animal shelter, and there impounded and confined until redeemed or disposed of as hereinafter provided.

    (b)

    Immediately after impounding any properly tagged pet, the animal control officer and/or an animal shelter officer shall make a reasonable effort to notify the owner in writing or by telephone of its impoundment and to inform the owner of the conditions whereby he can regain custody of the pet.

    (c)

    At-large animals and pets shall be either euthanized after five working days, or placed for adoption at the discretion of the animals shelter operator (S.P.C.A.).

    (d)

    It shall be the duty of the animal shelter operator to keep accurate and detailed records of seizures and dispositions of all animals coming into their custody. Such records must be kept a minimum of two years.

    (e)

    Any animal determined by the animal control officer to be abandoned shall be impounded by the animal control officer.

    (f)

    Exempt dogs. No hunting dog is required to be constrained by a leash while it is actually engaged in hunting game and under supervision. As used in this section, the term “supervision” means that the owner of the hunting dog or his designee is either in the vicinity of the hunting dog or in the process of trying to retrieve the hunting dog.

    (Ord. No. 99-06, § 1(E), 7-26-1999)

  • Sec. 4-28. – Redemption.

    (a)

    The owner shall be entitled to resume possession of a pet impounded under subsection (e) of this section, upon compliance with the rabies vaccination requirement, proper identification, and the payment of redemption fees herein set forth.

    (b)

    The owner of an impounded pet must apply for the redemption of this pet. The pet may not be released unless authorized by the animal control officer or animal shelter operator with assurance from the owner that proper care custody will be maintained.

    (c)

    Redemption fees. The fees set forth herein shall be collected from the owner by the animal control officer or animal shelter operator and turned over to the county treasurer, who shall make monthly accounting of such funds. Such fees shall go toward defraying the expense of operating the animal shelter. A redemption fee of $25.00 will be charged for impoundment and payment for daily boarding costs for animals, excluding livestock, as assessed by the county.

    (d)

    The impoundment fee for livestock will be $50.00, plus daily boarding costs, as assessed by the county.

    (e)

    It shall be unlawful for any person to release from impoundment without proper authority any pet, or to resist an animal control officer engaged in the impoundment of any pet.

    (Ord. No. 99-06, § 1(F), 7-26-1999)

  • Sec. 4-29. – Animal care.

    (a)

    No person or those owning, or having possession, charge, custody, or control of any animal shall cause or fail to provide said animal with sufficient good and wholesome food, clean water, proper shelter, care and veterinary treatment when needed.

    (b)

    An animal control officer shall issue a summons if there is probable cause to believe that a violation of any provision of this article has been violated, including the following violations:

    (1)

    Abandon, or cause to be abandoned, an animal.

    (2)

    Expose any known poisonous substance, whether mixed with food or not, so that the same shall reasonably be expected to be eaten by any animal, fish, bird, fowl, or reptile; provided that it shall not be unlawful for a person to expose on his own property common rat poison mixed only with vegetable substances.

    (3)

    Cruelly beat, ill-treat, torment, torture, overload, overwork, or otherwise abuse an animal, or cause, instigate, or permit, any fight, or other combat between animals, or animal and human.

    (4)

    No person, except a licensed veterinarian, shall perform an operation to crop, notch, or split an animal’s ear or tail.

    (5)

    Failure to provide treatment or denial of treatment for any diseased, sick or injured animal.

    (6)

    Failure or denial of necessary sustenance, such as food in an inadequate amount to sustain flesh or permit normal growth, an inadequate amount of clean water, or water that is sour, filthy, or spoiled.

    (7)

    Failure or denial of proper confinement, to remove excrement and keep shelter or confinement area clean, odor free, and free of ticks, fleas, flies, or mosquitos.

    (8)

    Tease, bait, or in any way molest any animal not belonging to him or legally under his control.

    (9)

    Failure or denial to provide shelter for any animal, fish, bird, fowl, or reptile of any kind in any manner without shading same from the sun, any direct light, heat or cold and providing adequate ventilation for their use.

    (10)

    Sell, offer for sale, barter, or give away, any animal fowl, or reptile which cannot care for itself, which is unweaned.

    (11)

    Allowing animal to run free, break loose, or escape in any manner.

    (c)

    Any person, as the operator of a vehicle, who strikes a dog or cat, should, if reasonably possible, report the accident to the owner, the animal control division, or the police department.

    (Ord. No. 99-06, § 1(G), 7-26-1999)

  • Sec. 4-30. – Impoundment without proper care due to incapacity or involuntary absence of owner.

    Whenever the animal control officer finds that any animal is or will be without proper care because of injury, illness, incarceration or other involuntary absence of the person responsible for the care of such animal until reclaimed by its owner. The owner must pay the applicable fees in the same manner as any other owner would redeem an impounded animal prior to the release of such animal by the division. In no event shall the animal control officer be required to board an animal for more than 14 days, or any longer than 48 hours after the condition which caused the impoundment ceases to exist.

    (Ord. No. 99-06, § 1(H), 7-26-1999)

  • Sec. 4-31. – Designation of animal shelter, disposal of impounded animals.

    (a)

    It shall be the duty of the animal control officer or his authorized representative under the auspices of a veterinarian to order the humane destruction by any animal control officer or authorized representative, or any animal lawfully taken into the custody of the animal control officer which is affected with any dangerous or communicable disease, or which is facing death due to injury.

    (b)

    The town hereby designates the John P. Ancrum S.P.C.A. Animal Shelter at 3861 Leeds Avenue, North Charleston, as the approved animal shelter, pursuant to S.C. Code 1976, § 47-3-30.

    (Ord. No. 99-06, § 1(I), 7-26-1999)

  • Sec. 4-32. – Adoption.

    (a)

    At the end of the detention periods set forth in section 4-32, the ownership of (or title to) a pet impounded under the provisions of this article shall be transferred to the animal shelter operation (S.P.C.A.), which may attempt to adopt out the pet to a responsible new owner. All required fees must be paid at the time of adoption.

    (b)

    No animal over three months of age shall be released or adopted until pre-payment is made for vaccination against rabies.

    (c)

    All animals adopted by the shelter operator shall be surgically sterilized or have provisions made for the animal’s surgical sterilization prior to release for adoption.

    (Ord. No. 99-06, § 1(J), 7-26-1999)

  • Sec. 4-33. – Restraint.

    (a)

    It shall be unlawful for any owner or custodian of any animal to permit the same to run at large at any time upon streets or highways or properties other than his own property within the town. Such owner or custodian shall comply with the definition of “restraint” in section 4-25

    (b)

    It shall be unlawful to keep a dangerous dog in any manner not allowed under S.C. Code 1976, § 47-3-610 et seq.

    (c)

    Every dog and every cat in heat shall be confined.

    (Ord. No. 99-06, § 1(K), 7-26-1999)

  • Sec. 4-34. – Duties.

    (a)

    The division of animal control shall be charged with the responsibility of:

    (1)

    Cooperating with the health officers of the various state governmental units and assisting in the enforcement of the laws of the state with regard to the control of animals, and especially with regard to the vaccination of dogs and cats against rabies;

    (2)

    Investigating all complaints with regard to animals covered by this article;

    (3)

    Enforcing within the incorporated area of the town all of the state laws, ordinances enacted by the town, and contracts entered into the town for the care, control and custody of animals covered by this article;

    (4)

    Supervising and being in charge of animals impounded in the shelter, until such time as ownership of such animals is given to S.P.C.A.;

    (5)

    Enforcing provisions of state law regarding dangerous animals, S.C. Code 1976, § 47-3-710 et seq.

    (b)

    The rabies control officer and his staff, as employees of the division of rabies control of the state department of health and environmental control (DHEC) are empowered to enforce the provisions of this article relating to rabies control. The provisions which they may enforce are specifically stated in section 4-28 and section 4-28 only. The rabies control officer and his staff shall:

    (1)

    Provide separate summons numbered forms clearly indicating that they are not officers of county animal control.

    (2)

    Coordinate all issuance of summons with magistrates in order to ensure proper scheduling of cases.

    (3)

    Account for all summons issued in the same procedure required of county animal control officers, as amended and adopted under the county code section 3.12.

    (Ord. No. 99-06, § 1(L), 7-26-1999)

  • Sec. 4-35. – Uniform, badges required.

    Each person while performing his respective duties shall wear a uniform and a metallic badge of a size and design to be determined by the sheriff, as amended and adopted under county ordinance.

    (Ord. No. 99-06, § 1(M), 7-26-1999)

  • Sec. 4-36. – Notice of violations; procedure; punishment.

    (a)

    In discharging their duties under this article, the animal control officer and authorized members of the division of animal control are hereby empowered to issue summons to any person if there is probable cause to believe that he has violated any of the provisions of this article. Summons so issued shall be delivered in person to the violator by the animal control officer or, if after due diligence, the person cannot be readily found, they may be mailed to the person so charged (by certified mail, return receipt requested). Any notice so delivered or mailed shall direct the alleged violator to appear at a magistrate’s court on a specific day and hour named in the notice. The court may set a bond which may be forfeited by the violator in lieu of an appearance in court.

    (b)

    The animal control office of the division shall cause all notice forms to be serially numbered in triplicate and shall cause the records with respect to such notice forms and the disposition of the same to be so maintained that all such forms shall be capable of being accounted for.

    (c)

    If an alleged violator of any section of this article does not appear in the court in response to the notice described in subsection (a) of this section and does not post bond, the sheriff shall cause a notice to be sent to such violator informing him of the violation and warning him that he will be held responsible to appear in answer to such charges, and in the event that such notice is disregarded for a period of five days from the date of the mailing of this second notice, a complaint will be filed and a warrant of arrest issued, as amended and adopted under the county code section 3-2.

    (Ord. No. 99-06, § 1(N), 7-26-1999)