URGENT Legislative Alert From the American Kennel Club

Horry County, SC: Contact County Council About Overreaching Animal Ordinance. First Vote is Tuesday (8/17/21)

By AKC Government Relations
Aug 13, 2021

The Horry County (SC) County Council will hold the first of three votes on amendments to the county animal ordinance on Tuesday, August 17, 2021. Owners of pets and “large animals” are urged to review the proposed ordinance and express their concerns to council members.

The numerous provisions that would affect dog owners include the following:
• The definition of “animal rescue organization” specifically excludes a person or entity that is located on the same premises as a person who breeds dogs or cats or that “has any personnel in common with such person or entity, including but not limited to any employee, manager or board member.” This is could negatively impact dog breeders and AKC club members who participate in the rescue and rehoming of dogs or other animals.

• Failure to provide a “constant” supply of water would be an offense. This would disallow withholding water for any reason, including under the direction of a veterinarian, during house training, or in accordance with other accepted animal husbandry practices. Rather than requiring a “constant” supply of water, it is recommended that the ordinance be amended to define “sufficient water” as “water provided in sufficient quantities and with sufficient frequency to maintain health and hydration.”

• Unlimited inspections of a breeder or breeding operation, defined as a person or entity that offers 25 or more dog or cats for sale in a 365-day period, would be authorized “as warranted where a violation of this section is alleged to have occurred,” absent any finding of guilt.

• The definition of “proper shelter” would require provision of a “house-like structure.” It is further stated that a “doghouse” constructed of metal or any material that readily conducts heat is not considered “proper shelter.” It is unclear if an equestrian facility, barn, kennel building, or other structure would be prohibited for sheltering a dog if such structure is constructed of metal. Extensive additional dog sheltering requirements based on “forecasted or actual” temperatures are proposed.

• It would be an offense for a dog to deposit excretory matter on property other than that of the owner or person responsible, regardless of whether the excretory matter was immediately removed and discarded or if it took place with the permission of the property owner.

• Sales of dogs and cats in pet stores would be unlawful; however, space could be provided at no cost for the display and sale of pets by animal shelters and rescue pet distributors. Even if you do not personally provide dogs to pet stores, this proposed ordinance contains definitions that in other communities have been used as the basis for restricting every individual who might wish to sell or transfer ownership of a dog. Such incremental legislation is of concern to dog owners who wish to preserve their rights to choose, own, and breed healthy, purebred dogs. For additional talking points, see AKC’s Key Issues on Pet Choice/Pet Store Restrictionsand this one page information sheet on Retail Bans.

What you can do:

Contact county council members prior to the meeting on August 17, 2021 at 6:00pm to state concerns with the proposed ordinance. Because this is the first of three readings of the ordinance, it is unlikely that public comment will be accepted at the meeting.

Horry County Council Members

Johnny Gardner, Chairman
Mobile: (843) 855-0848

Harold Worley, District 1
Mobile: (843) 249-1436

Bill Howard, District 2
Mobile: (843) 421-2035

Dennis DiSabato, Vice Chairman, District 3
Mobile: 843-421-8522

Gary Loftus, District 4
Phone: 843-340-9992

Tyler Servant, District 5
Mobile: (843) 421-7250

Cam Crawford
Mobile: (843) 504-0905

Orton Bellamy, District 7
Office: (843) 222-7771 – Mobile: (843) 855-5267

Johnny Vaught, District 8
Mobile: (843) 602-5241

R. Mark Causey, District 9
Mobile: (843) 421-0570

Danny Hardee, District 10
Mobile: (843) 340-4426

Al Allen, District 11
Office: (843) 915-5120 – Mobile: (843) 602-9243

For additional information, please contact American Kennel Club Government Relations at 919-816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org.

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