1976 South Carolina Code of Laws
Unannotated
Updated through the end of the 2000 Session

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Title 47 - Animals, Livestock and Poultry

CHAPTER 5.

RABIES CONTROL

SECTION 47-5-10. Short title.

This chapter may be referred to as the "Rabies Control Act."

SECTION 47-5-20. Definitions.

Whenever used in this chapter, unless a contrary intention is clearly evident, the following terms shall be interpreted as herein defined:

(1) The term "pet" shall mean only domesticated species of carnivores.

(2) The term "owner" shall mean and include any person who (a) has a right of property in a pet, (b) keeps or harbors a pet or who has it in his care or acts as its custodian, or (c) permits a pet to remain on or about any premises occupied by him.

(3) The term "inoculation against rabies" shall mean the injection, subcutaneously, intramuscularly or otherwise, of antirabic vaccine as approved by the Department of Health and Environmental Control and by the United States Department of Agriculture - Veterinary Biologics Division.

(4) The term "rabies control officer" shall mean any person appointed for the control of rabies with the approval of the State Health Officer under the provisions of this chapter.

SECTION 47-5-30. Public health veterinarian; duties.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control may employ a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine to serve as public health veterinarian of the Department of Health and Environmental Control. He shall aid county health departments and rabies control officers in the administration and enforcement of the provisions of this chapter, including the supervision of forms of certificates and tags to effectuate the inoculation program herein provided. He shall aid in the preparation of literature describing the symptoms of rabies and preventive measures to be taken against the spread of rabies, such information to be distributed to pet owners at the time of inoculation of animals, and shall otherwise promote efficiency in the program of inoculation and rabies control herein provided. In addition to the above, he shall aid administratively in the prevention and control of all diseases communicable from animal to man which may become prevalent in this State and in combatting such disease, in cooperation with Department of Natural Resources, the extension service of Clemson University, and any other state or federal agencies engaged in similar efforts to combat diseases communicable from animal to man.

SECTION 47-5-40. Rabies control officer; additional personnel.

For the purpose of providing proper enforcement of the provisions of this chapter, each county board of health shall act as, or appoint annually on or before July first, a licensed graduate veterinarian or other properly qualified person who shall be known as rabies control officer. In those counties in which there is no county board of health, such appointment shall be made by the Department of Health and Environmental Control. Such additional personnel may be appointed and assigned as is deemed necessary. The rabies control officer shall be subject to all rules and regulations for a merit system of personnel administration.

SECTION 47-5-50. Prohibition on sale of wild carnivores as pets; sale of domesticated ferrets.

(A) No carnivores, which normally are not domesticated, may be sold as a pet in this State. The carnivores include animals known to be reservoirs of rabies such as raccoons, foxes, skunks, and bobcats and related species including, but not limited to, coyotes, wolves, weasels, civet cats, spotted skunks, and lynx. An animal provided for in this section and kept by an individual must not be allowed to run at large and then returned to confinement. A normally wild animal indigenous to this State, if held captive for a period of time, may be released to the wild. This section does not apply to domesticated ferrets. However, no ferret may be sold in this State without proper and current vaccination against rabies. Evidence of rabies vaccination is a certificate signed by a licensed veterinarian. A person who purchases or possesses a domesticated ferret shall maintain proper vaccination treatment for it annually.

(B) Purchasers of a domesticated ferret must be provided with a notice not less than eight inches by eleven inches which shall bear the following inscription in letters not less than three-fourths inch high:

"FERRETS HAVE A PROPENSITY TO MAKE UNPROVOKED ATTACKS THAT CAUSE BODILY INJURY TO A HUMAN BEING."

(C) Each business establishment in this State, to which has been issued a retail sales tax license, which offers ferrets for sale must prominently display a notice not less than eight inches by eleven inches which shall bear the following inscription in letters not less than three-fourths inch high:

"FERRETS HAVE A PROPENSITY TO MAKE UNPROVOKED ATTACKS THAT CAUSE BODILY INJURY TO A HUMAN BEING."

SECTION 47-5-60. Pets shall be inoculated annually; certificates and tags.

A pet owner must have it inoculated against rabies at a frequency to provide continuous protection of the pet from rabies using a vaccine approved by the department and licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture - Veterinary Biologics Division. Evidence of rabies inoculation is a certificate signed by a licensed veterinarian. The rabies vaccination certificate forms may be provided by the licensed veterinarian or by the department or its designee. The veterinarian may stamp or write his name and address on the certificate. The certificate must include information recommended by the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians. The licensed veterinarian administering the vaccine shall provide one copy of the certificate to the owner of the pet and must retain one copy in his files for not less than three years. With the issuance of the certificate, the licensed veterinarian shall furnish a serially numbered metal license tag bearing the same number and year as the certificate with the name and telephone number of the veterinarian, veterinary hospital, or practice. The metal license tag at all times must be attached to a collar or harness worn by the pet for which the certificate and tag have been issued. Annually before February first, the veterinarian shall report to the department the number of animals inoculated against rabies during the preceding year. The department, in conjunction with licensed veterinarians, shall promote annual rabies clinics. The fee for rabies inoculation at these clinics may not exceed three dollars, including the cost of the vaccine, and this charge must be paid by the pet owner. Fees collected by veterinarians at these clinics are their compensation.

SECTION 47-5-70. [1962 Code Section 6-126; 1952 Code Section 6-126; 1950 (46) 2406; 1969 (56) 803; 1973 (58) 769] Repealed by 1992 Act No. 517, Section 4, eff September 2, 1992.

SECTION 47-5-80. Notice to health department of animal affected or suspected of being affected by rabies.

Whenever a pet or other animal is affected by rabies or suspected of being affected by rabies or has been bitten by an animal known or suspected to be affected by rabies the owner of the animal or any person having knowledge thereof shall forthwith notify the county health department in the county in which the animal is located, stating precisely where the animal may be found.

SECTION 47-5-90. Reports of animal bites to health department.

Every physician after his first professional attendance upon a person bitten by a pet or other animal shall within twelve hours report to the county health department the name, age, sex, color and precise location of the person so bitten and, when no physician attends, the parent or guardian of every child so bitten shall, within twelve hours after first having knowledge that the child was so bitten, make a like report to the county health department. When no physician attends an adult so bitten such adult or the person caring for him shall make a like report to the county health department.

SECTION 47-5-100. Confinement, examination, or destruction of biting or attacking animal.

The county health department shall serve notice upon the owner of a dog or cat which has attacked or bitten a person to confine the animal at the expense of the owner upon his premises or at a county pound or other place designated in the notice for at least ten days after the animal has attacked or bitten a person. The licensed veterinarian, the rabies control officer, or his assistants must be permitted by the owner of the pet or other animal which has attacked or bitten a person to examine the animal at any time, and daily if desired, within the ten-day period of confinement, to determine if the animal shows symptoms of rabies. No person may obstruct or interfere with the rabies control officer or his assistants in making the examination. The removal of the head of an animal suspected of having rabies must be performed by a licensed veterinarian, but the county health department may provide for the removal of the head if there is no veterinarian practicing within the county where the suspected animal is located or if no veterinarian located within the county will remove the head. The Department of Health and Environmental Control shall serve notice upon the owner of an animal other than a dog or cat when the department has knowledge that the animal has attacked or bitten a person. The notice must instruct the owner to have the animal immediately euthanized and have the brain submitted for rabies examination or to have the animal quarantined under conditions specified by the department. The owner shall comply immediately with the instructions in the notice.

SECTION 47-5-110. Confinement of animal bitten by animal suspected of having rabies.

The county health department shall serve a notice in writing upon the owner of a pet or other animal known to have been bitten by an animal known or suspected of being affected by rabies, requiring the owner to confine such animal for a period of not less than six months, except that animals properly treated with antirabic vaccine shall be confined for a period of not less than three months.

SECTION 47-5-120. General confinement and inoculation of animals for purpose of preventing spread of rabies.

Whenever the county board of health or the county health department has reason to believe, or has been notified by the Department of Health and Environmental Control, that there is danger that rabies may spread within that county, such board or department shall serve public notice by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in such county, requiring the owners of pets and other animals to confine such pets or other animals for such period as may be necessary to prevent the spread of rabies in such county. And when it shall be deemed advisable in the interest of public safety, the Department of Health and Environmental Control may order the inoculation against rabies of all pets or other animals so confined, whether or not such animal has been previously inoculated under the provisions of this chapter, and the Department of Health and Environmental Control shall aid the county health department in the execution of such emergency inoculations.

SECTIONS 47-5-130, 47-5-140. Repealed by 1992 Act No. 517, Section 4, eff September 2, 1992.

SECTIONS 47-5-130, 47-5-140. Repealed by 1992 Act No. 517, Section 4, eff September 2, 1992.

SECTION 47-5-150. Department to furnish antirabic (human) vaccine; pet owner to reimburse cost.

When it considers necessary, the department shall furnish antirabic (human) vaccine to the physician attendant upon persons bitten by or otherwise exposed to a pet or other animal found or suspected to be affected by rabies. If the department considers it necessary to provide antirabic (human) vaccine to the persons bitten or otherwise exposed to a pet suspected of or having rabies that has not been vaccinated, the pet owner shall reimburse the department for the cost of the vaccine. Reimbursement is due the department within thirty days after billing.

SECTIONS 47-5-160, 47-5-170. Repealed by 1992 Act No. 517, Section 4, eff September 2, 1992.

SECTIONS 47-5-160, 47-5-170. Repealed by 1992 Act No. 517, Section 4, eff September 2, 1992.

SECTION 47-5-180. Enforcement.

The department shall enforce this chapter. The sheriff and his deputies, the police officers in each incorporated municipality, and animal control officials in each county and municipality shall assist and cooperate with the county health department in enforcing this chapter.

SECTION 47-5-190. Liability for accident or subsequent disease from inoculation.

The county health departments, the county rabies control officers, their assistants, the Department of Health and Environmental Control, the public health veterinarian or anyone enforcing the provisions of this chapter shall not be held responsible for any accident or subsequent disease that may occur in connection with the inoculation of any animal as herein provided.

SECTION 47-5-200. Violations.

Any person refusing to comply with the provisions of this chapter or violating any of the provisions hereof shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days, for each offense.

SECTION 47-5-210. Further municipal restrictions not prohibited.

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to limit the power of any municipality within the State to prohibit pets from running at large, whether or not they have been inoculated as herein provided; nor shall anything in this chapter be construed to limit the power of any municipality to regulate and control further in such municipality and to enforce other and additional measures for the restriction and control of rabies.





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