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H 3039
Session 111 (1995-1996) 

H 3039 General Bill, By Scott and Spearman
 A Bill to amend the Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, by adding Article 15
 to Chapter 3, Title 47 so as to provide for statewide animal control.

   12/14/94  House  Prefiled
   12/14/94  House  Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Natural
                     Resources and Environmental Affairs
   01/10/95  House  Introduced and read first time HJ-18
   01/10/95  House  Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Natural
                     Resources and Environmental Affairs HJ-18



A BILL

TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING ARTICLE 15 TO CHAPTER 3, TITLE 47 SO AS TO PROVIDE FOR STATEWIDE ANIMAL CONTROL.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

SECTION 1. Chapter 3, Title 47 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

"Article 15

Statewide Animal Control

Section 47-3-1510. This act may be cited as the `Statewide Animal Control Act'.

Section 47-3-1520. As used in this article:

(1) `Animal' means any living creature other than humans.

(2) `Animal control officer' means persons commissioned as such by the State or a local governing body.

(3) `Animal control office' or `animal shelter' means a facility for the confinement and maintenance of animals that come into its custody in the performance of its official duties and approved by the State or a local governing body for that purpose.

(4) `At large' applies to an animal if off the premises of its owner or keeper and not under his physical control by means of a leash or similar restraining device.

(5) `Cat' means a domestic cat, felis catus.

(6) `Dangerous animal' is defined as in Section 47-3-710.

(7) `Dog' means a domestic dog, canis familiaris.

(8) `Enclosure' means a fenceNext or structure forming or causing an enclosure suitable to prevent the entry of young children and suitable to contain a dangerous animal in conjunction with other measures which may be taken by the owner or keeper, such as tethering of the dangerous animal. The enclosure must be enclosed and designed with secure sides, top, and bottom and must be designed to prevent the animal from escaping the enclosure.

(9) `Guard dog' means a type of dog primarily trained or used to defend, patrol, or protect property or persons, or both.

(10) `Guard dog service' means a person, firm, or corporation which trains, sells, rents, leases, or loans dogs for the purpose of defending, patrolling, or protecting property or persons, or both.

(11) `Harborer' means a person who keeps or cares for an animal or provides a premise to which the animal returns for food, shelter, or care for at least forty-eight hours.

(12) `Impound' means to hold stray animals in a facility designated by the State or a local governing body.

(13) `Kennel' means a place or business at which dogs or cats are kept for sale, breeding, boarding, treatment, grooming, or training purposes as allowed by law.

(14) `Livestock' means an animal kept for husbandry, including, but not limited to, horses, mules, burros, asses, sheep, goats, swine, and other hoofed domesticated animals.

(15) `Owner' means a natural person, firm, association, or corporation which owns, keeps, or controls an animal.

(16) `Vaccination' means the vaccination of an animal with an anti-rabies vaccine approved by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Environmental Control. Vaccinations must be administered by a licensed veterinarian or under the direction of a licensed veterinarian.

(17) `Tattoo' means a permanent identification of a domestic animal by means of permanent ink.

(18) `Wild animal' means a nonhuman primate, raccoon, skunk, fox, ferret, poisonous or nonpoisonous snake, leopard, tiger, lynx, wolf, or other animal which is normally found in the wild, including wild and domestic hybrids.

Section 47-3-1530. An animal is a nuisance if it:

(1) damages, soils, defiles, or defecates on private property other than the owner's or on public walks and recreation areas unless the waste is removed immediately and disposed of properly by the owner;

(2) causes unsanitary or offensive conditions;

(3) causes a disturbance by excessive barking or other noise; or

(4) chases vehicles or molests, attacks, or interferes with persons or other domestic animals on public property.

Section 47-3-1540. An animal is under restraint if on the premises of its owner or keeper or if accompanied by its owner or keeper and under his control by means of a leash or similar restraining device.

Section 47-3-1550. (A) Every dog and cat owned by a person residing in South Carolina shall carry identification so their owner may be positively identified. Identification may take one or more of the following forms:

(1) valid and lawfully issued rabies tag affixed to the collar or harness of the dog or cat;

(2) name plate attached to the collar or harness of the dog or cat which positively identifies its owner; or

(3) tattoo on the dog or cat which positively identifies its owner.

(B) While in the confines of the walls of a building or a completely and securely PreviousfencedNext-in yard area on the owner's premises, a dog and cat are not required to wear a harness or collar with its rabies tag attached. However, the owner must have the certificate available and shall produce it upon the request of an animal control officer or law enforcement officer.

(C) A hunting or stock dog and show dog, while being worked, conditioned, groomed, or shown under the direct control of its owner or agent, is not required to wear its rabies tag. However, the owner or agent must have the certificate available and shall produce it upon request of an animal control officer, a rabies control officer, or a law enforcement officer.

(D) A show cat, while being groomed or shown under the direct control of its owner or agent, is not required to wear its rabies tag. However, the owner or agent must have the certificate available and shall produce it upon request of an animal control officer, a rabies control officer, or a law enforcement officer.

Section 47-3-1560. (A) An animal control officer may impound animals whose owners are in violation of this article. Animals are considered impounded when seized or captured for a violation of law.

(B) An animal control officer may enter upon public or private property, except a building designated and used for residential purposes, to enforce this article. If an owner refuses entrance to his property to the officer, the officer shall contact the appropriate court or the appropriate local law enforcement authority as necessary for enforcement.

(C) In addition to, or in lieu of, impounding an animal found in violation of this article, an animal control officer or local law enforcement officer may issue to its owner a citation for a violation of this article or notice to appear.

Section 47-3-1570. (A) Impounded animals with no identification not suffering from or suspected to have an infectious or contagious disease or not injured to an extent to cause unjustifiable pain or suffering, must be taken to a local animal shelter or designated facility and held for a minimum of three working days, exclusive of the day of pickup, Sundays, and holidays.

(B) Impounded animals wearing identification tags or bearing a tattoo, or both, not suffering from or suspected to have an infectious or contagious disease or not injured to an extent to cause unjustifiable pain or suffering, must be taken to a local animal shelter or designated facility and held for a minimum of ten working days, exclusive of the day of pickup, Sundays, and holidays.

(C) An animal control officer shall attempt to contact the owner of an impounded animal wearing a current identification tag or bearing a tattoo, or both, before undertaking the humane disposition of the animal. If the officer cannot contact the owner within twenty-four hours of its impoundment, a certified letter, return receipt requested, to give notification must be sent to the last known address of the owner. Animals not claimed must be placed for adoption through an approved agency or disposed of in a humane and painless manner by an approved method of lethal injection.

(D) Animals must be released to their owners upon presentation of proof of ownership and inoculation and payment of costs. Dogs and cats must be vaccinated against rabies, and owners shall show proof of current vaccination before redemption. The owner of an animal shall pay:

(1) the cost of required vaccinations;

(2) a twenty dollar impoundment fee for the first impoundment, thirty dollar impoundment fee for the second and subsequent impoundments, and twenty-five dollar additional impoundment fee for female pets in heat;

(3) a reasonable per diem board fee;

(4) other reasonable charges and fines.

(E) Applicable costs, charges, and fines may be paid at the place and time specified by the animal control officer.

(F) If an owner does not reclaim his animal within the specified time, the shelter having custody of the animal shall offer the animal for adoption or dispose of the animal by an approved method of lethal injection. It is unlawful to deliver, sell, offer, or give an impounded animal for research or experimentation.

(G) Dogs and cats placed for adoption must be neutered and vaccinated at the cost of the adopter.

Section 47-3-1580. (A)(1) No person owning, keeping, or having possession, charge, custody, or control of a domestic animal may cause, permit, or allow the animal to stray, run, be, go, or in another manner at large on a public street, sidewalk, or park or on private property. Dogs participating in or training for hunting events, obedience trials, dog shows, or lure courses under the direct control of their owner or agent are not considered animals-at-large and are exempt from this section.

(2) In order for a domestic animal to be allowed on public streets, roads, or parks or other public property, the animal must be restrained by a suitable leash of dependable strength.

(B) The owner of a female dog or cat in heat shall confine the animal during that time in a house, building, veterinary hospital, boarding kennel, or secure enclosure. The enclosure must be constructed so no other dog or cat may gain access to the confined animal, except for intentional breeding purposes.

Section 47-3-1590. (A) The action of an animal constitutes a public nuisance under this article when it disturbs the rights, threatens the safety, or damages a member of the general public or interferes with the ordinary use and enjoyment of his property or public property or areas. It is unlawful for a person to own, keep, possess, or maintain an animal in a manner so as to allow it to become a public nuisance. The following acts by an owner of an animal are declared to be a public nuisance under this article and unlawful:

(1) failing to exercise sufficient restraint necessary to control an animal as required by this section;

(2) allowing or permitting an animal to damage the property of a person other than its owner including, but not limited to, damage of vegetation;

(3) maintaining animals in unsanitary conditions which result in offensive odors or are dangerous to the animal or the public health, welfare, or safety;

(4) allowing or permitting an animal to bark, whine, howl, yowl, crow, or cackle in an excessive, continuous, or untimely fashion or make other noise in a manner so as to result in a serious annoyance or interference with the reasonable use and enjoyment of adjoining or nearby property;

(5) keeping an animal that is diseased and dangerous to public health;

(6) keeping an animal that habitually or repeatedly chases, snaps at, attacks, or barks at pedestrians, bicycles, or vehicles;

(7) failing to confine or control an animal in heat in a manner so as not to create a nuisance by attracting other animals.

(B) A complaint may be filed with an animal control office or designated agency against the owner of an animal violating this section. The complaint must be sworn to in magistrate's court and signed by two or more residents of the county in which the violation occurred. These residents must not be related by blood or marriage and shall reside in separate dwellings within one thousand feet of where the violation occurred. The complaint must set forth the nature and date of the violation, the name of the owner of the animal, the address of the owner of the animal, and a description of the animal. An animal control officer shall investigate the complaint to determine whether there has been a violation.

Section 47-3-1600. Each county governing body must have a differential animal licensing ordinance providing fees at the ratio of three to one for unneutered animals to neutered animals.

Section 47-3-1610. (A) Guard dog services shall register all dogs used in their service with the local animal control office. Registration must include the name, address, and telephone number of the service's manager; the breed, sex, weight, color, tattoo registration number, and other distinguishing features of the dog; and certification of rabies. The annual fee for registration is twenty-five dollars for each dog. Each guard dog must have a registration number to be obtained from the animal control office tattooed on its inside right thigh or abdominal region. The registration number must be at least one-half inch in height.

(B) Guard dogs newly acquired by guard dog services must be vaccinated as required and registered with an animal control officer within seventy-two hours of acquisition.

(C) The local animal control office shall maintain a guard dog registration book which must contain all data required by this section. Immediately upon transfer of ownership, death, disappearance, or annual inoculations as required by this section, each guard dog service or owner shall notify the local animal control office of the change. Upon receipt of a change, the appropriate entry must be made in the guard dog registration book. If the guard dog has disappeared, an entry must be made to reflect the reason of the disappearance.

(D) An animal control officer, upon presentation of proper credentials, may enter and inspect kennels housing guard dogs and other premises where the dogs are in use to determine owner registration compliance.

(E) A business which hires or uses guard dogs shall provide fencing to keep the dogs from digging or jumping out of, or otherwise properly confine the dogs within, a secure enclosure which must contain proper shelter, adequate change of air, sufficient food and water, and protection from the elements for the dogs.

(F) An owner, keeper, harborer, lessee, or custodian of a guard dog shall display in a prominent place on his premises at one hundred feet intervals along the Previousfence perimeter and at each entrance and exit to the area where the dog is confined a sign notifying the public of the presence of the dog.

(G) Entry points to the protected property must have a sign posted with the name and telephone number of the trainer, handler, and owner in case of emergency.

(H) The vehicles of a guard dog service transporting guard dogs must be marked clearly showing they are transporting guard dogs. A compartment separate from the driver is required to transport the dogs. It must be constructed to ensure maximum ventilation and protection for the dogs. A guard dog must not be transported in the trunk of a motor vehicle or in an open-bed truck.

Section 47-3-1620. (A) A person who injures an animal, by any means, promptly shall notify its owner, if known, the local animal control office, or the appropriate law enforcement agency, who shall take the necessary action to make proper disposition of the animal. An animal received by the office or agency in critical condition from wounds, injuries, or disease may be destroyed if the owner cannot be located within two hours. If the animal appears to be in severe pain, it may be destroyed immediately by an approved method of lethal injection.

(B) Local animal control officers shall assist in picking up and properly disposing of the bodily remains of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fowl, or birds found along the roads, streets, and highways of this State so as to diminish the possibility of the spread of disease.

Section 47-3-1630. It is unlawful for a person to interfere with, oppose, resist, hinder, or molest an animal control officer in the performance of his duties or seek to release an animal in possession of the officer without his consent.

Section 47-3-1640. No person may keep or permit to be kept on his premises a:

(1) wild or vicious animal for display or exhibition purposes, gratuitously or for a fee. This section does not apply to zoological parks, performing animal exhibitions, or circuses;

(2) wild animal as a pet except as allowed under federal or state law.

Section 47-3-1650. No performing animal exhibition or circus is permitted in which animals are induced or encouraged to perform through the use of chemicals or mechanical, electrical, or manual devices in a manner which may cause or is likely to cause physical injury or suffering. Equipment on a performing animal must fit properly and be in good working condition.

Section 47-3-1660. It is unlawful to award as prizes or offer as merchandising premiums a mammal, reptile, amphibian, fowl, or bird to be used as pets, toys, or retail premiums.

Section 47-3-1670. A motor vehicle owner or operator may not:

(1) place or confine an animal or allow it to be placed or confined or to remain unattended in a motor vehicle without sufficient ventilation or under conditions for an unreasonable period of time so as to endanger the health or well-being of the animal due to heat, cold, lack of water, or other circumstances as reasonably may be expected to cause suffering, disability, or death;

(2) transport an animal in the back of an open pick-up truck unless the animal is secured in an enclosed container specifically constructed for the transportation of animals. This item does not prohibit the transportation of horses, cattle, sheep, poultry, or other agricultural livestock in trailers or other vehicles designed and constructed for that purpose.

Section 47-3-1680. A person who violates this article is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than fifty nor more than two hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both. Each day a violation continues is a separate offense."

SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor, except Section 47-3-1600 of the 1976 Code which takes effect January 1, 1997.

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