GEORGETOWN — The Georgetown County Council approved new laws outlining how dogs are tethered and kenneled in the county during its Aug. 23 meeting.
The new new laws regarding animal restraint are now in place in Georgetown County and will begin being actively enforced in the coming weeks, according to a news release from the county.
Georgetown County Council members heard and adopted the third and final reading on Aug. 23 to an update of its Animal Control ordinance.
Georgetown County Public Information Office Jackie Broach was out of the office and unavailable for comment on Aug. 29.
The update places more stringent restrictions on the conditions under which dogs and other domestic animals may be restrained.
According to the new rules, animals in Georgetown County may be tethered only under the following conditions: The animal must be over 6 months old; and must be within easy eyesight of a caretaker; and adequate shelter, food and water must be available and easily accessible at all times.
Also, the animal must not be left unattended and/or tethered for more than eight hours in any given 24-hour period; and buckle-type collars or body harnesses must be used to connect the animal to the tether. These should be made of nylon, polyester, cotton, and/or leather and must be a suitable size and fit for the animal.
According to the new rules, the tether must be at least 12 feet long with a swivel-type termination at both ends. It must not be made of chain and must not weigh more than 5 percent of the animals body weight; and animals must not be left outside from after sunset to sunrise, nor during periods of inclement or extreme weather without easy access to adequate shelter, food and water.
The rule changes also affect animals in Georgetown County that are confined in or by kennels, pens, running lines or similar devices.
If attached to any pulley, running line or trolley system, the animal must be at least 6 months old and the tether must be at least 7 feet above the ground and of sufficient length to let the animal run at least 10 feet in any direction. Additionally the tether must not weigh more than 5 percent of the animal’s body weight.
The animal may only be attached to the device with a buckle-type collar or body harness made of nylon, polyester, cotton, and/or leather. This must be a suitable size and fit for the animal.
If kept in a kennel or pen, the animal must be in easy sight of a caretaker and on property occupied by a person responsible for the animal (unless the animal is kept for lawful hunting, sporting and farming use; however all other conditions in this section must still be met).
The enclosure must have sufficient room (relevant to the size of the animal) for the animal to freely run and exercise. It should not be confined for longer than 6 hours without being released for adequate exercise a minimum of one hour a day (in intervals of at least 15 minutes).
The animal must also have adequate shelter, food and water available and easily accessible at all times, and must be checked on by a caretaker at least once every 24 hours. Animals must not be left unattended and confined during severe or extreme weather.
For the purposes of this ordinance, “shelter” is defined as a structure that has at least three sides and a roof, and includes insulation or other coverings adequate to protect an animal from heat, cold and other weather elements.
The Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office will begin enforcing these new laws in September. Anyone found to be in violation may be punished by a fine of at least $100 for the first offense, and $200 for all subsequent violations.
Anyone wishing to report violations should contact the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office at 843-546-5101.
Randal Seyler is the editor of the Georgetown Times and the Myrtle Beach Post and Courier.
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