The Horry County Council will hold a first reading on a proposed animal ordinance tomorrow, October 19, 2021. Animal owners are urged to review the proposed ordinance and express their concerns to council members. Click to view the agenda and proposed ordinance.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) thanks county staff who have been responsive to concerns expressed by animal owners. Although certain sections have been revised, we are recommending additional amendments to ensure the well-being of dogs and to protect the rights of responsible owners.
Provisions in the current proposal that impact dogs include:
- 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 would negatively affect AKC club members, AKC club-affiliated rescue groups, breeders, and other volunteers who participate in the rescue and rehoming of dogs and other animals.
- Failure to provide a “constant” supply of water would be an offense. This would make it a crime to temporarily withhold water while house training a dog or in accordance with other accepted animal husbandry practices. Please note that withholding water under the direction of a veterinarian is now exempted. Rather than requiring a “constant” supply of water, we are recommending that the proposed ordinance be amended to define “sufficient water” as “water provided in sufficient quantities and with sufficient frequency to maintain health and hydration.”
- The definition of “pet store” is written broadly, and the ordinance seeks to ban the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores. AKC emphatically supports freedom of choice in selecting a pet. AKC actively promotes efforts to ensure that future dog owners are educated, understand the demands of responsible ownership, and have access to the right pet fir their lifestyle. AKC strongly opposes any measure that restricts choice by compelling people and/or retailers to obtain pets solely from shelter or rescue distributors.Even if you do not choose to purchase pets from pet stores, the proposed ordinance contains broad 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. This should be of significant concern to anyone who might wish to obtain a dog from an individual or breeder in the future.Problematic definitions of “pet store” and “commercial establishment” could affect not only breeders, but also any individual who may wish to sell, transfer, or rehome a dog. Accordingly, we recommend that the definition of pet store be amended to additionally and specifically exempt persons who sell or transfer, directly to the public, dogs and cats bred, trained, or raised on the owner’s premises.
For additional talking points, see AKC’s Key Issues page on Pet Choice/Pet Store Restrictions and information sheet on Retail Bans.
- A proposed section regarding safety of animals in closed vehicles would allow enforcement authorities to break into a vehicle and remove a pet animal under certain conditions when the ambient temperature exceeds 70 degrees, or when the animal lacks food. It is not indicated if the ambient temperature shall be measured outside or inside the vehicle. Additionally, it should be noted that it is not standard practice for most owners to feed their pets in their cars.While the safety of a dog is paramount, failure to provide food to a dog while inside a vehicle should not be an offense. Further, temporarily enclosing a dog in a vehicle under circumstances where there is no danger of excessive heat gain, regardless of the ambient air temperature, does not pose a risk to the safety of the dog. Accordingly, section 4-11 should be amended to provide that, under all circumstances, county law enforcement shall be authorized to break and enter a vehicle and remove an animal only when there is evidence of immediate danger to the health of the animal.
Additional provisions in the proposed ordinance may be of concern to livestock owners.
What you can do:
Immediately contact county council members prior to the meeting on Tuesday, October 19, at 6:00 p.m. to respectfully state your concerns with the proposed ordinance.
Horry County Council Members
Johnny Gardner, Chairman
Mobile: (843) 855-0848
Bill Howard, District 2
Mobile: (843) 421-2035
Dennis DiSabato, Vice Chairman, District 3
Gary Loftus, District 4
Tyler Servant, District 5
Mobile: (843) 421-7250
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.