Legislation hoping to stop overpopulation of pit bulls

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Many are worried about the overpopulation of pit bulls in the state of South Carolina.

There is legislation hoping to stop it. Representative Chip Huggins (R-Lexington) said when the issue was brought to his attention he knew something needed to be done.

Rep. Huggins filed a bill that would require fertile pit bull owners to sterilize and microchip their pet.

If owners don’t want to do that, they have the option of paying a $500 registration fee.

“If this measure would be put in place. It would do a lot of good things to help bring the pit bull back into being a great breed for dogs,” Huggins said.

Rescue and shelters, like Pawmetto Lifeline, said they are in support of a bill like this. They see the problem first hand.

Roxanne, a pit bull that was overbred, was saved earlier this week by doctors at their clinic. Michael Kokernak, the Senior Director of Medical Services, says Roxanne had an infection in her uterus. He said the infection she had can be lethal.

Roxanne is healthy and is working her way to the adoption floor.

Pawmetto Lifeline CEO Denise Wilkinson said pit bulls like Roxanne, have a tough time finding a new home.

She also said pit bulls are the breed most euthanized in shelters.

There has been some push back on this bill. Some say they feel the bill is discriminating towards the breed.

Wilkinson said, “Pit bulls are already targeted. When they are dying at the highest rates in our shelters. When they are the breed desired for dogfighting. They are already targeted.”

Rep. Huggins says the goal is to make sure dogs like Roxanne won’t have to live the rest of their lives in shelters.

He says there could be the possibility of a sunset clause if the overpopulation problem is solved. He has received a ton of feedback on the bill.

“We’re listening and learning on this. We certainly welcome the emails and thoughts. We certainly will take those into account to come up with something that will help the pit bull. To be the breed many owners out there have experienced,” he said.

The bill is currently in committee.

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