Animal advocates applaud new animal cruelty law, want to see tethering addressed in 2020

VIDEO: Animal advocates applaud new animal cruelty laws, want to see tethering addressed in 2020

ORANGEBURG, SC (WCSC/WIS) - It’s a busy day for the Humane Society’s mobile spay and neuter unit, Fido Fixers in Orangeburg County.

Dawn Wilkinson is the Executive Director for the Humane Society of South Carolina.

She said she appreciates lawmakers took steps to address animal cruelty this year. She said a big part of the Humane Society’s job is to educate the public.

“We would like to see more progressive change that animals aren’t viewed as property but as living things that have feelings,” she said.

The law signed by the Governor accomplishes a few things. Magistrates and court judges are now required to receive two hours of animal cruelty instruction every four years.

“We hope that is good and thorough training for them so they fully understand what is good food, shelter and water for an animal," Wilkinson said.

Shelters or people who take custody of abused and neglected dogs will have the chance to be reimbursed if a person accused of animal cruelty is found guilty. The guilty party would be on the hook for medical expenses, food and shelter costs.

The new law also designates a way send some extra money made from the sale of spay and neuter license plates in the state to more rural, poorer counties. That would make it easier to provide spaying and neutering services for the pets of underprivileged families.

Robin Mitchell is the founder of Saving the Chain Dogs in Aiken County. Her group focuses on educating people how to properly care for their dogs if they need to stay outside. She’s also stepped in and helped dogs get out of bad situations.

“The abuse and neglect is beyond what most can imagine,” Mitchell said.

She said the new law will be a positive change but wished it addressed tethering. She hopes in 2020 humane tethering guidelines can be set.

“Until we get to that we are not going to see the tethering and chaining abuse change,” she said.

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