MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - The town of Mount Pleasant is expected to discuss proposed laws that would require people who tether or restrain their dogs to do so in a humane way.
Humane Society of the United States State Director Kelsey Gilmore-Futeral says 32 states and the District of Columbia have laws that address the humane restraint of animals but South Carolina is not one of them.
Animal advocates are pushing for the new tethering laws. Tethering is when a person ties a dog with a rope, line, or chain to a stationary object.
“There was a 2013 paper published by the American Veterinary Medical Association that said, 76% of fatal dog bites between 2000 and 2009 resulted from dogs that lacked socialization," she said. "So it’s a community safety issue where we don’t want to see animals living on chains we want to see them as part of the family.”
Gilmore-Futeral says earlier this year there was a state bill addressing animal cruelty that passed, but the line about tethering was removed.
A dog named Xena the Princess Warrior Dog was rescued in Mount Pleasant during Hurricane Dorian.
“Xena was outside on a chain, I think she had access to a dog house but based on what the rescuer told me the water was rising on the property so there was no where dry for Xena to go,” Gilmore-Futeral said.
Xena no longer lives at that home, but advocates say it isn’t directly because of inhumane tethering since there are no laws that address it. She is believed to have lived in those conditions for about four years. She is still receiving medical treatment.
The Humane Society’s proposal looks to restrict the hours dogs can be tethered which excludes overnight and extreme weather, the length of the rope or chain, the material used around the dog’s neck and more.
“Recently in South Carolina we’ve had three cases where the county tethering or the city’s tethering ordinance really opened the door for law enforcement to investigate where they found animal fighting going on," Gilmore-Futeral said.
Gilmore-Futeral says they’ve been working with State Senator Paul Campbell to reintroduce a bill that would address humane tethering statewide.
The Humane Society of the United States also wants local governments to pass laws to help protect animals left unattended in cars and require adequate shelter for dogs.
The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at Mount Pleasant Town Hall.