ST. GEORGE, S.C. (WCSC) - Dorchester County Council has approved an ordinance making it illegal for pet stores to sell dogs or cats in unincorporated areas of the county.
The ordinance passed Monday night following a third and final reading.
Dorchester Paws and the South Carolina Chapter of the Humane Society have been working with the county for months on the “Puppy Mill Ordinance.”
The ordinance aims to close down puppy mills in Dorchester County and officials believe it will be one step closer to putting a stop to the mistreatment of pets.
Within the ordinance, there are a couple definitions worth noting.
The county defines a pet store as “a retail business whether the same be a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, association, or other legal entity primarily engaged in the sale, exchange, barter, or offer for sale of dogs and/or cats, and/or pet supplies, and/or pet food to the general public at retail.”
But this does not include any animal rescue organization.
An animal rescue organization, as defined by the ordinance, is “any not-for-profit organization having tax exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code, whose mission and practice is, in whole or in significant part, the rescue and placement of animals into permanent homes, and which does not breed animals.”
The ordinance also states if a pet store violates the new law, it will result in a suspension of their business license.