Group pushes for penalties for animal tethering in Charleston County

Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 3:26 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 26, 2022 at 6:10 PM EDT
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MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston County residents can legally tether their animals outside whenever they want for as long as they want, but one group wants to change that.

The Charleston Animal Legislative Action League is a bipartisan organization calling for a law to create consequences for potential cases of animal cruelty. Stephanie Fauvelle founded the group after she says she realized there are no laws in the county that adequately protect the animals in the community.

“Right now, it is 100% legal to tether a dog year-round in the snow, during a hurricane, with heavy chains, with a padlock around its neck 24/7, and we want to change that,” Fauvelle said.

The group recently spoke with lawmakers to gain their support and plans to meet with the Charleston Animal Society and Animal Control in the coming weeks.

Fauvelle says Charleston County is behind in comparison to other counties with animal welfare laws. She says some counties and cities even have animal tethering banned.

When asked what the Charleston Animal Legislative Action League plans to do first, she says she wants guidelines to be made clearer.

“The first thing we want to do is put in place humane tethering guidelines,” Fauvelle said. “We understand that not everybody can bring their pets or their dogs inside. We just want to make sure that we provide very clear guidelines for our dogs in our community that are kept outside year-round and also make sure that our law enforcement officers have very clear guidelines as to what they can and cannot enforce.”

Fauvelle says she hopes the penalties for those who violate any guidelines the county establishes toward tethering dogs will be $500 or more on the first offense and $1,000 or more on the second offense if you tether your dog.

Fauvelle says these are the main guidelines she wants Charleston County to put in place regarding animal welfare:

  • Humane tethering guidelines because they are currently non-existent.
  • A definition of what “adequate shelter” is for an animal. This could mean that every animal should be in a shelter that is raised, has four walls and is protected from elements, such as rain and extreme heat.
  • Make puppy mills and irresponsible breeders illegal.

Kelsey Gilmore-Futeral, a legislative attorney with Best Friends Animal Society, says she supports what Fauvelle’s organization is trying to do.

“When we have grassroots support, community members have a way to give their time and their advocacy to create sustainable change for animals,” Gilmore-Futeral said.

She emphasizes that animal welfare is a community problem.

“So, there are about 600,000 people in Charleston County and statistically 80% of homes have a pet,” Gilmore-Futeral said. “So, even if you think that these changes don’t affect you, odds are that they do. If you’ve got a dog or a cat, you want to have your ear in the ground for animal welfare.”

Fauvelle says she hopes the penalties will be $500 or more on the first offense and $1,000 or more on the second offense if you tether your dog. She says the group plans to present their ideas to Charleston City Council within the next two to three months to put this law into legislation.

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