Summerville couple calls for action after losing farm animals in pit bull attack

One Summerville couple wants more from state laws after their farm animals were attacked and killed by two neighborhood pit bulls.
Published: Jul. 31, 2023 at 4:50 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 31, 2023 at 10:11 PM EDT
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SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - One Summerville couple wants more from state laws after their farm animals were attacked and killed by two neighborhood pit bulls.

Summerville resident Susan Cramer received a phone call one morning from her neighbor saying her donkey and two goats were dead.

“We had dogs charging us, guns going off, dead animals,” Susan said. “It was just, it was bad.”

Her husband, Mel Cramer, came shortly after.

“We’ve been married for 40 years, and I’ve never seen her that hysterical,” Mel said.

A Dorchester County Animal Control report says two neighborhood pit bulls attacked the Cramers’ donkey and two goats. Another neighbor shot one of the dogs, killing it and the other one fled. That dog was euthanized days later.

Susan Cramer fights back tears as she says they had the donkey for 16 years and the goats for three.

“They were part of the family,” she said. “That was hard. And it is still hard at times. It’s hard at times.”

Mel Cramer says it goes beyond that.

“If dogs like that can take down a 400-pound donkey, imagine what they’ll do to a nine or ten-year-old,” he said.

South Carolina law says a “dangerous animal” is defined when the owner knows or should reasonably know their animal could endanger others and should not go off their premises unless restrained.

This isn’t the first time these dogs were reported on. At the end of last year, animal control reported that the dogs were loose in the neighborhood and then did a welfare check months later.

“I carry a concealed weapon,” Mel Cramer said. “That’s potentially dangerous. And I have to have a permit to do it. Why can’t that happen with animals that are potentially dangerous?”

When knocking on the pit bull owner’s door to see if they believed their dogs to be considered “dangerous animals,” no one answered or appeared to be home.

South Carolina law says if a “dangerous animal” has a first offense of attacking a person, their owner could face a misdemeanor and be fined up to $500 or spend three years in jail.

“Whatever the law thinks is appropriate and something that’s going to stop this and make people think, ‘You know, I’ve got a dog that’s capable of something like this,’” Mel Cramer said. “‘I’ve got to step up.’”

There is a bill currently sitting in the House Committee on Judiciary that would add an amendment to current domestic pet laws known as “Jayce’s Law.”

This amendment would require a person to register a fertile pit bull to provide better safety for the public. The bill states its purpose is to save the lives of pit bulls and is not intended to ban the breed. The last update to this bill was in April 2021.

Dorchester County Animal Control could not comment on the Cramers case because it is still an open investigation. The Cramers court date is set for August 23.