CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) — Horry County Council Tuesday night approved new rules pertaining to the care and treatment of animals and took an initial step toward new regulations for fireworks.

The animal-care ordinance approved on third reading sets up new rules for the care and treatment of animals.

The ordinance reads in part, “Anyone owning, harboring, keeping in possession, or having custody or control of any animal shall provide such animal with sufficient food and water, proper shelter, and veterinary care when needed, providing for humane care and treatment and to prevent suffering”.

The Animal Voice Alliance of South Carolina, Best Friends Animal Society, and the Horry County Police department all worked together to develop the ordinance.

Loris resident, Lynn Greco is a member of the Animal Voice Alliance of South Carolina and was a big advocate for getting this pushed.

“We kept fighting and we did it so we’re very excited,” Greco said.

The ordinance describes “proper shelter” as an “outdoor house-like structure appropriate for the size and number of animals which will keep a non-aquatic animal dry, out of the direct path of winds, out of direct sun, and at a reasonable temperature that is healthful for the animal”.

When the outdoor temperature is 45 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, the outdoor shelter must have a windbreak at the entrance. When the outdoor temperature is 85 degrees or higher, the ordinance says, “each dog must be afforded one or more separate areas of shade large enough to accommodate the entire body of the dog at one time…”

It will be illegal to tether an animal while outdoors except when a number of specific conditions are met.

After the vote, a Utah-based animal-welfare organization that said it has worked “hand-in-hand” with Horry County for nearly a year, praised the ordinance.

“Best Friend Animal Society is excited to see Horry County leadership pass common-sense ordinances to reduce shelter crowding and improve animal welfare in their community,” the group said in a news release.

The group also said it has granted the county more than $40,000 and provided other policy and technical guidance during 2021 in support of a trap/neuter/vaccinate/return program aimed at humanely managing a “growing community cat population using industry best practices, to end the sale of commercially bred dogs and cats in retail pet stores, improve the definition of shelters for dogs who live outdoors, protect dogs transported in open truck or trailer beds on highways, and empower law enforcement to rescue a pet locked in a hot car.”

“It’s encouraging to see Horry County prioritize reducing shelter crowding and improve animal welfare in their community,” CEO Julie Castle said. “Best Friends is proud to partner alongside their leadership to make these necessary changes and we are committed now more than ever to helping counties most in need of support to end the killing of healthy and treatable dogs and cats.”

The group said Horry County is the first county in the state to get this level of support. The organization also said it is committed to helping other counties in need of financial, policy, and legislative support to end the killing of healthy and treatable dogs and cats in the state.

The fireworks ordinance, which was approved on first reading, would make it “unlawful for any person to ignite, discharge, light, or cause to be launched within an area that has been designated a County No Fireworks Area” by the county. First-time violations would face an initial $50 fine. The fine for repeat offenders would be $100.

The ordinance defines the “No Fireworks Areas” as any “geographic location, as determined by County Council, wherein the prohibition against fireworks … is deemed appropriate.” Ground and hand-held sparklers: cylindrical or cone fountains; wheel or ground spinners; illumination torches; toy smoke devices, snakes and glow worms; trick noisemakers; toy pistol caps; party poppers or snappers are excluded unless their use “rises to the level of nuisance activity.”