Horry County leaders advance changes aimed at protecting animals

Grand Strand

CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) – Changes aimed at making sure dogs, cats and other animals receive proper care could soon be in place in Horry County.

The county’s Public Safety Committee on Tuesday approved sending an amended ordinance to County Council. It focuses on new rules for sheltering, breeding operations, sales, confinement and transportation, and promoting the care of feral cats.

Among other things, the amended ordinance would require animal owners to provide sufficient food and water, and proper shelter and veterinary care. Dog houses would need to be waterproof and windproof and have a solid waterproof floor that is raised off the ground.

Horry County resident Lynn Greco, who is affiliated with the grass-roots advocacy group Animal Voice Alliance of South Carolina, told committee members that action is needed now because the number of domestic animals in the county continues to grow at a rapid pace.

Another resident, Karen McGranahan, pointed out that South Carolina ranks 40th out of 48 states when it comes to animal welfare.

“We keep kicking the can down the road,” she said. “We’ve done nothing to address the issue.”

One item in the amended ordinance would allow the county to implement a feral cat trap, neuter and return program to care for many of the roughly 140,000 free-roaming cats that McGranahan said are in Horry County.

“We need to stop them from breeding,” she said.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the committee members heard from a resident concerned about people digging large holes on the beach.

Donna Grimes, a member of South Carolina United Turtle Enthusiasts, also known as SCUTE, said the holes are a danger to both humans and turtles. She said she walks on the beach every morning looking for turtles and is amazed by the size of some of the holes that have been dug.

She suggested adding warning signs, increasing beach patrols and even adding fines.

“If a turtle falls in, they can’t go backwards, and they die,” she said. “They become asphyxiated, and they die. I would like to see something that respects our beaches. There’s need to be a commitment to leave our beaches the way you find them.”

Horry County Police Chief Joseph Hill said called the holes a “horrendous” safety issue and said his department will enforce any legislation approved by the county.

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