Horry County police work to strengthen local animal care laws

Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Proposed changes to animal laws in Horry County could help police charge animal abusers.

“What we’re really focused on is the proper care and treatment of animals,” said county spokesperson Kelly Moore.

Police suggest adding stronger language to the county’s current ordinance, including what the county considers proper animal care and shelter. “So that if someone is charged under this law, we’re able to prosecute to the best of our capability,” said Moore.

The changes could include stopping illegal breeding operations and ensuring licensed breeders have acceptable conditions for their animals.

“That’s really designed to make it where folks aren’t having puppy mills. We just want to shut down folks who are mistreating animals by having these mass breeding operations,” said Moore.

Police are also concerned with how animals are being transported on major highways. They are wanting to make sure animals are secure in truck beds on roads with speed limits of 55 miles per hour and higher.

“A lot of folks have ways to transport animals in the back of a vehicle that is safe. That would not exclude them from continuing to do this. We are talking about animals that are not secure or restrained in any way, just in the bed of the truck on those larger roadways. So [Highway] 22, 31, roadways like that,” said Moore.

Officials say changes could also include a heat index for animals left in cars.

Police also want to address the county’s feral cat population and control it in a humane way. They’re proposing a community cat program.

“Trap, neuter, release; and it’s a way that cats can continue to be, especially feral cats, out in the community. As long as they’re not causing people a problem. But if they are trapped, spayed or neutered and released, then they are not creating more cats and continuing that problem,” said Moore.

Moore says the changes will need to be reviewed at the county’s public safety committee meeting in June. From there it could move forward to the county council for its first reading.

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