UPDATE (3/7/17 10:40pm) – The Aiken County Council decided to table the ordinance after hearing concerns from rooster farmers about how it would affect them. The Council will take up the issue again at its meeting on April 18th.
AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – Nearly 3,000 dogs are chained in Aiken County.
Local animal advocates are hopeful county leaders will end inhumane tethering by passing stricter laws at Tuesday’s county council meeting.
Right now there are no chain laws which makes it hard for animal rescues to help dogs that are in really bad shape.
If the ordinance is passes it could take up to 2 years to get to all the tethered dogs in the county, but one local group believes change starts with education.
“Frankly, I think Aiken County citizens are tired of abuse and neglect.” Annette Vander Walt said.
Robin Mitchell says for nearly 13 years Snow, a white husky mix, only knew the end of a chain.
Mitchell started ‘Saving the chained dogs’ of Aiken County.
The group offers free assistance to pet owners, anything from veterinarian services to dog food. The volunteer group also aims to educate the community about how to humanly tether their pets.
“To try to get these dogs off of these huge logging chains with padlocks on them,” Mitchell told WJBF NewsChannel 6. “The dog weighs 30 pounds and the chain weighs 80 pounds.”
Volunteers say they realize in some instances animals will need to be restricted, but not in the way they’ve seen happening around Aiken County.
“I’ve seen dogs that have been starved,” Vander Walt said. “That have just been ribs and bones. That are just in properties living among garbage outside.”
“No food. No bowls for food. No bowls for water. I mean they are bones,” said Angela Widener.
“They may throw them some food. They may throw them some water, but they are not throwing them any love.” Angela Wilson told WJBF NewsChannel 6.
Passing the ordinance is a move in the right direction.
Still, Mitchell says the county has a long way to go when it comes to animal rights.
“I do think that after this tethering law goes into effect, I think that Aiken County needs to we need to address spay and neuter laws.” Mitchell said. “Then we also need to address a registration law for owning a dog.”
The council meeting is Tues. March 7 at the Government Center on University Parkway.
The meeting starts at 7 p.m.Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story.