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Changes to wording of Aiken Tethering Ordinance going before City Council

AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) - Amendments to the Aiken City code will help officers better protect animals. 

Aiken Department of Public Safety Lieutenant Karl Odenthal says animal right advocates came to Public Safety with concerns about the current tethering code, which prompted the city to take a second look at its ordinance. 

"We both want the same thing," Odenthal told WJBF NewsChannel 6. "We are coming at it from different perspectives. We are coming from a law enforcement perspective and they are coming from a protection standpoint for sheltering animals." 

The proposed changes will address the following:

  • How long an animal can be tied up with access food and water.
  • The weather conditions when an animal is tethered.
  • The number of animals and animals in heat.
  • Animals locked in cars during extreme cold and hot temperatures. 

"I think it's about time," said Robin Mitchell of Saving the Chain Dogs.

Mitchell is in the business of teaching pet owners how to properly tether their animals, but she's seen some inhumane conditions.

"We just recently worked a case in the city, which was 6 dogs tethered with chains with socks and duct tape for collars." She told WJBF NewsChannel 6. 

Mitchell says the addition of a few words will help police better enforce the ordinance, because specific time lengths and weather conditions will be clearly identified in the updated city code. 

Still the simple fact of the matter is it's going to take manpower that Public Safety just doesn't have to insure citizens abide by the animal law. So officers are counting on citizens to say something, if they see something. 

"Usually we will get a complaint on them and we will go investigate the complaint, in conjunction with the complainant we will move forward if there is a case to made." Odenthal said. 

 The changes will go before city council on Monday for a first reading. 

Sec. 8-19. - Cruelty to animals and failure to aid injured animals.

(a)

It shall be unlawful for an owner or any other person to willfully injure or kill any animal by any means causing it unnecessary fright or pain, and it shall further be unlawful for the owner or any other person, by neglect or otherwise, to cause or allow any animal to endure pain, suffering, or injury. Acts constituting violations of this section include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1)

Failure to provide adequate shelter from inclement weather.

(2)

Failure to provide food for a period of more than 24 hours and/or water or other necessary care for more than 12 hours.

(3)

Abandoning any animal on private, or public, property.

(4)

Leaving or exposing any poisonous substance, food, or drink, for man, animal, or fowl, or aiding or abetting any person in so doing, except insect or rodent poison when used in compliance with the product directions for control of insects or rodents.

(5)

Baiting, attacking with violence, provoking, or harassing an animal or causing an animal to engage in fights with or among other animals or between animals and humans. Nothing in the foregoing sentence, however, shall prohibit the lawful training of guard or law enforcement dogs or other animals, provided it does not violate other provisions of this chapter, the city code, or the laws of this state.

(6)

Riding animals beyond their endurance limits, requiring animals to pull or operate any carriage or other animal powered vehicles beyond these animals' endurance limits, overloading animals, making animals carry loads or operate animal powered vehicles when they, or the animals, are overloaded, torturing, tormenting, depriving of necessary sustenance, cruelly beating, mutilating or cruelly killing animals, or causing or procuring these actions to be done.

(b)

Any owner whose animal has been subjected to a violation of this section by the owner shall forfeit all right, title, interest, and ownership in the animal subject to the procedures in this chapter, and the animal shall be impounded until the animal control superintendent determines that the circumstances of the cruelty or neglect by the owner have been remedied. Upon conviction in municipal court of a violation of this section, the sentence imposed by the municipal judge may include the permanent forfeiture of the animal.

Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story. 


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