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‘It’s a step forward’: North Myrtle Beach looks to strengthen law on animal welfare

Horry County animal shelter talks pet dangers of hot cars

Pets left in hot cars can have serious health problems, officials from the Horry County Animal Care Center said. Myrtle Beach police responded to two animal neglect reports recently for dogs left in vehicles.
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Pets left in hot cars can have serious health problems, officials from the Horry County Animal Care Center said. Myrtle Beach police responded to two animal neglect reports recently for dogs left in vehicles.

Animal cruelty laws in North Myrtle Beach are getting an uplift with officials looking to ensure pets are safe and end up in the right hands.

City leaders approved the first reading of an ordinance, recommended by The Humane Society of North Myrtle Beach, that would ban the sale of dogs and cats in pet shops, prohibit animals from being left unattended in a vehicle in dangerous conditions, and place restrictions on tethering.

Violators will be charged with a misdemeanor resulting in an up to $500 fine and/or serve up to 30 days in jail.

“It’s a step forward,” Mayor Marilyn Hatley said during Monday’s city council meeting.

With puppy mills causing a stir in cities nationwide, the proposed policy would prohibit the sale of dogs and cats at pets shops but allow a pet shop to make space available to an animal shelter or rescue organization to offer dogs and cats for adoption.

City Manager Mike Mahaney said currently no business license has been issued to anyone selling cats and dogs within city limits.

The proposed ordinance would also forbid animals from being left unattended or confined to a vehicle in conditions that could endanger the animal leading to suffering, disability or death, including heat, chilly temperatures or lack of ventilation, food and water.

Additionally, dog owners will be restricted from leaving a dog outside and unattended for more than 15 minutes when there’s a weather advisory or warning issued, the ordinance states.

The city’s tether policy will be modified with tethering banned between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. or when the pet owner isn’t home.

The proposed policy will also outlaw dog owners from using a tether under 10 feet, less than four times the length of the dog’s body or a length that allows the dog to cross property lines; using a logging chain, tow chain, or other tethers that cause injury or pain to the dog due to the material, size or weight; and attaching a tether to an ill-fitting collar such as a choke collar, pinch collar or prong collar.

Officials are scheduled to vote on the ordinance’s second reading Aug. 19.

Anna Young is the Coastal Cities reporter for The Sun News covering anything and everything that happens locally. Young, an award-winning journalist who got her start reporting local news in New York, is dedicated to upholding the values of journalism by listening, learning, seeking out the truth and reporting it accurately. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from SUNY Purchase College.
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