With reports of dogs being left inside cars and puppy mills causing a stir in cities nationwide, North Myrtle Beach officials took action in strengthening its animal welfare laws to ensure pets are safe and well-kept.
City leaders on Monday approved 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, according to the ordinance.
“We introduced the ordinances to council this year in an effort to continue to build a more humane community,” Humane Society executive director Tina Hunter said.
The policy will prohibit the sale of dogs and cats at pet shops, but allow pet shops to make space available to an animal shelter or rescue organization to offer dogs and cats for adoption. Prior to the implementation of the ordinance, there were no businesses with licenses to sell dogs or cats in the city.
The ordinance will also forbid animals from being left unattended or confided 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 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.