Darlington Co. Humane Society advocates for improved animal welfare laws

Several leaders with the Darlington County Humane Society were in attendance at the county council meeting on Monday to push for enhanced animal welfare ordinances.

The fourteen-page document aims to protect all animals in the county and hold those accountable that harm them.

A section in the ordinance states,

It shall be unlawful for any owner or owners of dogs or parents or guardians of owners of dogs to let dogs roam at will on the property of others after receiving written notice that such dogs or dogs have roamed on the property of the complainant. Any such trespass of the dog following written notice shall constitute the owner or owners being in violation of this section and the complainant, by showing written notice and probable cause to a magistrate of the county, may obtain an arrest warrant against the owner or owners. Upon conviction the offender may be punished in accordance with section 1-8.

In March, the council voted against an ordinance that would have increased penalties for people who mistreated animals.

Several community members along with the leaders at the Darlington County Humane Society were upset by the decision.

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Board of Directors Tim Weaver took a stand during the meeting and voiced his concerns about the overflow of animals as well as conditions at the shelter.

Intake numbers remain high at the shelter. We went through a five day span in March with fifty animals bought in,” said Weaver. “I can tell you from riding around in Councilman Flowers’ district. Every day another dog goes on a chain, every day another dog is out there without shelter. Nothing’s done. I’m going to get worse.

Weaver said his team will be getting a new facility in Hartsville with more space to benefit the animals.

One Darlington Humane Society member said allowing community members to speak up during council meetings can sometimes be frustrating when there is no feedback.

She asked council members if there was a way all parties could work together.

You know, we come up here,” she said. “We express our concerns and we can’t really get anything back from you guys because that’s not the way this is set up, which I understand but if in your discussions at the end , or when you guys do address it if you can tell us how the appropriate way to have this conversation with you guys in a way that it can be a discussion I think we can get somewhere that’s actually a step forward.

Officials have been considering forming a committee and or task force to deal with certain issues regarding the animals. They said it might just take some time.

Darlington County Sheriff James Hudson was in attendance and assured the public that his team patrols the county to make sure animals are safe.

I’ve been on the phone with SLED twice today and we’re working,” said Hudson. “We’re working hard to try to make sure we do something but I think it’s unfair to say that nothing is being done. Now, I can’t tell you how the council can speak to you or not. I can’t control that but I do know that there are concerns, and we are working hard to try and find an answer.

According to officials, the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office will meet with SLED Wednesday to discuss further concerns.

By hadem