There are many laws in South Carolina and the city of Greenville that apply to dogs and other pets. These laws have been enacted to protect the public as well as guide pet owners regarding appropriate animal handling and behavior. Violation of these laws can result in fines and financial liability for any injuries or other damages that the pets cause.
Here are some of South Carolina’s most important laws that pet owners should know about.
South Carolina Leash Law
According to South Carolina Code §51-3-145(P), all dogs and other animals must be crated, caged, or on a leash not longer than six feet long while in parks and public facilities. Pets must be under physically restrictive control of some kind while in public. This applies to trained dogs, service animals, and any other pets that might be taken into public in South Carolina.
Dogs Running “At Large” in South Carolina
According to South Carolina Code §47-3-40, any dog that is found running at large may be picked up and impounded or quarantined by government animal control officers. In order to get a dog released from the pound, the dog must have a current rabies vaccine and pay an impound or quarantine fee, which is determined by each municipality individually. This law applies to cats as well.
The penalty for allowing dogs and cats to run at large is detailed in South Carolina Code §47-3-50. If a person allows their dog to run at large off their property, keeps a vicious or unruly dog unless restrained, or releases a dog or cat from impoundment without authority, they face a misdemeanor and can be fined $50 for a first offense and $100 for each offense thereafter.
South Carolina Dog Bite Laws
A dog owner may be held strictly liable for injuries caused by their pet according to South Carolina Code §47-3-110. That means that there is no “one bite rule” in South Carolina allowing a dog to bite once before the owner is responsible for financial damages. An owner is immediately liable if all of the following area true:
- The victim’s injuries were caused by the dog bite or attack.
- The victim was in a public place or lawfully in a private place.
- The victim did not provoke the dog.
It’s important to note that this law does not only apply to dog bites, but also pet attacks of any kind. That means that if a dog jumps onto someone walking on a public sidewalk and causes injuries to them, then the owner may be liable.
South Carolina Animal Cruelty Laws
Under South Carolina Code §47-1-10 – 225 and §16-15-120 animal cruelty is prohibited against all living vertebrate creatures except homo sapiens and fowl in some situations. “Animal cruelty” is defined as any time “a person knowingly or intentionally overloads, overdrives, overworks, ill-treats any animal.” It also includes depriving animals of food, water, or shelter and the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering.
This law imposes a felony crime upon a person for “torture, tormenting, needless mutilation, cruel killing, or infliction of excessive or repeated unnecessary pain.”
Ryan Montgomery Law Understands South Carolina Law
When selecting a dog bite lawyer or seeking legal advice for your situation, you should find someone who is aware of all of the laws that might apply to your case. While some of these criminal laws might not enable you to recover compensation, they can serve as evidence to support a personal injury case in the event of an animal attack. To learn more, contact Ryan Montgomery Law at (864) 207-4927.