Editorial: Dog Owners Must Be Responsible Owners

In recent months, the City of Dillon has received numerous complaints about dogs. It comes up at city council meetings and on other occasions.
A great deal of the problem it seems comes from dogs with owners who either don’t know the rules, don’t care about the rules because they don’t think the rules apply to them, or have become lax because they see other dog owners are not following the rules so they don’t either.
These dog owners need to be on notice. The City of Dillon has a dog ordinance and animal control ordinance, and it will be enforced. This is not to be harsh or unfair. The ordinance is there to protect dogs and their dog owners and also to protect the community from nuisance animals taking over or disturbing the peace, safety, and solitude of the people in a neighborhood.
Probably one of the most violated parts of the dog ordinance is the leash law. Owners simply cannot let their dogs run at large. Many dog owners feel that their dogs should be able to freely run or roam around their own neighborhoods, but dogs need to be under the control of their owners to ensure their safety and the safety of others. Your dog may be friendly towards you and your family, but not to others. Some people are fearful of dogs, and when dogs sense that fear, it may cause the dog to become upset or agitated and cause the dog to act outside of his normal behavior and bite or attack someone else. Your dog may go and destroy someone else’s property when not under your control or cause other damage. Dogs, especially when they get together, may harm or kill animals owned by other pet owners. Dogs simply can’t be allowed to run wild and wreak havoc throughout the city whether they have owners or not.
Another big complaint that people have is the barking dog. This is the dog that barks or whines all night and keeps up the neighbors. Owners need to take steps to tend to the needs of their animals so that their dog doesn’t keep up an entire neighborhood. There is also the owner who does not keep their dog pens clean or try to harbor more dogs than the three dogs allowed by the ordinance creating an unwelcome smell in the neighborhood.
Below, we have printed the city ordinance which outlines the responsibilities of dog owners and the penalties for violating the ordinance to clear up any questions or confusion.
Most dog owners are responsible owners and follow the rules; however, there are some who are ignoring them, and this is where the problem is being created. It only takes a few bad apples to spoil the bunch.

Dillon:
ARTICLE B: DOGS
6-4-9 DEFINITIONS.
Except when definitions are specifically included in the text of this ordinance, words used in this ordinance shall have their customary meaning as defined in a standard dictionary, unless they are specifically defined in this ordinance.
DOG. Any member of the canine species, male or female, neutered or unneutered.
(Ord. 07-16, passed 9-10-2007)
6-4-10 LIMITATION ON NUMBER OF DOGS.
It shall be unlawful for any person to keep or harbor more than three (3) dogs over the age of six (6) months on any lot, premises, dwelling, building, or structure with residential districts or areas of the city limits.
(Ord. 07-16, passed 9-10-2007)
6-4-11 RABIES INOCULATION REQUIRED.
It shall be unlawful for any person to own or have in his possession any dog which does not have a current valid rabies inoculation administered by a licensed veterinarian.
(1977 Code, 6-5011)
State Law Reference:
Rabies control, S.C. Code 47-5-10 et.seq.
6-4-12 TAG INDICATION INOCULATION; TO BE FASTENED TO DOG COLLAR.
Any veterinarian inoculating a dog in 6-4-11 shall deliver to the owner or person in possession of the dog a metal tag, serially numbered, which tag shall indicate inoculation against rabies and the year of the inoculation. This tag shall at all times be kept fastened to the collar of the dog and it shall be unlawful for the owner of the dog to permit the dog to be at large without the tag.
(1977 Code 6-5012)
State Law Reference:
Tags indicating inoculation, S.C. Code 47-5-60
6-4-13 DUTY OF OWNER WHEN DOG DEVELOPS SYMPTOMS OF RABIES.
It shall be the duty of any person owning, or having in his possession, any dog which develops any symptoms of rabies to immediately notify the county health officer of the condition, to immediately confine the dog securely in a manner that there will be no opportunity for it to come in contact with any other animals, and to keep the dog so confined and segregated until the person is notified by the health officer that it can be again set at liberty, or until some other disposition is made of the dog by the health officer.
(1977 Code, 6-5013)
State Law Reference:
Confinement, S.C. Code 47-5-100
Notice of animal affected or suspected of rabies, S.C. Code 47-5-80
6-4-14 LEASH LAW.
(A) It shall be unlawful for any owner or possessor of any dog to allow the dog to run at large, whether wearing a collar and tag or not, within the city. Any and all such dogs found running at large, whether wearing a collar and tag or not, shall be immediately impounded by officers of the city.
(B) Any dog is considered running at large and not under immediate control if it is not on a leash, not at heel, or not beside a competent person and obedient to that person’s commands. A dog is under control when it is in a vehicle driven or parked, or confined within the property limits of his or her owner.
(C) Whenever any dog is adjudged to be vicious by the municipal court and is subsequently found at large, it shall be the duty of the Police Department to kill the dog.
6-4-15 VICIOUS OR DISEASED DOGS.
(A) Any dog that has attacked and bitten a person or other animal without provocation or has attempted to bite a person or other animal without provocation shall be deemed a vicious dog.
(B) It shall be unlawful for any person to cause, permit, accompany or be responsible for the presence of any vicious or diseased dog on the streets or public places of the city or allow the dog to run on the premises of another, at any time; unless in addition to other requirements of this chapter the dog shall be securely muzzled to effectively prevent it from biting any person or other animal.
6-4-16 BITCHES IN HEAT.
It shall be the duty of the owner or any person having the control of any bitch to securely confine her and keep her concealed from view while she is in heat. It shall be the duty of any police officer to kill any bitch in heat found running at large on any street or public place in the city.
6-4-17 IMPOUNDMENT.
(A) The dog catcher or any police officer of the city shall have power within his discretion to take up and confine or destroy any dog which he may have reason to believe is rabid, badly maimed or is in violation of other sections of this article.
(B) Any dog seized or impounded under any provision of this section shall be detained in the city or county animal shelter. The officers, agents, and employees of the city shall notify the owner of such dog, if known or if they can be reasonably ascertained, that the dog has been impounded.
(1) The owner of any dog impounded one (1) or more times may within six (6) month period and within three (3) days after notification reclaim such dog upon the payment of a twenty-five dollar ($25) fine; plus payment of five dollars ($5) for each day of impoundment; and payment for the cost of a rabies inoculation and tag, if such is needed.
(C) In the event the dog is not claimed in the time provided herein, the city may offer for the adoption by any person any dog unredeemed or unclaimed by the owner upon payment of the costs as provided herein, and the cost of a rabies inoculation and tag, if such is needed.
(D) If the dog is not claimed by the owner within the time prescribed herein, then the city shall be authorized to dispose of the dog in as humane and painless a manner as possible.
(Ord. CM-90-2, passed 3-13-1990; Am. Ord. 06-08, passed 5-8-2006)
6-4-18 BITING DOG.
Whenever a case of dog bite occurs to person or dog, the dog involved shall be confined for twenty-one (21) days for observation. In the event any owner of any dog shall fail or refuse to comply with this regulation the dog catcher shall cause the dog to be killed.
6-4-19 RECORDS TO BE KEPT.
The city shall obtain from the local veterinarians a record of all dogs inoculated by the veterinarians and keep the record on file.
6-4-20 VIOLATIONS.
Whenever in this ordinance, any person violating any provision of this chapter where not specific penalty is provided therefore, shall be deemed guilty of an offense and shall, upon conviction, be subject to a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00) or imprisonment not to exceed thirty (30) days or both. Each day upon which a violation occurs or continues constitutes a separate offense. Punishment for violation shall not relieve the offender of liability and cost provided for herein.
(Ord. 07-16, passed 9-10-2007)

This is part of the animal ordinance, but is being included here for reference:
ANIMALS CONSTITUTING A NUISANCE.
No person living within the city limits shall keep any animal or animals which constitute a nuisance. A nuisance shall hereby be defined as any of the following: continuous barking by an animal, the presence of odors and/or unsanitary conditions of animals, animal pens or houses, the endangering or molesting of passerby by an animal. A nuisance is not to be limited just to the above listed items. (1977 Code, 6-5006)
Cross reference: Noise created by animals, Sec. 9-2-6(A)(3)