LEXINGTON, S.C. — Lexington County is pushing for a new animal control ordinance aimed at preventing animal cruelty, like leaving dogs tied up in yards. So if you live in Lexington County and you tie your dog up in the yard, the county could soon be knocking on your door.
Lexington County Councilwoman Beth Carrigg is spearheading the new ordinance, she say, because of "recurring calls about animals being left outside, tied up without the appropriate shelter in inclement weather."
Carrigg says she wants to "just to protect our dogs and our communities in Lexington County, and I think this serves to do that."
"Anyone that chooses to be abusive to animals would certainly know we are paying attention," Carrigg said.
The proposed ordinance, which has passed one reading, says that a puppy six-months and younger cannot be tied up outside. If a dog is tethered, the rope can be no less than 12-feet long. Dogs need to be fitted with nylon or leather collars, not chains. All dogs must be given fresh water and shelter when outside. They cannot be left tied up outside for more than 30 minutes at a time in temperatures above 90 degrees or below 40 degrees.
Lincoln, a one and half year old Dutch Shepard, spent a week in the hospital after he was found tied up outside with his leash wrapped around his leg.
Michael Sniezek, a manger at Final Victory Animal Rescue, who is now Lincoln's owner, says vets feared they would have to amputate Lincoln's leg.
"Lexington County pulled him from the owners because he was wrapped out in a tie out," said Sniezek. "His leg was wrapped for who knows how long, who knows how tight it was. It was completely raw, there was no fur on it, all his toenails had fallen off."
Sniezek says the new laws could save dogs.
"I would one hundred percent say it's a form of animal cruelty," Sniezek said. "We've had lots of dogs come in, and the entire underside of their necks because they are running and that collar is moving back and forth and basically giving them rope burn."
Sniezek says dogs that are tethered for hours can suffer serious injuries. "When you rub your collar so raw it creates that cut, the crevices and the collar gets formed into the skin and they'll have to do surgery to get it out."
Public input will be accepted at the November 30 Lexington County Council meeting. If you wish to speak before council, you must sign up to do so ahead of the meeting.
The ordinance has passed its first reading, and now has to pass another two before it becomes law.