Lets breakdown this law line by line. Now mind you, this is only my interpretation of the law, only a court can decide what it really means. Then we will make up a defendant and try to apply the law. My comments in italics. Some day I will learn HTML, but for now italics are the only thing that transfers from word to blog unaltered.
Title 47 - Animals, Livestock and Poultry
CRUELTY TO ANIMALS
SECTION 47-1-10. Definitions.
As used in this chapter:
(1) "Animal" means a living vertebrate creature except a homo sapien.
That’s pretty clear. ALL animals except humans. But it does not really separate animals we want to have around from animals we don’t. Are we talking about domestic animals or just any animal on your property?
(2) "Sustenance" means adequate food provided at suitable intervals of quantities of wholesome foodstuff suitable for the species and age, sufficient to maintain a reasonable level of nutrition to allow for proper growth and weight and adequate water provided with constant access to a supply of clean, fresh, and potable water provided in a suitable manner for the species.
Wait, what? Do they want adequate water or water at all times? Does that mean a dog in a crate must have water 24/7? If you crate your dog without water, do you feel like you should be criminally charged? As water that has been in the hot SC sun all day still clean and fresh? What is clean? Is a stream clean or do you have to test it? A pond? Is a pond clean? I think the fed section is pretty clear after they get past reasonable because they do define what the goal should be. If your animal is too skinny due to lack of food it was not reasonable.
(3) "Shelter" means shelter that reasonably may be expected to protect the animal from physical suffering or impairment of health due to exposure to the elements or adverse weather.
No way this can be interpreted to be anything but a right to shelter for the animal. Shelter is good. I am all for shelter, but it is not necessary and no doubt all the Ag people exempted do not supply shelter in a feet lot or at pasture. Lets face it, Cattle are woodland creatures like deer. If you see them outside grazing during the day they are being asked to do what they are not designed for. They do not even sweat. But is that cruel or negligence? On the other hand, this sort of makes it law that your animals must be inside during a storm. They must be protected from adverse weather. Not just having it available, but making sure they use it.
SECTION 47-1-20. Acts of agents imputed to corporations.
The knowledge and acts of agents and persons employed by corporations in regard to animals transported, owned or employed by or in the custody of such corporations shall be held to be the acts and knowledge of such corporations.
SECTION 47-1-30. Repealed by 1998 Act No. 367, Section 9, eff May 27, 1998.
SECTION 47-1-40. Ill-treatment of animals generally.
(A) Whoever knowingly or intentionally overloads, overdrives, overworks, ill-treats any animal, deprives any animal of necessary sustenance or shelter, inflicts unnecessary pain or suffering upon any animal, or by omission or commission knowingly or intentionally causes these things to be done, for every offense is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be punished by imprisonment not exceeding sixty days or by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars, or both, for a first offense; by imprisonment not exceeding ninety days or by a fine not exceeding eight hundred dollars, or both, for a second offense; or by imprisonment not exceeding two years or by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars, or both, for a third or subsequent offense. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a first offense under this subsection shall be tried in magistrate's or municipal court.
This law applies a knowing and intentional standard. So if you are just stupid and think animals do not need to eat you are not guilty. Some states take the knowingly out. Its hard to prove what people knew. I am not saying this is a bad thing. I think a criminal law should have a mens rhea or intentional element, but where or how do we know what people should have known to not do stupid things? Nobody is required to take a class, get a license on care or take a test. You just go get an animal. I suppose a common sense standard is applied, but common sense is not that common.
(B) Whoever tortures, torments, needlessly mutilates, cruelly kills, or inflicts excessive or repeated unnecessary pain or suffering upon any animal or by omission or commission causes the acts to be done for any of the offenses is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be punished by imprisonment of not less than one hundred eighty days and not to exceed five years and by a fine of five thousand dollars.
This is the cruelty part. But what animals does it apply to? Mice? Are mouse traps illegal? They are cruel. What about poison? What kind of killing is not cruelly?
(C) This section does not apply to fowl, accepted animal husbandry practices of farm operations and the training of animals, the practice of veterinary medicine, agricultural practices, forestry and silvacultural practices, wildlife management practices, or activity authorized by Title 50, including an activity authorized by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources or an exercise designed for training dogs for hunting, if repeated contact with a dog or dogs and another animal does not occur during this training exercise.
And here is a mindboggling list of exclusions. Fowl is beneath our compassion. And TRAINING??? That’s an odd thing to exclude. Spur a horse until it drips blood but its OK because its for training? What about whipping a dressage horse for an hour non-stop. That is excluded? And here we have agriculture excluded because we are really not talking about ALL non human animals—we are talking about certain non-human animals who’s right exceed their economic value as meat or fiber or other uses. Some accepted practices clearly violate the first 2 clauses. Wildlife, sorry, you do not get protection. So what is really left? Pets and livestock so far gone even the exemption does not apply. I am not sure how this law might apply to cruel wildlife management practices or cruel sport practices.
SECTION 47-1-50. Cruel work; carriage in vehicles; penalties.
(A) An owner, a possessor, or a person having the charge or custody of an animal may not:
(1) cruelly drive or work it when unfit for labor;
(2) carry it, or cause it to be carried, in or upon a vehicle or otherwise in an unnecessarily cruel or inhumane manner.
(B) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be punished for each offense in the manner prescribed in Section 47-1-40(A).
You can see how these laws evolved over time to address specific concerns. Carriage horses have their own clause, but they are pretty are these days. This is actually addressed in the first clause, but this clause might be a holdover form the days when many horses were draft animals.
SECTION 47-1-60. Cutting muscles of tails of horses, asses, mules, mares, or geldings prohibited.
Any person who (a) cuts the tissue or muscle of the tail of any horse, ass, mule, mare or gelding, or otherwise operates upon it in any manner for the purpose or with the effect of altering the natural carriage of the tail, except when such cutting or operation is necessary for the health or life of the animal, as certified to in writing by a licensed veterinarian, (b) causes, procures or knowingly permits such cutting or operation to be done or (c) assists in or is voluntarily present at such cutting or operation shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
Any person convicted of violating any of the provisions of this section shall be fined not less than fifty nor more than one hundred dollars or imprisoned not less than fifteen nor more than thirty days.
Again, when did we stop cutting tails? Docking is out for horses, but not for dogs. Random cause driven laws. One cause that was popular in days gone by was the methods used on saddle seat horses to get a desired tail set. It made it in here. But it’s not the cutting off of part of an animal that is the problem, its just certain animals. Cut off bits of your dog all you want. And notice the categories. Are stallions the horses? Or would horses not naturally include mares and geldings? Can you cut fillies and colts?
SECTION 47-1-70. Abandonment of animals; penalties; hunting dog exception.
(A) A person may not abandon an animal. As used in this section "abandonment" is defined as deserting, forsaking, or intending to give up absolutely an animal without securing another owner or without providing the necessities of life. "Necessities of life" includes:
(1) adequate water which means a constant access to a supply of clean, fresh, and potable water provided in a suitable manner for the species;
(2) adequate food which means provision at suitable intervals of quantities of wholesome foodstuff suitable for the species and age, sufficient to maintain a reasonable level of nutrition to allow for proper growth and weight;
(3) adequate shelter which means shelter that reasonably may be expected to protect the animal from physical suffering or impairment of health due to exposure to the elements or adverse weather.
(B) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than two hundred nor more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both. Offenses under this section must be tried in the magistrate's or municipal court.
(C) A hunting dog that is positively identifiable in accordance with Section 47-3-510 or Section 47-3-530 is exempt from this section.
Wait, wasn’t all this already covered in the first 2 sections? I think they mean to address literally dumping an animal off or leaving it completely. What is the distinction here and how does it apply to facts to make it a worse offense then the first one warranting harsher penalties?
SECTION 47-1-75. Immunity from civil and criminal liability.
Any person, including a person licensed to practice veterinary medicine, or an animal control officer or agent of the South Carolina Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or any society incorporated for that purpose, who in good faith and without compensation for services provided, acting without malice, recklessness, or gross negligence, renders emergency care or treatment to a domestic animal which is abandoned, ill, injured, or in distress related to an accident or disaster shall not be liable or subject to any civil or criminal liability for any injuries or harm to such animal resulting from the rendering of such care or treatment, or any act or failure to act to provide or arrange for further medical treatment or care for such animal.
I hate these things. No the laws, but the wording. Any person includes any person, but then having a list follow it makes me think NOT any person but just those listed.
SECTION 47-1-80. Destruction of abandoned infirm animal.
Any agent or officer of the Department of Health and Environmental Control or police officer or officer of the South Carolina Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or of any society duly incorporated for that purpose may lawfully destroy, or cause to be destroyed, any animal found abandoned and not properly cared for, appearing to be glandered, injured or diseased past recovery for any useful purpose.
I am not sure what glandered is. I could look it up, but they could have just used a word that is understandable. And “appearing to be past recovery for any useful purpose” makes me cringe. That covers a whole lot of pets and pasture puffs. Plus the definition of abandoned is not properly cared for, but its still not defined as anything else. If they drive by my house and see a lame old horse that I just got and is skinny, can they just kill it?
SECTION 47-1-90. Overloading and length of confinement of animals in railroad cars.
No railroad company in the carrying or transportation of animals shall overload the cars nor permit the animals to be confined in cars for a longer period than thirty-six consecutive hours without unloading them for rest, water and feeding for a period of at least five consecutive hours, unless prevented from so unloading by storm or other accidental causes beyond the control of such railroad company; provided, however, that when animals shall be carried in cars in which they can and do have proper food, water and space and opportunity for rest, the foregoing provisions in regard to their being unloaded shall not apply.
In estimating such confinement the time during which the animals have been confined without such rest on connecting roads from which they are received shall be included, it being the intent of this section to prohibit their continuous confinement beyond the period of thirty-six hours, except upon the contingencies hereinbefore stated.
Um. . . do a lot of shipping railroad cars lately?
SECTION 47-1-100. Care of animals unloaded during transit.
Animals unloaded as required by Section 47-1-90 shall be properly fed, watered and sheltered during such rest by the owner or person having the custody thereof or, in case of his default in so doing, then by the railroad company transporting such animals at the expense of the owner or person in custody thereof; and the company shall, in such case, have a lien upon such animals for food, care and custody furnished and shall not be liable for any detention of such animals.
SECTION 47-1-110. Violations of Sections 47-1-90 and 47-1-100.
Any company or the owner or custodian of such animals who shall fail to comply with the provisions of Sections 47-1-90 and 47-1-100 shall, for each and every such offense, if found guilty, be fined not less than fifty nor more than five hundred dollars, in any court of competent jurisdiction.
Hey, here’s an idea. Lets see this updated to trucks and trailers, huh?
SECTION 47-1-120. Custody of animals in charge of arrested persons.
When a person arrested is, at the time of the arrest, in charge of an animal, an agent of the South Carolina Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or of any society incorporated for that purpose, may take charge of the animal and deposit the animal in a safe place of custody or deliver the animal into the possession of the police or sheriff of the county or place where the arrest was made, who shall assume the custody of the animal; and all necessary expenses incurred in taking charge of the animal shall be a lien thereon.
I remember a case about 15 years ago. Police knock down door and raid house. The dog barks at police. They crack him over the head with baton and knock him out. They take him to animal control and refuse to give him back and plan on putting him down. They had the wrong house. There was no crime gong on inside that house at all. Even after this is discovered they will not give dog back. So one night dog is stolen from shelter. All letters to the editor are in favor of the dog thieves.
But back to the law. It costs $$ to bail out an animal. It is unclear whether a friend or relative can go get the animal immediately.
SECTION 47-1-125. Coloring or dying animals prohibited; sale or distribution of certain young animals prohibited; penalty.
(1) It is unlawful for any person to dye or color artificially any animal or fowl, including but not limited to rabbits, baby chickens, and ducklings, or to bring any dyed or colored animal or fowl into this State.
(2) It is unlawful for any person to sell, offer for sale or give away as merchandising premiums, baby chickens, ducklings or other fowl under four weeks of age or rabbits under two months of age to be used as pets, toys or retail premiums.
(3) This section shall not be construed to apply to any animal or fowl, including but not limited to rabbits, baby chickens and ducklings to be used or raised for agricultural purposes by persons with proper facilities to care for them or for poultry or livestock exhibitions.
(4) Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined not more than two hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than thirty days.
This is all stuff dating back about 50 years. Easter chicks and ducks and bunnies were all over dyed in Easter colors. I like the juxtaposition of ITS BAD bit its NOT BAD if you are a farmer. Because Ag chicks can be sent in the mail and sent very young and apparently any color you want. Who is the protection f or and what standard is used to decide what is humane and what is not? Because I am kind of thinking I’d rather be a young pink pet chick then the one headed for the poultry house.
SECTION 47-1-130. Arrest for violation of laws prohibiting cruelty to animals.
Any person violating the laws in relation to cruelty to animals may be arrested and held, without warrant, in the same manner as in the case of persons found breaking the peace.
I wonder why no warrant?
SECTION 47-1-140. Care of animals after arrest of person in charge.
The person making the arrest, with or without warrant, shall use reasonable diligence to give notice to the owner of the animals found in the charge or custody of the person arrested, if the person is not the owner, and shall care and provide properly for the animals. The person making such arrest shall have a lien on the animals for the expense of such care and provision. But if such person making the arrest be an agent of the South Carolina Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or other society incorporated for that purpose, the provisions of Section 47-1-120 shall apply in lieu of the provisions of this section. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an animal may be seized preceding an arrest and pursuant to Section 47-1-150.
Yeah, the SC Supreme Court read this to require a warrant after all and a hearing. They basically voided this and said use 47-1-150 instead.
SECTION 47-1-150. Issuance of search warrant; purpose of section; motions regarding custody of animal; notice; care, disposal of, or return of animal.
(A) When complaint is made on oath or affirmation to any magistrate authorized to issue warrants in criminal cases that the complainant believes and has reasonable cause to believe that the laws in relation to cruelty to animals have been or are being violated in any particular building or place, such magistrate, if satisfied that there is reasonable cause for such belief, shall issue a search warrant authorizing any sheriff, deputy sheriff, deputy state constable, constable or police officer to search such building or place; but no search shall be made after sunset, unless specially authorized by the magistrate upon satisfactory cause shown. If an animal is seized pursuant to this section and the South Carolina Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals, or other society incorporated for that purpose is involved with the seizure, the animal may be held pending criminal disposition of the case at a facility maintained or contracted by that agency.
(B) The purpose of this section is to provide a means by which a neglected or mistreated animal can be:
(1) removed from its present custody, or
(2) made the subject of an order to provide care, issued to its owner by the magistrate or municipal judge, any law enforcement officer, or any agent of the county or of the South Carolina Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or any society incorporated for that purpose and given protection and an appropriate and humane disposition made.
(C) Any law enforcement officer or any agent of any county or of the South Carolina Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or any society incorporated for that purpose may move before a magistrate for an order to:
(1) lawfully take custody of any animal found neglected or cruelly treated by removing the animal from its present location if deemed by the court that removal is necessary to prevent further suffering or ill-treatment, or
(2) order the owner of any animal found neglected or cruelly treated to provide certain care to the animal at the owner's expense without removal of the animal from its present location, and shall forthwith petition the magistrate or municipal judge of the county or municipality wherein the animal is found for a hearing, to be set within twenty-four hours after the date of seizure of the animal or issuance of the order to provide care and held not more than two days after the setting of such date, to determine whether the owner, if known, is able to provide adequately for the animal and is fit to have custody of the animal. The hearing shall be concluded, and the court order entered the date the hearing is commenced. No fee shall be charged for the filing of the petition. Nothing herein is intended to require court action for the taking into custody and making proper disposition of stray or abandoned animals as lawfully performed by animal control agents.
The recent case did not really apply the “or”. The “or’ is what they had to go on but the court decided the “or” was an “and”. And thus the importance of every letter and punctuation in a code.
(D) The officer or agent of any county or of the South Carolina Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or of any society incorporated for that purpose, taking charge of any animal pursuant to the provisions of this section shall have written notice served prior to the hearing set forth in subsection (C)(2), upon the owner of the animal, if he is known and is residing in the county where the animal was taken. The sheriff of the county shall not charge a fee for service of such notice. If the owner of the animal is known but is residing outside of the county wherein the animal was taken, notice of the hearing shall be by publication.
(E) If any seized animal held by court order at the owner's premises is removed without notification to the investigating agency, or if an animal becomes sick or dies, and the owner or custodian fails to immediately notify the investigating agency, the owner must be held in contempt of court and fined up to the penalties provided by law.
(F) The officer or agent of any county or of the South Carolina Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or of any society incorporated for that purpose, taking charge of an animal as provided for in this section shall provide for the animal until either:
(1) The owner is adjudged by the court to be able to provide adequately for, and have custody of, the animal, in which case the animal shall be returned to the owner upon payment for the care and provision of the animal while in the agent's or officer's custody; or
(2) The animal is turned over to the officer or agent as provided in Section 47-1-170 and a humane disposition of the animal is made.
(G) If the court determines that the owner is able to provide adequately for, and have custody of the animal, the order shall provide that the animal in possession of the officer or agent be claimed and removed by the owner within seven days after the date of the order.
In reality these things take years and the board bills add up to huge amounts of $$$. However, in this state it take so much to get animals seized there are rarely mistakes and so far nobody has been wrongly accused.
SECTION 47-1-160. Disposition of fines.
All fines collected for violations of this chapter must be distributed as follows:
(1) If the trial court finds that there was a nonprofit animal humane organization in the municipality or county materially involved in or aiding in the prosecution of the violation, one-half of the fine must be distributed to the nonprofit animal humane organization and the remaining one-half must be distributed as is otherwise provided by law.
This is great. It’s a way to fund rescues. Does your state do this?
(2) If there is no finding of material involvement or aiding in the prosecution of the violation by a nonprofit animal humane organization, the fine must be distributed as is provided by law.
SECTION 47-1-170. Penalties for violations of chapter.
The owner or person having charge or custody of an animal cruelly used who is convicted of any violation of this chapter forfeits ownership, charge, or custody of the animal and at the discretion of the court, the person who is charged with or convicted of a violation of this chapter must be ordered to pay costs incurred to care for the animal and related expenses.
SECTION 47-1-200. Requirements for transfer of animals and importation or exportation of dog or cat; penalties for violations.
(A) During transportation, an animal must not be confined in one area for more than twenty-four consecutive hours without being adequately exercised, rested, fed, and watered. The time may be extended reasonably when an act of God causes a delay. The animal must be provided adequate space and ventilation.
(B) A dog or cat under eight weeks of age must not be imported or exported without being accompanied by its dam.
(C) A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than two hundred nor more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than thirty days, or both.
SECTION 47-1-210. Live animals as prizes; exceptions; penalties.
(A) It is unlawful to give away a live animal including, but not limited to, a fish, bird, fowl, or reptile, as a prize for, or as an inducement to enter, any contest, game, or other competition, or as an inducement to enter a place of amusement, or for these species to be used as an incentive to enter into any business agreement if the offer made was for the purpose of attracting trade.
(B) Nothing in this section may be construed to prohibit an auction or raffle of a live animal including, but not limited to, a fish, bird, fowl, or reptile. Further, the giving away or the testing of game or fowl for breeding purposes only is lawful and is not prohibited by this section as an incentive to enter into a business agreement if the person giving away or testing game or fowl is engaged in that trade.
(C) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be punished for each separate offense by a fine not to exceed three hundred dollars or imprisonment not to exceed thirty days, or both.
(D) This section does not apply when a live animal is given away as follows:
(1) by individuals or organizations operating in conjunction with a cooperative extension education program or agricultural vocational program sanctioned by the State Department of Education or local school districts;
(2) by individuals or organizations operating in conjunction with field trials approved by the Department of Natural Resources; or
(3) by kennels that advertise in national publications in regard to dogs that are registered with the United Kennel Club or the American Kennel Club.
Now this is just bizarre. That gold fish you won at the fair? GIVE IT BACK AND RUN! Why is it Ok for the AKC kennels to do it? Not sure what the basis for this is, but I am all for giving animals away. Lets ban selling them and see if their welfare improves?