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Animal Advocates Lobby South Carolina Lawmakers on Animal Protection Legislation

During the 2012 South Carolina State Humane Lobby Day, more than 50 citizens from across South Carolina met with lawmakers at the Capitol and urged them to pass legislation to protect animals. Specifically, they pressed for laws to strengthen the state’s cockfighting law, remove an exemption for cruel bear baying in the Animal Fighting and Baiting Act and empower judges to impose pet protective orders in domestic abuse cases. They also urged lawmakers to oppose a sweeping bill which would allow the shooting of coyotes and other animals at night. The Humane Society of the United States sponsored the event.

During the lobby day, South Carolina Reps. Deborah Long, R-Lancaster, and Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg, welcomed the humane advocates to the state’s capital and discussed the importance of passing humane legislation in South Carolina.

“Humane Lobby Day is a great way for concerned citizens to engage their state lawmakers and remind them that South Carolinians care about the humane treatment of animals,” said Kimberly Kelly, South Carolina state director for The HSUS. “We hope the legislature will prioritize the protection of our wildlife and companion animals as we move into the final month of this legislative session, and vote accordingly.”

Advocates lobbied in favor of the following bills:

  • H. 4968, Long, R-Lancaster, would increase the penalties for cockfighting from a misdemeanor to a second-offense felony.
  • H.3209, Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg/S. 540, Leventis, D-Sumter, would allow judges to include orders of protection for pet animals during domestic abuse cases.
  • H.3678, J.E. Smith, D-Richland/S.201, Lourie, D-Richland, would remove the exemption for “bear baying” from the Animal Fighting and Baiting Act. South Carolina is the only state where this spectator event, which pits dogs against tethered domesticated black bears in a small pen for hours on end, is still practiced.
  • Advocates urged lawmakers to oppose H. 4943, Lowe, R-Florence, a bill which would allow the shooting of coyotes, armadillos and feral hogs at night, and weaken the penalties for violating the law.

South Carolina continues to languish in The HSUS’ national survey of animal protection laws, coming in 48th out of all states and the District of Columbia in 2011. Although the state was credited for requiring that companion animals adopted from shelters be spayed or neutered, the state remains one of just 10 states where cockfighting remains a misdemeanor; one of just seven states with no state law prohibiting the private ownership of exotic animals; and, has no legal protections in place for farm animals.

Media Contacts:  Katie Jarl 301-258-1483, kjarl@humanesociety.org                      

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