The South Carolina legislature unanimously passed legislation addressing the financial burden of caring for animals seized in cruelty and fighting cases. This bipartisan bill was supported by South Carolina law enforcement agencies and ensures that the responsibility for covering the costs of caring for abused animals shifts from local agencies and taxpayers to the defendents. 

“It’s only fair that the true cost of caring for animals rescued from acts of animal cruelty falls on those responsible for those animals,” said Janell Gregory, South Carolina state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “Law enforcement from across the state overwhelmingly supported this legislation because it removes a significant obstacle to enforcing our state’s animal protection laws.”

When abused and neglected animals in South Carolina are seized by law enforcement agencies in animal cruelty or fighting cases, they are required to be held for months—or even years—while criminal charges are prosecuted and the judicial process determines the outcome of a case. The length of time imposes a significant and needless cost to law enforcement agencies, animal welfare non-profits, and taxpayers in the state. 

Under the new legislation, if a judge determines the seizure was justified, the owner must either pay for animal care or relinquish the animals so they can be adopted.

“I want to especially thank all of our South Carolina lawmakers for their unanmious support of this important issue to protect animals in our state who suffer from severe animal neglect and abuse,” added Gregory. “They are a true friend to animals in need.”

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