GEORGETOWN, S.C. (WCBD) – Georgetown County has updated laws on animal restraint to put more emphasis on safety.

Under the new ordinance, stricter conditions must be met for domestic animals to be restrained.

To be tethered, animals must:

  • Be over six months old
  • Be within easy eyesight of a caretaker
  • Be wearing properly-fitted buckle-type collars or body harnesses made out of nylon, polyester, and/or leather
  • Be on a tether of at least 12 feet with swivel-type termination at both ends that is not made of chain and does not weigh more than 5% of the animal’s body weight
  • Have easy access to adequate shelter, food, and water at all times
  • Not be left unattended for more than 8 hours in any 24-hour period
  • Not be left outside from after sunset to sunrise, nor during periods of inclement or extreme weather without easy access to adequate shelter, food, and water.

Animals on running lines or similar devices must:

  • Be at least six months old
  • Be on a tether that is at least seven feet above the ground and of sufficient length to let the animal run at least 10 feet in any direction
  • Be on a tether that does not weigh more than 5% of the animal’s body weight
  • Be attached to the tether with a properly-fitted buckle-type collar or body harness made of nylon, polyester, cotton, and/or leather

Animals kept in kennels/pens must meet the following conditions:

  • Be in easy sight of a caretaker and on property occupied by a person responsible for the animal (unless the animal is kept for lawful hunting, sporting and farming use)
  • Be in an enclosure with sufficient room (relevant to the size of the animal) for the animal to freely run and exercise
  • Be checked on at least once per day
  • Have adequate food, water, and shelter easily accessible at all times
  • Not be confined for longer than six hours without being released for adequate exercise a minimum of one hour a day (in intervals of at least 15 minutes)
  • Not be left unattended and confined during severe or extreme weather

The law defines shelter as “a structure that has at least three sides and a roof, and includes insulation or other coverings adequate to protect an animal from heat, cold, and other weather elements.

Enforcement will begin in September. Violations are punishable by a $100 fine for the first offense and $200 fines for subsequent offenses.