Animal abuse cases have state and local leaders talking -, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Animal abuse cases have state and local leaders talking

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF)- Animal cruelty cases are on the rise along the Grand Strand. One recent example includes a cat that was found with five gunshot wounds, and two broken legs.

That cat was taken to a North Myrtle Beach animal hospital, and so far investigators have not been able to figure out who is responsible.

Myrtle Beach Animal Control sees about fifteen animal abuse calls a month. Some say the uptick in cases has the economy to blame. Virginia Talley with Sav-R-Cats says, "This has been a major problem that so many people are on hard times so it could be that people moved away from there and they left the cat behind."  

Some say the weather plays a factor. Sandy Brown with the Grand Strand Humane Society says, "I think there is an uprise because of the heat but there is always the element of abuse, dog fighting, chaining them up outside, beating them."

This most recent case got the attention of local leaders who are talking with state leaders about legislation on the state and local levels to make the penalties for abuse more severe.

Right now, the fine ranges from about $100 to over $1,000 and thirty days in jail, but some say that is not enough.

Brown says, "It's very easy for someone to mistreat and endanger the life of an animal and pay a small fine. What we need is for the laws to be very strict and punishment in accord with what they've done."

State Representative Nelson Hardwick says there is already legislation on the books about regulations for tying up animals outside, but more may be on its way. Hardwick says there are statistics connecting animal and spouse abuse which need to be dealt with on a state level.

Hardwick says, "You're always hearing things where someone stays in an abusive household because they make threats about their pets or their children so those types of things need to be on the state level." 

The local organization Sav-R-Cats has seen about a hundred animal abuse cases within the past six months. They are asking leaders to put up signs warning people of the penalties for animal abuse.

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