Conway looks to strengthen pet laws

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) Conway Police Chief Reggie Gosnell says his department has a list of things they want to change in the law.

Right now the Conway Police Department is working to create a new ordinance for city council members to vote on giving police more tools to keep pets and people safe.

Gosnell says his department is working on a new set of laws to change the current ordinance for dogs, cats and pets after receiving a high number of complaints from Conway residents worried about neglected or abused pets. Gosnell says they hope to put a limit on the number of pets an owner can have to prevent hoarding and health hazards, along with stronger laws to protect animals left in cars.

He says they also want the new law to include clear language explaining what it takes to correctly shelter, feed and care for an animal.

The law could also force pet owners with guard dogs to post signs warning visitors of the potential hazard.

Waccamaw Animal Rescue Mission Executive Director Julie Finlayson says she hopes some aspects of the law will help prevent some of the problems she sees regularly when animals are neglected or abused.

"Diseases...signs of stress such as mange...and things like that, I mean you can tell an animal is not well cared for," Finlayson says.

Finlayson says she agrees with parts of Gosnell's idea, such as protecting animals left in vehicles, but worries limiting the number of pets you can own won't solve the problem.

"I have a hard time with that," Finlayson says. "One person can have two animals and be overwhelmed, and somebody else could have 20 and do just fine"

Finlayson says she thinks police should put more of an effort into protecting animals using the laws that are already in place.

"[They should] enforce what they've already got," Finlayson says.

Gosnell says the police department is working to put together the new ordinance over the next month or so. He says they'll bring that ordinance to city council for a vote at a future meeting.

Stick with WMBF News to find out when that vote happens.

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