Horry Co. Council passes second reading on puppy and kitten mill - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Horry Co. Council passes second reading on puppy and kitten mill regulations

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Tuesday night Horry County Council voted for a second reading on an amendment to an ordinance cracking down on puppy and kitten mills. Breeders could soon face much stricter regulations if they want to continue breeding and selling in county limits.

Local shelters say they often end up with animals that come from poor breeding conditions. Many of the animals don't know how to behave around humans, around one another, and many of them can't even walk. The county is responding by creating stricter vaccine and living condition guidelines for breeders to follow.

"There were lots of puppy mills busted earlier this year. And we saw all sorts of medical issues," according to Allison Gillespie, the Assistant Director of All 4 Paws in Pawleys Island. All 4 Paws receives the majority of its animals from the Horry County Animal Shelter, and has rehabbed countless animals that have come from mills.

Many Horry County citizens spoke out in anger over a lack of regulation for breeders when news broke about the puppy mill busts earlier in the year. In its proposed ordinance, the county says the current law does not address commercial breeders specifically, and now is the time to regulate overcrowding, disease, and other inhumane conditions it says are becoming more prevalent.

"There were broken legs under their fur, they had eye infections, urinary tract infections, cysts and open sores underneath some of their fur," Gillespie said. "It was pretty gruesome."

The proposed changes say breeders that sell 25 or more animals a year will be inspected at least once a year by animal control. If there is a complaint against a breeder, an inspection will be completed. And if it is found that animals don't meet the regulations they will have at most, seven days to fix the problem.

Proof of vaccination will be required for each animal, signed by a licensed vet. All 4 Paws recently got a group of Maltese dogs in from what it believes was a puppy mill. "Their teeth were all rotted out," Gillespie said. "I took a few to the vet last week, and their teeth... when we started messing with them a little bit, were just falling out they were in such decay."

There will be new guidelines about where animals are kept specifically they must be sheltered and protected from the elements, with a certain amount of space based on the animal's size.

"Moms that will have babies on the wire. And then sometimes they'll make it, sometimes they won't. Living on the cages is just awful for their feet, it's just really a detriment to their health."

Stacked cages and those with wired floors will be illegal under the new law.

And if a breeder is convicted for animal cruelty or maltreatment, that person will not be allowed to continue business in the county.

If the vote passes a third and final reading, it will become law.

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