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Dear Animal Control: A letter on accountability and enforcing SC cruelty laws

Hester, one of many abandoned in SC, died

UPDATED FEBRUARY 3 6:20PM: Word is the dog is now safe after being removed from the home on Friday.

Dear South Carolina Animal Control office:

I am writing this as a voice for the dogs and cats in our fine state who can't speak for themselves. I, as a taxpaying citizen of this state, believe animal control should be legally accountable to report any actions taken on a complaint called in by a concerned resident.

You see, animal control, we love our animals in this state. We even love animals that aren't legally ours, and therein comes the problem.

The case in point today is a dog located in Greenville County, South Carolina. I won't go into specifics because this plea covers all dogs (and cats) in all counties. This isn't an attempt to undermine the decisions made in one particular county.

Greenville County Animal Control was contacted Friday afternoon by someone concerned that a dog was allegedly left alone on a property inside a home with no food or water. Your department responded they would check up on the dog on Monday.

Those involved in rescuing animals from life-threatening situations have spent the entire weekend on edge, wondering whether this poor dog would be found alive or dead. Animal Control didn't deem this an "emergency," but how would you feel if you had to spend several days with no food or water?

This dog may have been alone now for as long as a week and a half, since the owner is in jail.

From what I heard through the animal advocacy grapevine, the dog was heard barking on Friday, but no sound came from the residence when a concerned person paid a visit to the property over the weekend. There are no trespassing signs posting on the property, so we know how the owner feels about people snooping around.

There's a strong chance this poor dog is now dead. Do you even care?

Animal Control was contacted once again on Monday. They assured the caller that a visit to the home is on the agenda for today. Animal Control also allegedly told the caller that a return call stating whether the dog is still alive would not be made. The caller was told to call back on Friday to learn more.

This is the same Animal Control division who gave Roger Owens a "ticket" for dragging a dog named Andra Grace behind his truck. We all know Owens would have gotten away with malicious animal cruelty if not for public outcry. So we know punishing those who are cruel to animals don't come high on your list of priorities.

The citizens of South Carolina, as well as other states with lax animal cruelty laws, are tired of begging for justice for these abused dogs. It appears these animals need justice from those who run animal control, who are in reality being as cruel as the owner by turning a blind eye on the abuse.

Do we have to beg for these animals? Apparently we do. Animal Control should appreciate the residents in their respective areas. We do a lot of the job for them by keeping an eye out for animals who are abused in one way or another.

Why do you make excuses about not wanting to check out a bad situation? Why aren't you charging those you see breaking any part of South Carolina Animal Cruelty law 47-1-10? In most cases, Animal Control treats those who call in about abuse with more disrespect than the person abusing the animal.

To tell a concerned Greenville County resident to call back on Friday (February 7) means this person who did her job by reporting abuse has to worry all week about the health of this one dog. One of many you'll likely be called to check on in your county. I consider this behavior disrespectful to the animal lovers in this area.

As I said before, this is happening in every state. South Carolina just tends to get more of this attitude, and comes in #46 in the nation on the states failure to protect companion animals.

Those angry about this particular situation should contact The Greenville County Administrator. Information is listed below.

Joe Kernel, County Administrator
301 University Ridge, Suite 2400
Greenville County Square, Greenville, SC 29601
Phone: 467-7105

It may be too late for this one dog, trapped inside a vacant home for days now. But don't we as animal lovers deserve enough respect to be told the outcome of this case? Or will it be covered up, leaving us all to wonder whether we did too little, too late?

Your comments are welcome.

Note: The photo used in this article is of Hester, who died because no one in authority to save her cared.

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