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Team Pickens County met with SC representatives for Humane Lobby Day 2014

Team Pickens County met with SC representatives for Humane Lobby Day 2014
Team Pickens County met with SC representatives for Humane Lobby Day 2014
Malissa Taylor

February 28 was a special day for animal advocates in South Carolina, who are determined to bring about change to our laws against animal cruelty. South Carolina ranks 46th in the United States in creating laws meant to protect companion animals.

South Carolina animal advocates gathered in their home districts for Humane Lobby Day 2014. This event, sponsored by the U.S. Humane Society, was created to bring lawmakers and animal advocates together to discuss ways in which to better serve the companion animals living in South Carolina.

Team Pickens County met yesterday with South Carolina lawmakers to discuss what needs to be done to toughen animal laws in the state. On hand were Representative Philip Owens, Senator Larry Martin and Representative David Hiott.

Humane Lobby day went really well. Despite not having the turnout that was anticipated, the team definitely made progress in Pickens county. Sen. Larry Martin, Rep. Phillip Owens, Rep. David Hiott were in attendance. Advocates Kim Jackson, Jeff Jackson, Alan Hudgens, Malissa Taylor and Travis Garner were also there.

WYFF4 (LIz Lohuis) payed them a visit which aired at 11pm . Also The Easley, Progress a local newspaper had a reporter attend as well. As far as getting the word out to the public, media coverage by WYFF4 will be really good for the Pickens County area.

Rep. Hiott pretty much stated that Bill 3492(Animal Shelter) is "Dead."

Sen. Martin talked about S.193(Animal Cruelty) and Rep. Owens said that he would nudge some key people to try and motivate the Bill, since it is still awaiting a Hearing

When Felony Cockfighting (S.529/H.3049) was mentioned, both Sen. Martin and Rep. Owens both mentioned how that " we don't really hear much about it anymore."

"It seems to be more underground and that it isn't a high priority for Law Enforcement..." Sen Martin stated.

"I personally don't expect it to move anytime soon..." Stated Garner.

The lobbyists did not discuss H.3985(Dangerous Wild Animals).

Kim Jackson had mentioned about educating the public more and Garner mentioned to Rep. Owens about implementing a Humane Education Program in our schools. He showed great interest in that idea.

Garner did some research on Humane Society of The United States Website and came across " Kind News" (Adopt a classroom program / educational literature aimed at teaching children about responsibility with animals). He thought that was an excellent opportunity to educate in the classroom.

Garner expressed the benefits of humane education and educating our kids in hopes of them becoming responsible adults with animals. Rep. Owens is Chairman of the Education Committee.

H.3045(Animal Abusers Registry) was brought up by Kim Jackson. Everyone was in agreement for that Bill. They mentioned about looking into it further.

Similar meetings were held across the South Carolina, where more than 200 animal advocates and lawmakers gathered in their respective districts to meet face-to-face about animal protection issues.

Alan Hudgens, Travis Garner, Kim Jackson, Jeff Jackson, Malissa Taylor (photographer, fellow advocate), and Silibet Lowrance also attended the Team Pickens County meeting.

Photographed left to right are Alan Hudgens, Travis Garner, Rep. Philip Owens, Sen. Larry Martin, Rep. David Hiott, Kim Jackson, Jeff Jackson. Photograph by- Malissa Taylor (Fellow Advocate). Also in attendance was Silibet Lowrance.

It's nice to know lawmakers in our state are finally willing to discuss legislation to protect the many animals in our state who are abused on a daily basis.

For so long, this subject has been South Carolina's dirty little secret. Those guilty of abuse had little more than a fine to worry about if caught, with minimum or no punishment to act as a deterrent.

Social media has played a major role in the rescue of many dogs and cats who have fallen through the cracks where state law is concerned.

Hopefully new animal protection bills will soon be made into law, with tougher penalties for abusers and stricter actions made mandatory for animal control, who many times refuse to enforce laws already on the books.

In other words, the system now in place isn't working anymore, and Humane Lobby Day gave lobbyists the opportunity to inform district leaders of this fact.

This Examiner article covered the meeting held in Simpsonville, South Carolina.

Information on attendance by the Team Pickens County meeting provided by Travis Garner.

If your district would like publicity about the Humane Lobby Day 2014 meeting, please email me at elisablacktaylor@gmail.com by March 3, 2014, and I'll do my best to write an article.