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What can I do about an animal running loose around my property?
Cats are no longer subject to the restraint and confine portion of the new County Ordinance. Lexington County has changed the ordinance regarding cats and has entered a partnership with Pawmetto Lifeline to address the stray cat population and reduce the euthanasia rate. All Lexington County residents are being referred to Pawmetto Lifeline for more information on the community cat program and how to participate in trap, neuter, and release.
Community Cat Coordinator, Belinda Beese
If the owner of the dog is known, then you must sign a complaint against the owner of the dog. The complaint must include a description of the dog, the date and time of the violation, and the address of the owner of the dog. Once there is a signed complaint, then officers of the department can go to the owners of the dog to address the violation of the County Ordinance. The reason for a signed complaint is that many times when officers arrive on a scene the dog may have either run off or has been secured back on the owner’s property. Responding officers can issue a warning or a citation, depending on the circumstances of the violation. If a warning is given, the officers explain to the dog owner what the county ordinance is and how it was violated. In a case where a citation is issued, a court date will be set and you may be required to appear as a witness. Fines for violations of the County Ordinance are set by the court and could be as high as $1,087.50.
If the owner of the dog is not known, an officer will come to your property to see if he can impound the dog. If the dog is contained in a fenced yard or kennel, the officer will remove the dog with the property owner's consent. If the owner of the property is home the officer will get him to sign a release when he impounds the dog. If the property owner is not home, he may leave a release to be signed giving the officer consent to impound the dog. There are some cases where the officer is unable to get near a dog-at-large. In these cases the property owner may request a dog trap.
How long are stray animals kept at the shelter?
Stray animals are held for a period of five business days. During this time the animals are checked for identification tags, scanned for a microchip, and the staff will look through reports of lost animals to check for a description that matches the animal. At the end of the holding period the animal will become the property of the county. The animal then may be evaluated to see if it may be put up for adoption or sent to a rescue organization.
What can I do with my dog that I can no longer keep?
We accept dogs from the public. Due to the large volume of dogs that come into the shelter we cannot guarantee adoption of the dog. When an owned dog is accepted by Animal Services, the owner signs a release of all ownership rights to the dog and is told the dog may be euthanized. If an owner of a dog cannot bring the animal to the shelter, then an officer may be able to pick it up. This is a low priority call and the owner of the dog is responsible for its care until the officer is able to respond.
What can I do with my cat that I can no longer keep?
We do not accept cats from the public. The County of Lexington has entered an agreement with Pawmetto Lifeline to assist with cats the owner wishes to surrender. All Lexington County residents are being referred to Pawmetto Lifeline to assist with options on how to address their specific needs regarding cats. Owner surrender intake can be reached at 803-465-9150 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why must I sign a surrender form for a Dog that I do not own?
It is required that anyone turning in a dog to Lexington County Animal Services provide picture identification and sign the dog over as custodian. This increases the level of accountability for the dogs that come into the shelter and may prevent someone from turning in a dog hat they know to be owned.
Do you have traps available to the public?
We do have dog traps that are available to Lexington County residents at no fee. There may be a waiting list for a trap due to the high demand for traps. A trap agreement must be signed by the property owner. The property owner is responsible for monitoring the trap while it is on their property and for treating any animals in the trap in a humane manner. You are responsible for notifying Animal Services if there is an animal in the trap. No one, other than Lexington County Animal Services staff, may remove an animal from a Lexington County trap. Traps are delivered, baited and set by the officer. After the initial baiting of the trap it is the responsibility of the property owner to ensure that the bait in the trap is kept fresh.
Can my dog run loose on my property?
The Restraint and Confinement Ordinance (Chapter 10:34) of the County states that all dogs must be restrained or confined at all times. If the dog is not confined and on its owners property, then the owner must be outside with the pet and the pet must be obedient to the owner’s verbal command. If there is no one outside with the pet, then it must be confined. This applies to all property owners regardless of the size of the property.
Does the leash law apply to cats the same as dogs?
The Restraint and Confinement Ordinance of the county does not require cats to be restrained or confined.
Do you spay or neuter for the public?
While we encourage pet owners to have their animals spayed or neutered, we do not perform this service for the public. There are numerous veterinarians in the area or you can contact the spay and neuter clinic in Columbia.
Do you pick up stray animals after hours or on the weekend?
There is an Animal Control Officer on-call 24 hours a day; however, that officer is only available after hours or on the weekends for emergency calls. We are not able to respond after hours for the impoundment of stray animals that are not dangerous but just a nuisance. Please call during normal business hours and officers will try to get the animal as quickly as possible.
Do you handle complaints on squirrels, raccoons or other wildlife?
We operate under the Lexington County Animal Control Ordinance that covers cats, dogs and certain exotic animals. For assistance with these types of wildlife, citizens may contact the Department of Natural Resources at 1-800-922-5431 or a private wildlife removal company. A list of wildlife removal companies can be found online at www.dnr.sc.gov/ or in the yellow pages of the phone book.
Is it illegal to own exotic animals in Lexington County?
Lexington County does have an exotic animal ordinance (10:91-94) that lists the animals that are defined as exotic and cannot be in the possession or control of anyone in the County.