After watching a neighbor's dog suffer while chained in the backyard, a Port Royal resident is asking Town Council to reconsider a chain-free ordinance for animals.
Brian Stevens said the dog, Cain, a pit bull, was chained after repeatedly jumping the fence. The dog was left outside in the cold and rain and was sick with worms, Stevens told council during its regular meeting Wednesday night
Beaufort Animal Control officers told Stevens they could do little if the dog was given food, water and shelter.
The dog, Stevens said, has since gone missing.
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"We ask Port Royal to take the lead and create an ordinance to provide law enforcement with the tools they need to protect animals like Cain in the future," he said.
Kim Bonturi of Chain-Free Beaufort, said the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control have both said chaining dogs is inhumane and cruel. Banning chaining helps prevent dog fights and unsafe breeding practices, she said. An unneutered, chained dog is 2.8 times as likely to attack than other dogs, she said.
"I don't know why we as a society have this knowledge in front of us and we allow it (chaining)," she said.
The city of Beaufort has adopted a chain-free ordinance, but is the only municipality in Beaufort County to do so. Stevens hopes Port Royal passes a similar law, and that it will be a catalyst to get Bluffton, Hilton Head Island and the county to do the same.
Bonturi said Beaufort is one of more than 90 area across the country, including Chatham County in Georgia, with such a law.
Bonturi and Stevens gave council members thick binders of information about chaining dogs and chain-free ordinances.
Town manager Van Willis said council could vote on an ordinance in April.
Councilman Tom Klein asked that any ordinance include all animals.