Bennettsville to update animal control policies

Bennettsville City Council passed the first reading of a new animal control ordinance Tuesday.

BENNETTSVILLE, SC (WBTW) – The city of Bennettsville is doing what it can to limit the overcrowding of dogs and other pets as they passed the first reading of a new animal control ordinance Tuesday night.

“It’s just a problem that really needs to be addressed,” said Mayor Heath Harpe.

That problem: too many stray animals in Bennettsville. City Council members took the next step toward addressing that issue at Tuesday’s council meeting. Mayor Harpe read through the proposed new rules Tuesday night before council passed in unanimously.

Under the ordinance pet owners inside the city limits would have to register and receive a license for each animal in their home. Owners could end up paying a pretty penny depending how many animals they have.

Licenses for pets already spayed or neutered will set you back $25. Registering animals that aren’t fixed will cost $50. Mayor Harpe wants to ensure the rules aren’t limited to just dogs.

“There are so many more animals,” said Harpe. “So we went through and pretty much changed where it said ‘dogs.'”

After the vote, several community members wanted to address council regarding the changes. One man thanked council for working to fix the problems, but said something should be done to limit the number of animals a person can own.

“I have not had a solid night’s sleep in two years,”  he said. His neighbors own several dogs that he says affect his quality of life. “My youngest child is afraid to sleep in his room because of the dogs that bark.”

Geraldine Haire says her neighbors also have dozens of loud dogs. She also wants limits on how many animals can be on a property.

“You don’t have that many dogs for pets,” she said. “I would love to see that happen here.”

While this ordinance does not limit the amount of pets anyone can have in their home, residents here tell me they’re just happy the city is doing something to address the problem in the city.

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