SC HOA threatens to take dog from woman’s home because it looks like a pit bull

MT. PLEASANT, S.C.  – A Mt. Pleasant woman says her homeowners association (HOA) is forcing her to get rid of her dog, even though it’s done nothing wrong.

Nancy Butler says, “Nobody has the right to come and take any one’s dog away from them.”

Butler got a letter from the HOA at Seaside Farms. It says she has a “pit bull dog” at her house and pit bulls are not permitted on Seaside Farms property. The letter says if she doesn’t remove the dog, there will be fines and possible legal action to take the dog away.

Butler says, “I will do anything to keep that dog. I don’t care. It’s my dog, I love that dog.”

The dog in question is “Bee”, who was rescued from the Charleston Animal Society. Nancy says Bee has never caused any problems.

She says, “He’s never been outside the fence. I don’t walk him, I don’t walk.”

The HOA told Nancy she needed to get a letter from a veterinarian saying Bee is not a pit bull. She got three of those letters from three different veterinarians and the HOA is still threatening to take the dog away. Joe Elmore, CEO of the Charleston Animal Society, says it isn’t even possible for Bee to be a “pit bull”.

Elmore says, “Pit bull is not a breed of dog. It’s a common misconception. The American Kennel Club does not recognize ‘pit bull’ as a breed of dog. A lot of folks mistakenly think a dog is a pit bull when it doesn’t even exist as a breed. It might be a number of other legitimate breeds of dogs.”

He says there are better ways to insure a safe neighborhood than breed discrimination.

He says, “The temperament, the behavior, the socialization, the sex, the reproductive status.”

There will be an HOA meeting at the end of the month and Nancy, representatives from the Charleston Animal Society, and other organizations all plan to attend. Nancy says she will protect Bee however she can.

She says, “They depend on you for everything. I depend on him too.”

News 2 also talked to attorney Kelsey Gilmore-Futeral, Esq. about this issue. She is the Chair of the Animal Law Committee for the South Carolina Bar. She says breed specific legislation is legal, and HOAs can issue fines or remove an animal that is banned. She says the language in the Seaside Farms breed restriction is not specific.

She says, “The problem you have with that is that a pit bull dog is not a specific breed. So when you come to banning things like Dobermans, German Shepherds, Mastiffs, English Bulldogs, things that are considered actual breeds, it’s a little more specific and probably a little more enforceable than a general description of a pit bull-like dog that are frequently misidentified anyway.”

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