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2353Ratification Number: 567Act Number: 491Introducing Body: HouseSubject: The Animal Fighting and Baiting Act
(A491, R567, H2353)
AN ACT TO ENACT "THE ANIMAL FIGHTING AND BAITING ACT", TO PROVIDE FOR THE SEIZURE, CARE, AND DISPOSITION OF ANIMALS AND TO PROVIDE EXCEPTIONS AND PENALTIES; TO AMEND SECTION 16-1-10, AS AMENDED, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO CRIMES CLASSIFIED AS FELONIES, SO AS TO INCLUDE THE CRIME OF OWNING AN ANIMAL FOR THE PURPOSE OF FIGHTING OR BAITING, BEING A PARTY TO OR CAUSING ANY FIGHTING OR BAITING OF ANY ANIMAL, PURCHASING, RENTING, LEASING, OR OTHERWISE ACQUIRING OR OBTAINING THE USE OF ANY STRUCTURE, FACILITY, OR LOCATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF FIGHTING OR BAITING ANY ANIMAL; OR KNOWINGLY ALLOWING OR PERMITTING OR MAKING AVAILABLE ANY STRUCTURE, FACILITY, OR LOCATION TO BE USED FOR THE PURPOSE OF FIGHTING OR BAITING ANY ANIMAL AND TO INCLUDE A THIRD OR SUBSEQUENT CONVICTION OF BEING PRESENT AT A LOCATION WITH KNOWLEDGE THAT PREPARATIONS ARE BEING MADE FOR SUCH ACTIVITY.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
Act may be cited
SECTION 1. This act is known and may be cited as "The Animal Fighting and Baiting Act".
SECTION 2. As used in this act:
(a) "Animal" means any live vertebrate creature, domestic or wild.
(b) "Fighting" means an attack with violence by an animal against another animal or a human.
(c) "Baiting" means to provoke or to harass an animal with one or more animals with the purpose of training an animal for, or to cause an animal to engage in, fights with or among other animals or between animals and humans.
(d) "Person" means every natural person or individual and any firm, partnership, association, or corporation.
SECTION 3. Any person who:
(a) owns an animal for the purpose of fighting or baiting;
(b) is a party to or causes any fighting or baiting of any animal;
(c) purchases, rents, leases, or otherwise acquires or obtains the use of any structure, facility, or location for the purpose of fighting or baiting any animal; or
(d) knowingly allows or permits or makes available any structure, facility, or location to be used for the purpose of fighting or baiting any animal is guilty of a felony and upon conviction must be punished by a fine of five thousand dollars or imprisoned for five years or both.
SECTION 4. Any person who:
(a) is present at any structure, facility, or location where preparations are being made for the purpose of fighting or baiting any animal with knowledge that those preparations are being made, or
(b) is present at any structure, facility, or location with knowledge that fighting or baiting of any animal is taking place or is about to take place there is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction for a first offense must be punished by a fine of five hundred dollars or imprisonment for six months, or both, and for a second offense by a fine of one thousand dollars or imprisonment for one year, or both. Any person convicted of a third or subsequent offense is guilty of a felony and must be punished by a fine of five thousand dollars or imprisonment for five years, or both.
Animal to be seized
SECTION 5. Whenever an indictment is returned charging a violation of any provision of this act, or if an indictment is waived, the court shall order the animal or animals involved seized and held until final disposition of the charges and shall provide for the appropriate and humane care or disposition of the animal or animals. The provisions of this section may not be construed as a limitation on the authority under law to seize any animal as evidence at the time of an arrest. If any animal seized pursuant to the provisions of this section or otherwise seized in accordance with law is unable to survive humanely the final disposition of the charges, in the opinion of the court, the court may order the termination of the animal's life. Upon the conviction of the person charged, or upon a plea of guilty or of nolo contendere, any animal involved, whose life has not been terminated, becomes the property of the State and the court shall order a humane disposition of the animal.
Applicability of provisions
SECTION 6. (a) The provisions of Section 3 do not apply to any person:
(1) using any animal to pursue or take wildlife or to participate in hunting in accordance with the game and wildlife laws of this State and regulations of the South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resources Department.
(2) using any animal to work livestock for agricultural purposes;
(3) properly training or using dogs for law enforcement purposes or protection of persons and private property.
(b) The provisions of this act do not apply to game fowl.
Crime added to list of felonies
SECTION 7. (a) The crime in Section 3 relating to owning an animal for the purpose of fighting or baiting, being a party to or causing any fighting or baiting of any animal, purchasing, renting, leasing, or otherwise acquiring or obtaining the use of any structure, facility, or location for the purpose of fighting or baiting any animal, or knowingly allowing or permitting or making available any structure, or facility, or location to be used for the purpose of fighting or baiting any animal is added to the list of crimes classified as felonies in Section 16-1-10 of the 1976 Code.
(b) The crime in Section 4 relating to a third or subsequent conviction of being present at a location with knowledge that preparations are being made for animal fighting or baiting or being present at a location with knowledge that animal fighting or baiting is taking place or about to take place is added to the list of crimes classified as felonies in Section 16-1-10 of the 1976 Code.
Provisions are cumulative
SECTION 8. The provisions of this act are cumulative and not in lieu of any other provision of law.
SECTION 9. This act shall not apply to dogs used for the purpose of hunting or for dogs used in field trials in more commonly known as "water races", "Treeing Contests", "Coon-on-a-log", "Bear-Baying", or "Fox-pen-trials". Such "Fox-pen-trials" must be approved by permit for Field trials by South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resources Department.
SECTION 10. This act shall take effect upon approval by the Governor.