The ordinance, beginning in May, requires residents to register their pets.

ORANGEBURG COUNTY, S.C. — Orangeburg County residents living outside city limits must register their pets with county animal control.

The ordinance requires cat and dog owners to pay $50 if their pet is vaccinated but isn’t spayed or neutered.

But that fee drops to $1 annually if the pet has been fixed.

Jasmine Quarels, the Orangeburg County Animal Control manager, said this ordinance aims to reunite pet owners with their animals in case they get lost.

“The primary goal of this is to be able to reunite pets with their owners if they are lost or if they are at large or if they get out accidentally,” said Quarels. “It’s a quicker turnaround to get those animals out of the shelters so that we can focus on the stray population that don’t have owners or that don’t have homes.” 

“And, right now, I would say a majority of these animals that come into the shelter are probably owned by people, but they don’t have a way to be identified,” she added.

Colleen Dadisman lives in Neeses and registered her two cats and dogs with the county. She says this is something needed in the community.

“I think it’s a great law I think it’s long and coming I think it’s been needed for a long time,” said Dadisman. “It’s something that everyone should do and be encouraged to do, be happy to do to help with the animals in their area where you live and there’s a lot of complaints about the animals but nothings being done and I see this as a way to help.”

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Quarels said that if a pet owner loses their dog or cat, having them registered gives them more time to reclaim them at animal control before they are adopted or sent to a rescue shelter.

“If we can’t identify the animal, then we hold it for five days, which is our five-day stray hold, and we hold it at the shelter to give time for someone to come and claim it as their own pet,” Quarels said. “And, if no one comes forward in those five days, then that animal is put on our page or it’s going to go to a rescue or it can be adopted out, if that’s an option. But, if it is owned by somebody, [items] such as a tag, rabies tag or something like that, that helps identify the animal to an owner, then we hold it for 21 days for that person to be able to come reclaim the animal.”

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Pet owners who violate the ordinance can face a ticket of up to $250.

Pet licensing will be available at the County Animal Shelter throughout the week, in Neeses on Mondays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and in Holly Hill on Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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