Laurens lawmaker looks to strengthen animal cruelty laws - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Laurens lawmaker looks to strengthen animal cruelty laws

GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

State Sen. Danny Verdin, R-Laurens, is looking to streamline animal cruelty laws and stiffen penalties for offenders.

Verdin's bill S193 would increase the penalties for misdemeanor offenses and eliminate the tiered penalty system. Verdin's bill would also give law enforcement the ability to force suspected animal abusers to pay for the care of the animals they've hurt.

Greenville animal rights advocate Cynthia Saracino said she wishes the penalties were even stiffer but says she is glad something is being done.

Saracino said the recent case of Andra Grace, the dog who was dragged behind a truck in Greenville County, spotlighted the need for reforming the state's laws.

"It exposed animal cruelty in the state to an extreme that it hadn't been exposed before," Saracino said.

Roger Owens, of Marietta, was initially charged with a misdemeanor in the Andra Grace case but with the help of 13th circuit solicitor Walt Wilkins the charge was upgraded to a felony.

Wilkins said he supports tougher animal cruelty laws.

"Everybody that I talked to is for a super strong animal cruelty bill. I certainly wouldn't have any opposition to it," Wilkins said.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, South Carolina ranks 46th in terms of their animal protection laws.

Wayne Brennessel with the Humane Society of Columbia says crimes against animals are on the rise and he hopes Verdin's bill, which passed the Senate 42-0, will makes its way through the House and to the governor's desk quickly.

"I think it sends the message that the state of South Carolina isn't going to tolerate people purposely, willfully, hurting animals," said Brennessel.

Verdin's bill is currently being reviewed by the House Judiciary Committee.

Copyright 2014 Fox Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • NEWSMore>>

  • Alberto shifts further east but Mississippi isn't in the clear just yet

    Alberto shifts further east but Mississippi isn't in the clear just yet

    Saturday, May 26 2018 9:07 PM EDT2018-05-27 01:07:45 GMT

    Alberto is forecast to become a fully tropical storm Saturday and then will move into the Gulf of Mexico this weekend.

    More >>

    Alberto is forecast to become a fully tropical storm Saturday and then will move into the Gulf of Mexico this weekend.

    More >>
  • UPDATED: Sandbags available ahead of weekend storm alert

    UPDATED: Sandbags available ahead of weekend storm alert

    Saturday, May 26 2018 9:04 PM EDT2018-05-27 01:04:43 GMT
    Sandbags will be offered to residents ahead of a tropical disturbance set to bring lots of rain to South Mississippi over Memorial Day weekend. (Source: WLOX)Sandbags will be offered to residents ahead of a tropical disturbance set to bring lots of rain to South Mississippi over Memorial Day weekend. (Source: WLOX)

    Cities around the Coast are getting ready for severe weather that is expected to roll into South Mississippi over the Memorial Day weekend. 

    More >>

    Cities around the Coast are getting ready for severe weather that is expected to roll into South Mississippi over the Memorial Day weekend. 

    More >>
  • Gulfport artist tapped to paint Kentucky Derby winner

    Gulfport artist tapped to paint Kentucky Derby winner

    Saturday, May 26 2018 8:55 PM EDT2018-05-27 00:55:58 GMT
    Sherry Smith's painting of Justify, the winner of the Kentucky Derby. (Photo source: WLOX News)Sherry Smith's painting of Justify, the winner of the Kentucky Derby. (Photo source: WLOX News)
    Sherry Smith's painting of Justify, the winner of the Kentucky Derby. (Photo source: WLOX News)Sherry Smith's painting of Justify, the winner of the Kentucky Derby. (Photo source: WLOX News)

    A Gulfport artist was tapped to paint Justify, the winner of the 144th Kentucky Derby earlier this month.

    More >>

    A Gulfport artist was tapped to paint Justify, the winner of the 144th Kentucky Derby earlier this month.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly