Joye Law Firm was proud to help the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office open the training facility at its new law enforcement center recently with a seminar about dealing with animal cruelty cases.
Law enforcement officers from several South Carolina counties, including Colleton County, Richland County, and Jasper County, earned continuing education credits for attending training about investigating animal cruelty and prosecuting individuals involved in dog-fighting and other types of animal abuse. Animal cruelty takes various forms including gross neglect, intentional abuse, organized abuse such as dogfighting and cockfighting, and animal sexual abuse.
Seminar speakers Mike Perkins, director of Animal Cruelty Investigations at the Atlanta Human Society and Jessica Rook, director of Legal Advocacy and Law Enforcement Support, touched on the link between animal abuse and other violence in communities. Intentional cruelty to animals correlates with crimes including domestic violence. Data on domestic violence and child abuse show that those who batter their spouses or abuse their children frequently target pets as well.
The animals most commonly identified as victims of abuse include dogs, cats, horses, and livestock.
The law enforcement training was offered at no charge thanks in part to the support of the Joye Law Firm.
Joye Law Firm is committed to giving back to the communities we serve and making them safer places to live and raise families. For many of us, our pets are beloved members of our families.
Since 1968, our law firm has participated in a variety of community activities and charitable events, including the Joye Law Firm Annual Scholarship Program and the Shoot Three and Win Halftime Challenge during the annual Rotary Roundball Classic.
Joye Law Firm has maintained a longstanding partnership with the Charleston Animal Society through which we have promoted pet adoptions and sponsored fundraising events, such as the annual Chili Cook-Off & Oyster Roast.
Charleston Animal Society Works to Strengthen SC Animal Cruelty Laws
The Charleston Animal Society and other animal protection organizations from around the state are hard at work trying to strengthen existing animal cruelty laws in South Carolina to enhance penalties and ensure that existing laws are properly enforced.
Under South Carolina cruelty to animals laws, it is illegal to:
- Neglect, abuse, torment or torture an animal.
- Steal or kill a pet.
- Participate in dog fighting, even as a spectator.
A bill under consideration by South Carolina legislators would prohibit anyone convicted of animal cruelty from adopting a pet for at least five years. A recent Post and Courier editorial cited the Charleston Animal Society’s suggestion that lawmakers ban anyone convicted of a second animal cruelty offense from owning a pet for life.
A related bill would expand the definition of animal cruelty to include tethering an animal without sufficient food and water.
“South Carolina is no stranger to animal cruelty,” the Post and Courier editorial board said. “Every few months, we’re shocked by tales of unimaginable violence — dogs burned alive, dogs having their muzzles taped shut, a puppy shot through the head with an arrow — and the proposed legislation would bring some clarity to animal protection laws, which need to be strengthened. In annual rankings from the Animal Legal Defense Fund, South Carolina is perennially in the bottom tier of states, last year ranking 40th. That must change.”
The Animal Legal Defense Fund says it is a plus that South Carolina defines animal care requirements (food, water, shelter) well. However, there are some areas where South Carolina could make changes to strengthen its protection of animals and prevent animal cruelty. Under current law, for example:
- Veterinarians are not required to report suspected animal cruelty.
- The definition of “animal” excludes poultry.
- There is no provision for pre-conviction forfeiture of abused animals.
- There’s no statutory authorization for mental health evaluation or treatment after an animal cruelty conviction.
Making South Carolina a ‘No Kill’ State
Another program of the Charleston Animal Society is No Kill South Carolina, which partners with dozens of public and nonprofit animal welfare groups with the goal of stopping the destruction of stray animals. The initiative is aimed at raising the standard of care at all S.C. animal shelters and saving every healthy and treatable animal in South Carolina.
The No Kill South Carolina strategy is to link animal welfare organizations so they can practice consistent lifesaving strategies including finding homes for cats and dogs in shelters
through a nonjudgmental adoption program and preventing births of unwanted cats and dogs through high-quality spay and neuter programs. Additionally, it will work with allies to fight animal cruelty wherever it exists through assisting law enforcement and advocating for stronger laws and to shape public opinion about animal welfare through advocacy and adult education efforts.
Charleston Animal Society Honors Joye Law Firm as Community Ambassador
The Charleston Animal Society recognized Joye Law Firm with a Community Ambassador Award for exemplary support for the Animal Society’s lifesaving efforts at the group’s recent 145th-anniversary celebration.
“For the past 12 years, Joye Law Firm has supported the Animal Society’s lifesaving work impacting tens of thousands of animals in our community,” the Animal Society said in the award presentation. “During this time, Joye Law Firm has contributed more than $50,000 toward a variety of activities conducted by the Animal Society. In addition to their significant financial support, their attorneys have come to the Animal Society each week for years to film animals available for adoption and publish them on their social media channels. From their exuberant participation in the annual Chili Cook-off … to promoting and sponsoring adoptions in recent years, Joye Law Firm truly brings ‘Joye in the Community.’”