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Elgin residents report serious feral dog problem

Posted: January 15, 2018 4:24 p.m.
Updated: January 16, 2018 1:00 a.m.

The photos Kershaw County Council members were looking at during council’s Jan. 9 meeting were not shared with the public -- words councilmen used to describe the photos, such as such as “gruesome” and “slaughter,” painted a strong enough picture.

Those photos were provided by residents of the Sessions Road/Smyrna/Tillman roads area of Elgin, who appeared during the public comment section of Tuesday night’s council meeting to talk about a very serious problem that they have been dealing with for several years: feral dogs.

More specifically, a number of dogs have been roaming the area at will, often in packs of anywhere from three to 10 animals or more. The dogs not only seem to roam at will on anyone’s property, they act aggressively toward humans and on multiple occasions have threatened people and killed pets and livestock.

At least one child was bitten by one of the dogs, said Janette Amour, who lives on Sessions Road.

“These dogs have come into fenced-in areas,” she said. “They have bitten at least one child -- I had one come into my fenced yard and attack my dog.”

Another resident said the dogs have come onto his property on several occasions, frightening his children and grandchildren and acting aggressively toward him.

Residents all noted that, while they have experienced significant difficulties in contacting Kershaw County Animal Control, they are not angry at the employees of that office, or at anyone in county government.

“We understand they are swamped – there are only four of them covering the whole county and they have other jobs they have to do to,” Amore said.  “But it is frustrating. We don’t expect them to come out and comb the woods looking for wild dogs. However, we do expect them to respond and enforce the law, especially when we know who they need to talk to about this.”

While many of the dogs appear to be some variety of “bully” breed, such as pit bull, some of the others appear to be either hunting dogs that got lost and were never retrieved by their owners, or unwanted strays that were abandoned in the area. 

“The ones I see look like some kind of pit bull, and they look pretty good -- someone seems to be feeding them, anyway,” Amour noted. “Maybe they have owners who are just letting them out to run at certain times of the day, or maybe someone is just leaving them food.”

The problem has been ongoing for several years, she noted. In fact, an individual who owned a number of the pit bulls was cited, fined and ordered to pay restitution for livestock and pets that had been killed by his dogs. That individual subsequently moved away. However, other family members have since moved back to that property -- with more dogs, according to the residents speaking at the meeting.

Samantha Trimnal said she has lost animals as well.

“People have lost goats, chickens, their own pets --  and it’s getting to the point where if the county and animal control can’t do something, then we will have to take matters into our own hands,” she said. “We have no other choice. Sooner or later, someone, a child, maybe, is going to get hurt.”

“Something needs to be done,” Amour said. “It’s not right to put people like us, people who are animal lovers, in a position where we have to shoot dogs. Please help us.”

Council members expressed their concern and sympathy and asked County Administrator Vic Carpenter to make this a priority issue.

“This is the first I’ve ever heard of this,” Councilman Jimmy Jones said. “I would ask the county administrator to please keep me apprised of this situation.”

Councilman Dennis Arledge, who owns and operates a business is in Elgin, said he had only recently heard about this but when he did he contacted Assistant County Administrator Danny Templar and asked him to get in contact with Animal Control to address the problem.

Other business discussed:

• Council passed first reading of an ordinance to amend the County Comprehensive Plan.

• Council heard a report from Councilman Ben Connell regarding preliminary findings and recommendations of an ad hoc committee studying the county fire service.

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