Responsibilities Of A Pet Owner
Your pet depends on you to provide him or her with food, water, shelter, veterinary care and exercise as well as love, loyalty and friendship. Following these simple guidelines will make you a responsible pet owner.
License your pet according to Richland County Animal Ordinance. Have your pet wear the tag issued by Richland County Animal Care at all times. This tag will increase the chances of your pet being reunited with you if it is ever lost.
Never let your pet roam. Keep your dog or cat on a leash and under your control whenever you take him/her out for exercise. This will protect your pet from being injured by a vehicle, coming into contact with wild animals, disease and theft. Remember a roaming pet can be a public nuisance.
Spay or neuter your pet. This will keep him/her healthier and will reduce the problem of dog and cat overpopulation.
Give your pet a nutritious diet, including constant access to clean water. Seek the advice of your veterinarian on what and how much you should feed your pet.
Keep your pet physically fit by giving him/her enough exercise.
Be sure your pet receives proper veterinary care and keep up with the necessary vaccinations, including rabies shots.
Train your pet. Positive training will allow you to control your pet. A training or obedience class may be in order for your pet.
Groom your pet often to keep his/her coat healthy, soft, and shiny. Grooming is also time for bonding with your pet.
Be loyal and faithful to you pet. Have realistic expectations about your pet.
Spaying or Neutering
Spaying or neutering your pet can be one of the most important things you do – and one of the most beneficial.
Spaying and neutering are ways to prevent animals from having babies. Females are spayed and males are neutered. Both are surgical procedures that remove the animal’s reproductive organs.
Benefits of Spaying or Neutering
- Prevents behavior problems.
- Decreases aggression towards other animals.
- Reduces marking of territory.
- Eliminates worry, hassle and cost of litters.
- Eliminates sexual frustration, your pet will be more content.
- Reduces your pet's chances of getting cancer.
- Increases life expectancy.
- Reduces the incidence of injury and disease.
- Reduces your pet’s urge to fight.
- Reduces the urge to roam, making it less likely that your pet will become lost or injured.
- In Richland County the cost to license a spayed or neutered pet is lower than the cost of a pet not spayed or neutered.
- By spaying or neutering your pet you are doing your part to control the population of unwanted strays and neglected strays.
- Spaying or neutering your pet will also help to reduce the number of animals euthanized every day.
Common Myths About Spaying and Neutering
- Spaying or neutering will not endanger your pet's well-being.
- Your pet’s personality will not change if it is spayed or neutered.
- Spaying or neutering will not cause your pet to become overweight.
A fertile female cat, her mate and all of their offspring, producing 2 litters per year, with 2.8 surviving kittens per litter can total:
1 year: 12
2 years: 67
3 years: 376
4 years: 2,107
5 years: 11,801
6 years: 66,088
7 years: 370,092
8 years: 2,072,514
9 years: 11,606,077
A fertile female dog, her mate and all of their puppies, if none are ever neutered or spayed, add up to:
1 year: 16
2 years: 128
3 years: 512
4 years: 2,048
5 years: 12,288
6 years: 67,000
What Is Rabies?
Rabies is a disease caused by a virus found in the saliva of infected animals. This disease can be transmitted to pets and humans through bites, or possibly by contamination of an open cut.
Most animals can be infected by the virus and can transmit the disease to man. Infected bats, raccoons, foxes, skunks, dogs or cats provide the greatest risk to humans.
Steps to Prevent Rabies:
- Have your pets vaccinated against rabies. Any pets, which come in contact with wild animals, are at risk.
- If your cat or dog has been bitten or attacked by a wild animal, report the incident immediately to the Animal Care or the Department of Health and Environmental Control.
- If your cat or dog has bitten a person, report the incident immediately to Animal Care or the Department of Health and Environmental Control.
- If your cat or dog is sick, seek the advice of your veterinarian.
- Protect your pets from stray or wild animals. Do not allow your pets to roam.
- Report stray animals to Animal Care immediately to have them removed from your neighborhood. Handling stray cats or dogs can be dangerous.
- Do not feed or handle wild animals especially those that appear aggressive or sick.
- Never keep a wild animal as a pet.
What To Do If You Are Bitten?
All animal bites are to be reported.
This is a matter of public health and enforcement of these regulations is the responsibility of the Department of Health and Environmental Control and Animal Care. Any animal that bites someone must be placed in quarantine for a 10-day period and cannot be removed from the county unless the Department of Health and Environmental Control grants permission. If you or any family members are bitten, call Animal Care immediately. An Animal Care Officer will respond to remove the animal and complete the bite report. The Department of Health and Environmental Control will be notified immediately.
If medical treatment is required, the doctor or hospital providing the treatment should report the incident. Every attempt should be made to identify the animal so the owner can be contacted and the necessary paperwork completed. If a wild animal is involved and cannot be located, you will be advised by the Department of Health and Environmental Control of what treatment is necessary. If the bite occurs after hours please contact the Sheriff’s Department.
What To Do If Your Animal Bites Someone?
All animal bites are to be reported.
Call Animal Care immediately. The animal must be placed in quarantine for a period of 10 days. This quarantine is required even if the animal has been vaccinated for rabies. You may be able to keep the animal at your home under certain circumstances and if the license and rabies vaccination are current. If you don't have a current license or a current rabies vaccination, the animal will be quarantined at a designated facility determined by Animal Care. Boarding fees are the responsibility of the animal owner.
Animals that have bitten a person must be quarantined, in accordance with South Carolina State Law for a minimum of ten (10) Days. This quarantine period is set by the Department of Health and Environmental Control and enforced by Richland County Animal Care when necessary. All animals under quarantine shall not be released from quarantine without written authorization from DHEC.
How To Avoid Dog Bites
It is estimated that dogs bite 4.7 million people in the United States each year. Children are the most common victims of severe dog bites. Dog bite injuries can be avoided.
- Train your pet so that your pet is comfortable around people.
- Spay or neuter your dog. Dogs that have not been spayed or neutered are more likely to bite than dogs that have been spayed or neutered.
- Never play attack games with your dog. Your dog will not understand the difference between play and real situations.
- If your dog exhibits behavior such as growling, nipping or biting, seek professional advice from your veterinarian or a skilled dog trainer.
- Never approach a dog that you don’t know or a dog that is alone without his owner.
- Do not disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating or caring for puppies.
- When approached by a dog that you do not know, don’t run or scream. Instead, stand still with your hands at your sides and do not make direct eye contact with or speak to the dog. Pretend to be a “tree” until the dog goes away.
- If a dog attacks, feed him your jacket, purse, bicycle or anything that can serve as a barrier between you and the attacking dog.
Tips To Avoid Losing Your Pet
License your pet. Richland County has an excellent licensing system. Give your pet extra protection with proper identification.
Spay or Neuter your pet. This will reduce your pet’s desire to wander. Spaying or neutering will also help to reduce the overpopulation of unwanted pets and strays. Licensing a pet that has been spayed or neutered costs less than licensing a pet that has not been spayed or neutered.
Never leave your pet in a vehicle unattended or tied in an unfamiliar area.
Keep your pet inside where it is safe when you are not at home. If you must keep your pet outside make sure your pet has proper shelter. This means making sure your pet will not be exposed to extreme heat, rain or cold. Leave a generous amount of food and water. If you are expecting workers to enter your yard, keep your pet inside.
Always make sure your fence is secure. Periodically check for holes. Remember dogs love to dig.
Keep your dog on a leash when you are walking it.
Tips For Finding A Lost Pet.
Losing a pet can be traumatic for the both the owner and the animal. Here are a few tips to help pet owners find their lost companions.
Contact your local Animal Care and Control agencies to file a lost pet report. Pets can sometimes roam farther away from home than their owners believe possible. Call or visit the shelter every 24 hours to search.
Walk and/or drive through your neighborhood several time a day. The early morning hours and sunset are prime times for finding lost pets. Question everyone, neighbors, joggers, mail carriers and garbage collectors.
Post fliers everywhere possible, the grocery store, community centers, churches, etc. Place an ad in the classified section of your local paper. Offer a reward if possible.
Notify your local veterinarian clinics, especially those that offer boarding. Sometimes injured pets are taken directly to a veterinarian for care prior to transfer to an animal shelter.
File a report with the Sheriff’s Department if you suspect that your pet has been stolen. Also report this information to Animal Care.
Prevent this from happening again. Keep an identification tag on your pet. License your pets as Richland County Ordinance mandates. Remember to update your pet’s tag when you move. Keep a current photo of your pet on file along with other important papers on your pet. Have your pet microchipped and registered to you.