Legal Advice on Dogs and Animal Incidents by Lee Raines, Spartanburg City Police Department, Bike Ped Division
Summary of his talk:
Animals and the LAW:
- The animals ordinance is basically the same for the South Carolina counties in which we ride – Spartanburg, Greenville, Union, and Cherokee.
- We deal with “animals running at large” – not on a leash, or behind a fence. On the owners property it is ok, but once the animal leaves the property it is not ok.
- What to do when you are involved in an incident with a dog or animal:
- Document: pictures, address, video, any information that can be helpful.
- Call 911? It will be documented, but if nothing bad has happened, animal control will not come out, you will have to contact animal control yourself.
- Contact the animal control in the area where the animal is located. Lee stated only one complaint has come from a cyclist since October 2015.
- If the incident occurs in Spartanburg City or Spartanburg County, Lee Raines asked to also email him the information so he can follow-up.
- Click here for the link to the city of Spartanburg animal services
- Click here for the link to the County of Spartanburg animal services.
- You can easily search for other animal control organizations.
- The owner is responsible for the animal’s actions, so animal control can issue a citation and take the animal if it is seen off the property.
- Follow up – so the incident is not dropped.
- Harassment by individuals: different levels of harassment bring different levels of punishment. Being hit by an object brings worse punishment than verbal taunting. The key again is documentation. On-board cameras are very good.
- Here it is important if you have enough information to call 911 at the time of the incident, the police may be able to locate the offender. If the offender is located and punishment is handed out, the case will probably in up in court and you will be required to go if you wish charges to be upheld.
Rail Trail Etiquette:
- Be like a car on the trail, yield to the slower. Stop at the road crossings.
- Shout “on your left”. Many runners and walkers do wear earbuds – which makes it more difficult.
- Be mindful of dogs on leashes – surprising them.
- Speed limit signs are in the works.
Finally – Police ourselves, present a good image to others we encounter.
Below is an incident that happened on a recent Freewheelers ride. As you can see, it can happen quickly and without warning.