City of Greenville Animal Control Ordinance allows search and seizure of dogs

June 3, 2014

Updated June 5 The race is on to save Brown Suga. People are headed in from out of state in an effort to stop her execution. We only have a few hours left to save her. Brown Suga is fully sponsored. Please keep her in your thoughts these next two hours, which may be all the time she has left.

There are a few ordinances for the city of Greenville that are detrimental to the welfare of animals. If the law is followed as written, many more animals are at risk of being killed at the order of Greenville City Animal Control.

This article will tell how the City of Greenville Animal Control seized five dogs and possibly violated city ordinance Sec. 12-2-14 when three dogs were killed last week. Or perhaps they didn’t. Please read on.

Three foster dogs being kept in the city by Ashley Masters are now dead after being seized. Ashley is a foster mom of pit bulls she saved from death row at Greenville County Animal Care Services. A neighbor placed a complaint call to the City of Greenville Police Department last week, and animal control paid a visit to her home.

Ashley had eight dogs in her care, five of them being foster dogs. Animal Control thought she was a breeder. When told she was a foster, AC allegedly said any animal under her care for more than 10 days was considered legally hers. This could pose a problem for any foster within the city limits.

Five of the dogs were seized. Brown Suga, Bella, Aretha, Vinno and Blanket. This is Ashley’s story.

“On May 29, ACO pulled up at my house, lights blinking, and said give up all dogs but your three personal dogs. So my husband called me. I told ACO I had 4 personal dogs because I had adopted Aretha after 2 years of being tossed around in the system. ACO said no, I could only keep what was originally mine. So Aretha, Vinno and Blanket, Bella and Brown Suga went. My husband had to cram them in crates. They were rebelling. They knew what this meant.”

Aretha, Vinno and Blanket are dead, deemed vicious and seized by the City of Greenville Animal Control. Despite them technically being owned by someone else(Greenville County Animal Care Services), all were killed. All also had someone who would have taken them in to another home to foster them.

I’m unsure whether the shelter had any input into this tragedy. Did they try to save Aretha, Vinno and Blanket, or did they back up the decision made by City Animal Control?

Bella is now safe and out of the shelter. Ashley feels Brown Suga is being held hostage. She was supposed to be allowed out today to a foster or adopter, but it’s uncertain what’s taking place since she wasn’t allowed to leave.

A lot of people have been asking how this can happen. Can an animal control officer come into your home and remove your pets at will? Yes they can. Here are the laws that applied to the seizure of Ashley’s foster dogs.

Sec. 12-2-5. Right of animals control officer to enter for inspections, etc.
(a) Whenever it is necessary to make an inspection to enforce any of the provisions of or perform any duty imposed by this chapter, or other applicable law, or whenever the animal control officer or his authorized representative has reasonable cause to believe that there exists in any building or upon any premises any violation of the provisions of this chapter or other applicable law, the animal control officer or his authorized representative is hereby empowered to enter such property at any reasonable time to inspect the same and perform any duty imposed upon the animal control officer or his representative by this chapter or other applicable law, but only if the consent of the occupant or owner or the property is freely given or a search or inspection warrant is obtained as hereafter provided

If permission isn’t given to enter the home, animal control has the legal right, according to city ordinance, to get a warrant. City of Greenville Animal Control officer also has the right to conduct door to door checks to ensure dogs are licensed.

Section 12-2-14 Vicious/dangerous animals
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person(s) to own, keep, have charge of, shelter, feed or harbor any vicious or dangerous animal within the city limits. OFFENSES AND PUBLIC NUISANCES 12-17
(b) The Animal Control Division of the Greenville Police Department shall enforce this section, and it shall be the duty of the Animal Control Division Supervisor to initially determine if an animal is “vicious” or “potentially dangerous” in accordance with this section.

If an animal that has been declared “vicious” or if an animal has been declared “potentially dangerous” under this section, attacks, or bites a person or domesticated animal without provocation, the animal control supervisor will direct the animal be confiscated and the animal will be deemed “vicious” and will be confiscated by the Animal Control Division. The animal will then be placed in quarantine, if necessary, for the proper length of time, or impounded and held for ten (10) business days after the owner is given written notification. If no action is taken by the owner of the animal within the time prescribed, then the animal will be humanely destroyed in a manner prescribed by law.

As the ordinance reads, Aretha, Vinno, and Blanket could have been held for 10 business days so the owner could do what was necessary to save their lives. Animal Control had already said Ashley was considered the owner.

But legally, the dogs were ‘owned’ by Greenville County Animal Care Services, and were fostered and not owned by Ashley.

Since Ashley had recently adopted Aretha, can she seek compensation against Greenville County Animal Control for not placing the 10 day legal hold on a dog she now owned legally?

Which brings us to the big question. Who gave the order for these three dogs to be killed?

According to city ordinance, Ashley should be able to pursue Aretha’s death through legal means. Except she’s now in hiding with her three remaining dogs for not turning them over to animal control and for not paying a fine resulting from this situation. From what I’ve gathered, a warrant has been issued for her arrest.

Ashley, you have an army supporting your efforts to save these dogs. You’ve shown us that animal control can and will come in and remove any dog they claim is vicious. This practice could put any pit, Rottweiler or any other bully breed dog at risk of seizure by the city, followed by their execution.

This article will be updated, should more information become available.

Be sure to take a good look at the photo of Bella, photographed after she was released into foster/adoption by the shelter. She was injured during her stay. The wound is similar to the mark a lit cigarette would make.

To view the entire ordinance, Google City of Greenville Animal Control Ordinance. It’s a PDF file.




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