Aiken representative promises puppy mill legislation

Alleged puppy mill raid
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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Sept. 24, 2012

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. -- A few horses, some mother dogs and about 30 ducks and geese are just a fraction of the almost 300 animals surrendered by Callie Abel, the Edgefield County woman who pleaded guilty to seven counts of ill treatment of animals last week.

"In my opinion, the penalty did not fit the crime. I've seen these dogs. I've seen these animals. They were seriously abused," said Rep. Bill Taylor, R-Aiken.

Rep. Taylor watched on Monday as the Aiken Equine Rescue picked up its share of animals to hopefully adopt out.

"They look much more nourished and better than they once did, but still, this is just wrong," he said.

Taylor says it happens in South Carolina because of a simple reason.

"There are no laws on the books in South Carolina to regulate and inspect puppy mills -- the commercial puppy mills," he said.

South Carolina is one of the more than 20 states that don't. That's why Taylor and the Aiken SPCA are working on a puppy mill bill.

"The purpose of the legislation we're proposing is to have local animal control in a county or the Sheriff's Office go do spot inspections maybe twice a year," he said.

And Taylor says the bill would bring serious penalties to puppy mill owners who abuse their animals.

But, he says, the bill wouldn't extend the government's reach. It won't go after small kennels and other family breeders.

"You can't produce a bill that punishes the masses for the crimes of a few. Let's focus on the few and get them right," Taylor said.

Nine of the rescued horses will be taken to Aiken Equine Rescue. To visit the rescue website, click here. The Aiken Equine Rescue is at 532 Glenwood Drive Aiken, SC 29803. To call the rescue, dial (803) 643-1850.

The Aiken SPCA will be picking up 33 dogs and a parrot on Tuesday. The dogs will be be brought back to the shelter, spayed/neutered and put up for adoption as early as Friday. For the Aiken SPCA website, click here. The SPCA is at 401 Wire Road, Aiken, SC 29801. To call the SPCA, dial (803) 648-6863.

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