The best of “Ask a Lawyer”

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Charleston mourns the loss of renowned attorney David Ayler, who died at home on January 2, 2023 at the age of 41. For four years (2016 – 2022), David never missed an issue of our Carolina Tails magazine. His “Ask a Lawyer” column. He makes it a point to share sound pet legal advice with our readers in each issue. Here’s a look at some of the best questions and answers David has come up with. Our deepest condolences to David’s family and friends who miss him dearly, as well as the Charleston Animal Society.

question: I have a friend who has a very cute little dog. I don’t want to describe the dog because I don’t want my friend to know I’m writing this. My friend basically went online and registered her dog as a “service animal” even though she had no medical or emotional issues. He did it so he could take his dog to restaurants and go shopping! I’m worried that my friend is breaking the law, but I don’t want to say anything until I know for sure. What is your advice? Can he be fined or sent to prison? – Dawn, West Ashley

David Aylor: Dawn, I’ve actually heard of people doing this in the past which is very frustrating. While I don’t think he should go to jail, I definitely think he could face a fine. Beyond that, if a dog tries to harm someone while in an institution under the false pretense of being a service animal, it creates civil liability for itself.

question: Is there a leash law for cats in North Charleston? My friend says she was stopped and told she had to put her cat on a leash unless it was an “ear tip”. Any measure? -“No strings attached” Lisa, North Charleston

David Aylor: Lisa, yes, there is a cat leash law in North Charleston, and in fact, many municipalities in other areas have similar laws. While not commonly enforced, animal control officials can issue you a ticket for a cat on the run. We’re told you’ll probably get a warning before any tickets. (Feral or free-roaming cats that are “tipped,” meaning they’ve been spayed or neutered, are usually exempt from enforcement.)

But, the law is the law, and in North Charleston, your cat technically must be on a leash outside. Typically, your cat will only notice animal control if a neighbor complains or if your cat is constantly getting into trouble around the block. Being cited is not a funny thing. You could be fined $1,092 or spend 30 days in jail! If it stops you, remember to be polite and respectful and make your case in court—not on the street, where your anger can work against you.

question: My dog ​​was bitten by another dog. Veterinary costs are astronomical. what can i do – Mark, Mount Pleasant

David Aylor: Mark, if the dog bite occurred on public property, you can still recover. But depending on the situation, it may be more difficult. Your recovery is done through the owner’s insurance policy. If the damage occurred at his home, you may be able to recover from his homeowner’s policy. If all else fails, you can take the owner to small claims court for damages.

question: My dog ​​chases cats and recently almost ran into a cat from down the street crossing our yard. If my dog ​​injures a cat on our property, who is responsible for the cat’s injuries? – Mark, Mount Pleasant

David Aylor: Mark, you probably won’t be liable for the cat’s injuries because the cat trespassed on your property. Many municipalities, including Charleston, prohibit animals from running free. Specifically, the Charleston Municipal Code

Sec. 4-5 states that no person in possession of an animal shall permit the animal to wander or in any manner escape within or upon the property of another, unless the animal is physically restrained or restrained until permitted. to give An animal to be controlled

By allowing the cat to roam freely, your neighbor is putting himself at risk of this type of incident, and in addition, is in violation of local restriction laws that impose fines for non-compliance.