Ask a Lawyer

Ask A Lawyer

No matter how much we love our pets, there’s always the chance they will run into a legal situation. Attorney David Aylor took time to answer questions from our readers in this edition of Ask a Lawyer.

QUESTION: I keep hearing that marijuana or CBD could be helpful for pets and pain as they age. My dog is 11 and I’d like to try it, but I’m worried I could get arrested. Any advice?
— Weedless for Now in Park Circle

DAVID AYLOR: Hi Weedless for Now in Park Circle, it is understandable to seek relief for pets as they age. However, due to its classification as an illegal substance in the State of South Carolina, possession of marijuana would cause you to be arrested. Conversely, although CBD is legal in some forms, it does have a variety of restrictions on its consumption and use. You should consult your veterinarian to find an acceptable treatment for your dog.

QUESTION: My neighbor recently adopted a dog. But within two weeks, I started getting worried over what I was seeing. The dog got a Urinary Tract Infection that she ignored, and the poor dog just sits outside chained up from 7am until about 8pm. I’m worried the dog is not getting basic needs met and does not have decent living conditions. What recourse do I have now to get the dog help?
— Worried Near Walterboro

DAVID AYLOR: Hi Worried Near Walterboro, sorry to hear that your neighbor’s dog may have found itself in less than ideal living conditions. The South Carolina legislature enacted provisions to assist animals living in these conditions. Title 47, Chapter 1, and Section 40 of the South Carolina Code contains statutes concerning, the “ill-treatment of animals.” This section states that, “a person who knowingly or intentionally…ill-treats an animal, deprives an animal of necessary sustenance or shelter…or by omission or commission knowingly or intentionally causes these acts to be done, is guilty of a misdemeanor…”

If you believe that your neighbor’s dog is being mistreated, try reporting the abuse or neglect to the Colleton County Animal and Environmental Control, by either calling 843.893.2651 or emailing If the Colleton County Animal and Environmental Control finds validity in the complaint, they will dispatch an officer to perform a welfare check and determine whether abuse or neglect is present.

QUESTION: Can my sister just take our family cat when she moves out? She asked my parents for a cat a few years ago, but then went away to college. I’ve been taking care of the cat ever since, except when she’s home on breaks. Now she’s threatening to take the cat with her when she graduates, and I’m so upset I can hardly sleep at night. I’m in the 9th grade. What rights do I have?

— Kitten Fever on Daniel Island

DAVID AYLOR: Hi Kitten Fever on Daniel Island, it is always tough to make decisions concerning living arrangements for family pets. However, as a minor your parents are responsible for the family pet. If your parents have agreed to allow your sister to take the family cat, there is not much you can do. Try speaking with your parents about your feelings concerning the family cat, and the possibility of either you or your sister getting another pet.

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