Columbia, SC (WLTX) - One South Carolina couple is wondering if they will have to pay over $3,000 in citations even after their dog was mistakenly put down by the Columbia Animal Shelter.
Last week, their dog Tyson escaped their backyard and the couple lost their dog. The owners say Richland County Animal Control picked up the dog and took him to the shelter and they were given three tickets.
"He issued me three citations for a total around $3,300. One for running at large, one for not registered in the county, and one for prohibited acts," said the owner of the pet, Jeff Stahl.
Many people that commented on a Facebook post Wednesday said they didn't know they had to register their pet with the county.
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WLTX checked other parts in the Midlands and found that Newberry, Lexington, Calhoun, and Orangeburg don't require your cats or dog to be registered. Richland County and the city of Columbia requires owners to do so.
James Hill with animal control says it's important to register your pets.
"It gives us a number count of how many pets are in the county and it also provides the community with the assurance that the pets are vaccinated against rabies," said Hill.
Inside Richland county, if your pet is non-fertile, your fee is $4.21 and for one that is fertile, your fee is $21.07. In the city of Columbia, non-fertile is $5 and fertile is $25. The consequences for not paying will add up.
"They are subject to a fee or a maximum fee of $1,870.50. That's actually an assessment fee plus the final amount or 30 days in jail," said Hill.
The question now is will Jeff Stahl and Abby Frotten have to pay the registration citation along with the other tickets even after the shelter put down their dog.
"I will say in general practice that if we pick up an animal and a citation for an animal and the animal is deceased or dies before the court case, we generally dismiss the charges."
Hill says the city will need to look at the case and make sure the dog did not hurt anyone. It is possible that animal control will drop the charges and the couple may not have to pay anything at all.