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Lancaster County Ordinances and South Carolina State Law pertaining to animals: 


Ordinances and laws are enforced by Lancaster County Animal Control.  Animal Control is a division of Lancaster County Sheriff Office.


If you have a complaint concerning domestic animals, please call 803-283-3388, select option 4.  This includes but is not limited to animals at large, vicious animals, maltreatment of animals, animal abuse, animal bites, etc. 


Questions concerning farm animal locations (neighborhoods, county districts, etc.) are handled by Lancaster County Zoning Dept.  Please contact them at 803-285-1969.

Dangerous Animals


If you encounter an animal that appears to be dangerous, please contact the Lancaster County Sheriff's office directly at 803-283-3388 option 4 and request that an Animal Control Officer be dispatched. 

Dangerous Animals

Leash Laws


Leash laws apply to all Lancaster, South Carolina City and County residents:


a)   The owner/custodian shall keep his pet under restraint at all times.
(b)   Invisible fencing must be clearly marked and labeled (i.e. sign on mailbox post, freestanding sign, etc.).
(c)   No pet shall be permitted to be off the land where the owner resides, or on other private property with that property owner's permission, unless on a leash at all times.
(d)   No person owning or harboring or having the care or the custody of a dangerous animal may permit the animal to go unconfined on his premises. A dangerous animal is unconfined if the animal is not confined securely indoors or confined in a securely enclosed fence or securely enclosed and locked pen or run area upon the person's premises. The pen or run area must be clearly marked as containing a dangerous animal and must be designed to prevent the entry of the general public, including children, and to prevent the escape or release of the animal. The animal must not be removed from such building or enclosure unless the pet is securely muzzled and under restraint on a leash, bridle, or another device of sufficient strength to handle the animal and requiring a person to control the animal; the person using such restraint must be at least eighteen (18) years of age and physical size or ability to reasonably restrain the animal.

Leash Laws

Chained or Tethered Dogs


Dogs should not be kept on chains, ropes, leads or tethered outdoors in any fashion for extended periods of time. It's not healthy for them, creates stress from isolation and the inability to play and is just a miserable existence. The practice of tethering a dog for hours, days, weeks, even years on end is a pervasive form of animal cruelty. We urge you to to keep your pets inside, safe from predators, disease, ticks and fleas, and the elements. However, if you need to keep a pet tethered, the chain or rope must be a minimum of 10' (ten feet) in length, the pet must have access to shelter (see proper shelter information below), shade and water. 

If you have witnessed an animal kept outdoors and these requirements have not been met, please contact Animal Control at the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office at 803-283-3388 option 4 to report the situation and request a welfare check for the animal. Please be prepared with the exact address or location of the animal.

Chained Animals

Proper Shelter is Required for all animals


For instance, shelter should have sides with a roof and floor. It should be large enough for the animal to stand up and turn around, but small enough so the animal's body heat will keep them warm.

The shelter has to protect them from the elements.

Bedding material should be maintained and replaced as needed. For outside animals, cedar shavings or pine straw is your best bet. All animals left outside unattended for a period of time must have shelter available and shade so that direct sunlight can not cause harm to the animal. 

Proper Shelter

Abandonment and Maltreatment


If you are a witness to an act of animal abuse, abandonment or have information about suspected cruelty or maltreatment including suspected dog-fighting, please contact the Lancaster County Sheriff's Department at 803-283-3388, select option 4. Please be sure to have the exact address of the location you are reporting. You should also call this number to report animals at large (strays), vicious animals, neglect, animal abuse, animal bites, etc.  Animal Control is a function of the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office and is completely separate from the shelter. 

Abandonment & Maltreatment
Exotic Animals

Exotic Animals



Sec. 6-51.  Definition of exotic animals: Exotic animal means those species of animals that are exotic to humans. Exotic animals include, but are not limited to:

(1)   Class Mammalia.
a.   Order Artiodactyla (only hippopotamuses and giraffes).
b.   Order Carnivora (only those specified below).

2.   Family Canidae (only wolves, coyotes and jackals), to include any crossbred animals with domesticated dogs, hereinafter referred to as hybrids, provided that any hybrid animal legally possessed in Lancaster County on or before July

1.   Family Felidae [(all species except domestic cats) this includes lions, tigers, cougars, leopards, lynx, ocelots, servals].
2008 may remain with the current owner. No sale or transfer of the hybrid shall be permitted. Any birth of hybrid animals shall be transported outside the boundaries of the county after a normal weaning period as determined by animal control.1,

3.   Family Ursidae (all bears).

4.   Family Hyaenidae (hyenas).

5.   Such other carnivores as may be defined in § 47-5-20(1) of the South Carolina Code of Laws.

c.   Order Perissodactyla (only rhinoceroses).
d.   Order Primates (only gorillas).
e.   OrderProboscidae (elephants).

a.   Order Squamata (
(2)   Class Reptilia.
varanidae family animals specified below).
b.   Family Varanidae (only water monitors and crocodile monitors).
c.   Order Crocodilia (such as crocodiles, alligators, caimans, gavials, etc.) all species.only

(3)   Any venomous reptile.
(Ord. No. 897, 5-5-08)


Sec. 6-52.  Prohibition.
It shall be unlawful to keep, maintain, or have in his or her possession or control within the unincorporated portion of Lancaster County any exotic animal as defined herein.
(Ord. No. 897, 5-5-08)


Sec. 6-53.  Penalty for violation of article.
Any person convicted of refusing to comply with the provisions of this article or violating any of the provisions hereof shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined and/or imprisoned as provided for in section 1-10 of the Lancaster County Code of Ordinances for each offense. Lancaster County Animal Control may take immediate possession of an exotic animal and transfer the exotic animal to a rescue group outside of Lancaster County.
(Ord. No. 897, 5-5-08)



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