(A)   If a complaint has been filed with Newberry County Animal Care and Control or through Newberry County Sheriff's Office regarding the welfare of an animal(s), or if the agency or the Sheriffs Department has reason to believe that a violation of this chapter is occurring, or has occurred, the Sheriff's deputies and/or Animal Control Officers have the right and the duty to investigate such complaints, and to seek permission from the person in charge of such premises to enter the portion of the premises where the violation is believed to exist and investigate the complaint, so long as they do not violate any law against trespassing. Provided however, that an offense that is in plain view from a place where an officer has a right to be may be investigated without the owner's permission, in accordance with state law. Complaints are not public records and the complainant is not to be revealed except upon court order.
   (B)   If an illegal condition is believed to exist, but not in plain view, and if further investigation is required and consent can not be obtained to come on to the premises to perform the investigation, a search warrant may be applied for and obtained from a court of competent jurisdiction.
   (C)   Search warrants shall be served by duly commissioned law enforcement officers, who may be accompanied during any such search by employees of Newberry County Animal Care and Control. In exigent circumstances, and to the extent necessary to avoid needlessly endangering the lives and safety of the public or the officers, law enforcement officers and/or the employees of Newberry County Animal Care and Control are authorized to enter premises without express permission and to take such action as may be reasonably necessary to abate the dangerous condition believed to be then and there existing.
   (D)   All officers investigating violations of this chapter or any state law relating to animals or otherwise, or who observe a violation while on other lawful business, have the full protection of S.C. Code § 47-3-770, as amended, and are considered to lawfully be on a person's premises if they meet the provisions of that code section.
   (E)   Any officer investigating the report of an animal biting a human being, and upon reasonably establishing that an animal inflicted such a bite, shall have the right to impound the animal which is identified to the officer as having inflicted the bite, and to place the animal in quarantine for the period required by state law, or within 5 days, to seek an order from the court concerning its disposition. The owner, if known, shall be notified of such impoundment by leaving a written notice on the front door of the dwelling place on the property of the owner, or by such other method as is customarily employed to give actual notice to an individual of a taking. Telephonic notice may be used to supplement written notice of the impoundment.
(Ord. 10-32-05, passed 10-5-2005)