State lawmaker: ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws should cover animal attacks
by The Associated Press | December 26, 2017 11:21 am
A South Carolina legislator from Charleston is looking to ensure that hunters and other residents don’t face criminal charges should they kill an animal that attacks them.
Sen. Chip Campsen has sponsored a ‘Stand Your Ground’ law for animals for the 2018 Legislative Session. The law, if passed, would prevent wildlife officers from charging someone with killing an animal out of season or without a license if they are acting in self-defense. The law would also require anyone who killed an animal in self-defense to report the incident immediately and turn over the remains of the animal to the state Department of Natural Resources.
Presently, Campsen said he’s never heard of any resident facing such prosecution, but said he filed his bill after discovering the gap in state law while researching other legislation.
“It’s not clear in state law,” Campsen, R-Isle of Palms, told The Post and Courier of Charleston. “There’s no provision for self-defense if people violate game laws if someone’s caught in that situation.”
DNR Legislative Liaison Mike Sabaka said, however, he has heard of such a scenario: A deer hunter killed a bear that was climbing toward his tree stand.
“Wildlife attacks on people are rare in South Carolina in large part because few animals native to the state are big enough to take on a human,” Sabaka said.
Still, Sabaka said the agency supports Campsen’s bill “because it puts the department’s practice of not prosecuting people into state law.”