Courtesy Charleston Animal Society

In the state’s largest animal seizure to date, 400 neglected animals were taken from a Laurens County property where investigators suspected a cockfighting operation. Horses, dogs and pigs were also found malnourished and without access to food or water. Charleston Animal Society deployed teams to assist in the seizure. Five people have been arrested in connection to the case. More: WCSC, Greenwood Index-Journal, WSPA

In other headlines:

Western wildfire smoke comes to South Carolina. Areas north of Abbeville, Columbia and Myrtle Beach are experiencing lower visibility from potentially dangerous smoke caused by wildfires in the western United States and Canada. Health officials warned of problems for people with chronic heart and lung diseases and advised staying inside. More: AP News, The Rock Hill Herald

So about that virus. It’s ramping it up. South Carolina health officials reported Wednesday there were 462 confirmed new cases of the coronavirus and 252 probable new cases. So far, 8,700 people in the state have died from the disease. There have also been only 543 breakthrough cases among vaccinated individuals. Nationwide, cases have tripled in two weeks. Here at home, the MUSC Children’s Hospital doctors are warning that their ICU is “beyond full” and there are records showing Gov. Henry McMaster ignored health official requests not to life mask mandates. Oh, and for some reason nearly everyone stopped wearing masks at Myrtle Beach’s airport. More: The Post and Courier, AP News

Columbia attorney tapped for U.S. ambassador to Slovenia. It’s not just Republican presidents who have friends in South Carolina. Democratic President Joe Biden is picking ambassadorships and has doled one out to the wife of his longtime friend S.C. Sen. Dick Harpootlian. Jamie Harpootlian, a Columbia attorney, has been nominated as ambassador to Slovenia. More: The State, The Washington Post 

Increase in robocalls in S.C. reported to FCC. The S.C. Department of Consumer Affairs submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission seeking a new rule targeting robocalls. If approved, the rule would shorten the time small service providers have to use tools to prevent spoofing and block robocalls. More: Orangeburg Times & Democrat

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