The sometimes malicious dispute about hunting dogs running loose edged closer to a resolution Wednesday, when lawmakers agreed to advance a tougher law against vandals. At issue before a South Carolina Senate panel was how to punish people who remove or destroy the electronic collar or device a hunter has placed on a hunting dog. The Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee approved the bill, H. 3372, to make it a misdemeanor amid questions about the problem it targets. Rep. Bill Hixon, R-North Augusta, the bill's sponsor, said he was told by a colleague about a Myrtle Beach man who prides himself on removing hunting dogs' electronic collars, placing the devices in plastic bags and floating them down a river. The dog owners chase the signal, thinking they are drawing closer to their missing dogs.