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Animal Ordinance

CHAPTER 81: ANIMALS

GENERAL PROVISIONS

81.01 Livestock, fowl to be confined
81.02 Location of pens and stalls
81.03 Pens and stalls to be sanitary
81.04 Dangerous or offensive animals
81.05 Abuse of animals
81.06 Bird sanctuary

CATS, DOGS, AND FERRETS

81.10 Running at large prohibited
81.11 Capture, confinement
81.12 Excessive Barking
81.13 Vicious dogs
81.14 Molesting, teasing dogs prohibited
81.15 Vaccination of dogs, cats, and ferrets.
81.17 Number of pets limited
81.18 Commercial breeding, etc. of animals prohibited
81.19 Location and visibility of dog lots
81.20 Confinement of all biting dogs, cats, and ferrets
81.21 Destruction or confinement of animals bitten by rabid animals
81.50 Enforcement of subchapter
81.99 Penalty

GENERAL PROVISIONS

(81.01) Livestock, fowl to be confined

All persons owning chickens or other fowl, horses, cow, or pigs shall keep them on their own lots and penned or confined in such way as not to interfere with the premises of another. Penalty, see 81.99 (a)

(81.02) Location of pens and stalls

It is unlawful for any person to keep or maintain hogs, pigs, horses, or cattle within the corporate limits of the town unless such animals, or their pens or stalls, are located at least 500 feet from any other person’s residence. Penalty, see 81.99 (b)

(81.03) Pens and stalls to be sanitary

All persons owning, having, or keeping hogs, chickens, or cattle shall be required to keep their stables, hog pens, chicken lots, and other land around their premises clean and in a thoroughly sanitary condition within the corporate limits of the town. Any person failing to keep his premises in such sanitary condition shall be notified by the town authorities, and if the unsanitary condition is not corrected at once, such person, upon conviction in a court of competent jurisdiction, shat be punished in accordance with 81.99 (a)

(81.04) Dangerous or offensive animals

No person shall maintain or harbor with the town limits any animal dangerous to persons or to property, or offensive to the senses, except by written authorization of the Board of Alderman. Penalty, see 81.99(c)

(81.05) Abuse of animals

It shall be unlawful for any person to physically torture or abuse any animal. Penalty, see 81.99(c)

DEFINED

All animals shall be kept and treated under sanitary and humane conditions, and it is unlawful for any person to engage in one or more of the following acts:

(1)

Failure to provide adequate food. All animals, unless otherwise indicated in this chapter, must be given at suitable intervals, at least once in a 24-hour period, a quantity of wholesome foodstuff in a container suitable for the age and species of the animal and sufficient to maintain a healthful level of nutrition.

(2)

Failure to provide adequate water. All animals must have access to a supply of clean, fresh, potable water. If access is not constant, then adequate amounts of water must be provided at least twice in a 24-hour period.

(3)

Failure to provide adequate shelter. Animals must be provided with adequate shelter to reasonably protect them from the elements and from the weather at all times. It shall be within the discretion of animal services to determine what constitutes adequate shelter. This section does not apply to aquatic animals or livestock and other large animals which are normally pastured or otherwise live in the open. Examples of inadequate shelter include, but are not limited to, the following:

a.

Underneath outside steps, decks and stoops. b.
Underneath houses. c.
Inside or underneath motor vehicles. d.
Inside metal barrels.

e.

Inside cardboard boxes. f.
Inside temporary animal carriers or crates. g.
Shelters located in flood prone areas or areas that lack a suitable method of draining so as to eliminate excess water or moisture.

h.

Shelters surrounded by waste, debris, obstructions, or impediments that may endanger an animal.

(4)

Failure or refusal of an owner of a sick, diseased, or injured animal to provide proper medical treatment for the animal. The owner of an animal must provide the animal with adequate veterinary care and must take steps necessary to protect the health of the animal.

(5)

Animal cruelty. Examples of animal cruelty include, but are not limited to, the following: a.
Allowing a collar, rope or chain to become embedded in or causes injury to an animal’s neck. b.
Allowing a choke or pinch collar to be used as a primary collar when the animal is left unsupervised.

c.

Allowing a dog or cat to be left outside in inclement weather or extreme temperatures without adequate shelter.

d.

Intentionally allowing animals to engage in a fight.

Allowing animals to live in unsanitary conditions. f.
Allowing animals to live in crowded conditions. g.
Failure or refusal to obtain medical treatment for an animal when in an animal control officer’s opinion treatment is needed.

h.

Trapping a dog or cat without the use of a recognized humane live animal trap. i.
Permitting any exhibit, function or activity where animals are being cruelly treated or animals run the risk of causing injury to the public or themselves. The animal services division shall have the authority to inspect and to close down public exhibits of animals which are part of fairs, carnivals, festivals, fundraising events, petting zoos and any other activity or function carried out in the county if it is determined that animals are being cruelly treated, abused or run the risk of causing injury to the public or themselves.

j.

Animals being confined to or restrained on the premises of a vacant or abandoned structure. k.
Failure to provide adequate drainage to prevent surface water from standing in the area where the animal is kept or restrained. It shall be within the discretion of animal services as to what constitutes adequate drainage.

(6)

Chaining or tethering an animal to a stationary object for a period of time or under conditions that an animal control officer deems harmful or potentially harmful to the animal. Examples of improper chaining or tethering include, but are not limited to, the following:

a.

Using a length or weight of a chain or other tether that is not appropriate for the size, weight, and age of the animal. Note: Under no circumstances should the weight of the tether exceed ten percent of the total body weight of the animal, but the tether must be of sufficient strength to prevent breakage.

b.

Using a chain or tether made of rope, twine, cord, or similar material, unless such chain or tether is sold commercially for the purpose of chaining or tethering an animal.

c.

Using a chain or tether that is less than ten feet in length and/or does not have swivels on both ends. All chains or tethers must be attached to the animal by means of a properly fitting harness or collar of not less than one inch in width.

d.

Allowing an animal to be chained or tethered such that the animal is not confined to the owner’s property, or the chain or tether can become entangled and prevent the animal from moving about freely, lying down comfortably or having access to adequate food, water and shelter.

e.

Using a chain as a primary collar. All collars used for the purpose of chaining or tethering an animal must be made of nylon or leather.

(7)

Leaving an animal in a closed vehicle, etc. Leaving an animal in a closed vehicle or other enclosure for such duration or at such temperatures as an animal control officer deems harmful or potentially harmful to the animal.

(8)

Failure or refusal to report injured domestic animals.

a.

All persons who injure a domestic animal by running over, into or otherwise coming into contact with an animal with an automobile, motorcycle, bicycle or other vehicle must notify the owner of the animal immediately.

b.

If the owner is unknown, the person who injured the animal must immediately notify animal services through the 911 center by giving his or her name and address, a description of the animal and the location of the incident.

(81.05.01) An animal control officer may undertake one or more of the following when a person fails or refuses to abide by or otherwise violates this article:

(1)

Obtain a magistrate’s order to take possession of the animal. (2)
Immediately seize the animal if the conditions pose an immediate threat to the health or safety of the animal or the public. A notice of seizure describing the exigent circumstances warranting the seizure will be left with the owner or affixed to the premises.

(3)

Issue a written notice of violation directing the owner or possessor of the animal to correct the problem within 72 hours, in lieu of subsection (1) or (2) above, if it is determined by the animal control officer that the animal is not in immediate danger, or the problem which gives rise to the inadequate treatment or abuse can be corrected within 72 hours. If the condition or problem is not corrected within 72 hours, the animal control officer may take action as outlined in subsection (1) or (2) above.

(4)

Issue a civil penalty for violation of any provision of this section in accordance with 81.99. (5)


Obtain a criminal summons or warrent

(81.06) Bird Sanctuary

(a)
The entire area within the town’s corporate limits is designated as a bird sanctuary.

(b)
It shall be unlawful to trap, hunt, shoot, or attempt to shoot or molest in any manner any bird or wild fowl, or to rob bird nests or wild fowl nests. However, if starlings, pigeons, or similar birds are found to be congregating in such numbers in a particular locality that they constitute a nuisance or menace to health or property in the opinion of the authorities of the town, the birds may be destroyed by or under the supervision of the Chief of Police. Penalty, see 81.99(c)

CATS, DOGS, AND FERRETS

(81.10) Running at large prohibited

(a)
It shall be unlawful for the owner of a cat or dog, to permit the cat or dog to be off the premises of the owner and not under control either by leash, cord, chain, or by some other mechanical device whereby the cat or dog is physically held under the immediate control of the owner or other responsible person who is placed in chare of the such cat or dog.

(b)
For the purposes of this section, “owner” shall include any person owning, keeping, or harboring a cat or dog. Penalty, see 81.99(c)

(81.11) Capture; confinement

All cats or dogs within the corporate limits of the town which are found funning at large without being under control as defined by 81.10 shall be captured by the duly authorized personnel of the town and confined in the Catawba County animal shelter to be confined and disposed of as provided by the ordinances of the county.

(81.12) Excessive barking

It shall be unlawful for the owner of a dog or the owner of premises wherein a dog is kept within the town to keep a dog that habitually and repeatedly barks in such a manner or to such an extent that it becomes a public nuisance. Penalty, see 81.99(c)

(81.13) Vicious dogs

It shall be unlawful for any person to own, keep, have charge of, shelter, fee, harbor, or take care of any vicious dog within the corporate limits of the town.

(b)
For the purposes of this section, a “Vicious dog” is any dog which has bitten one or more persons, or a dog which has shown on at least two or more occasions a propensity to attack human beings and such propensity is known or reasonable should be known to the owner. Penalty, see 81.99(c)

(81.14) Molesting, teasing dogs prohibited

It shall be unlawful for any person to treat, molest, bait, or in any way bother any dog not belonging to him or legally under his control, unless the dog is the act of injuring the property or person. Penalty, see 81.99(c)

(81.15.01) Vaccination of dogs, cats, and ferrets.
It shall be unlawful for an animal owner or other person to fail to comply with the state laws relating to the control of rabies.


(a)
It shall be unlawful for an owner to fail to provide current vaccination by a licensed veterinarian or
certified rabies vaccinator against rabies for any dog, cat or ferret four months of age or older. Should it be deemed necessary by the local health director or the state public health veterinarian that other
animals be vaccinated in order to prevent a threatened epidemic or to control an existing epidemic, it shall be unlawful for an owner to fail to provide current inoculation by a licensed veterinarian or certified rabies vaccinator against rabies for that animal.
(b)
An animal shall be considered current only after 28 days have passed after the initial rabies vaccination or the current vaccination has not expired.

(81.15.02) Vaccination Tags

(c)

The person who administers a rabies vaccine must issue a rabies vaccination tag to the owner of the animal. The rabies vaccination tag must show the year issued, a vaccination number, the words “North Carolina” or the initials “N.C.” and the words “rabies vaccine.”

(d)

Dogs must wear a collar or harness with a rabies vaccination tag at all times, unless the dog is confined in a secure enclosure. Upon determining that a dog is not wearing a rabies vaccination tag and the owner cannot promptly display a valid rabies vaccination tag, the animal control officer may issue a written warning instructing the owner to display the rabies vaccination tag or to have the dog vaccinated. If an additional violation of this article occurs after the owner of the dog has been issued a written warning, the dog shall be impounded and the owner shall be subject to a civil and or criminal penalty as indicated in 81.99

(81.15.03) Cats and Ferrets

Cats and ferrets shall not be required to wear the rabies vaccination tag referred to in 81.15.02, but the owner of a cat or ferret must maintain the rabies vaccination certificates as written evidence to prove that the cat or ferret has a current rabies vaccination. Upon determining that the owner of a cat or ferret cannot promptly provide the rabies vaccination certificate, the animal control officer may issue a written warning instructing the owner to provide the rabies vaccination certificate or to have the cat or ferret vaccinated. If an additional violation of this article occurs after the owner of the cat or ferret has been issued

written warning, the cat or ferret shall be impounded, and the owner shall be subject to a civil penalty as indicated in 81.99.

(81.17) Number of pets limited

No person shall keep more than three domestic pets of anyone species (dogs, cats, pot-bellied pigs, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, hamster, gerbils, rats, mice, other mammals generally considered as pets, birds, or any other animal generally considered a pet), over the age of four months, or a combined total of four domestic pets of differing species, over the age of four months, at any residence location within the town. This section shall not apply to fish or other aquatic animals kept within the confines of an aquarium or fish tank or pond. Penalty, see 81.99(c)

(81.18) Commercial breeding, etc. of animals prohibited

No person shall breed, train, or sell on a regular basis any species of animal for commercial purposes at, on or from an location within the town without having first obtained from the town a license to do so. No licenses shall be given to any person whose facility for breeding, training, or selling of animals within the town is situated on a lot or parcel consisting of less than two (2) acres and the lot or parcel must be surrounded with a continuous fence of at least six (6) foot tall. Penalty, see 81.99(c)

(81.19) Location and visibility of dog lots

No shelter, pen or lot for housing dogs or other animals shall be erected, located, kept, or maintained nearer to the front of the property upon which it is situated that the rearward most portion of any dwelling located there on nor within 50 feet of the front boundary line nor within 20 feet of the side and rear boundary lines of the property upon which it is situated. All shelters, pens or lots for the housing of dogs or other animals must be screened by solid fencing, trees, shrubbery or terrain so that such shelter, pen or lot is not visible form any residence other than the residence of the owner there of. Penalty, see 81.99

(81.20) Confinement of all biting dogs, cats and ferrets.

(a)

Every dog, cat or ferret which has bitten any person must be confined immediately and must be promptly reported to animal services in the Town. The dog, cat or ferret must be securely quarantined, at the direction of animal services for a period of ten calendar days and shall not be released from quarantine except by written permission from animal services.

(b)

At the expense of the owner, dogs, cats and ferrets quarantined under this section must be confined in the county animal shelter or an approved licensed veterinary hospital.

(c)

In the case of feral or stray dogs, cats or ferrets whose ownership is not known, the animal shall be quarantined for a minimum of 72 hours. If the owner has not been identified within 72 hours, the animal may be euthanized and sent for rabies testing.

(d)

If rabies symptoms do not develop within ten calendar days after a dog, cat or ferret is quarantined under this section, the animal may be returned to the owner.

(e)

If the dog, cat or ferret has been confined in the county animal shelter, all fees and costs associated with the care of the animal shall be paid by the owner at the time of redemption. Animals not redeemed within 24 hours of the ending date of confinement shall become the property of the county. Animal services is authorized to initiate legal proceedings to recover the costs of caring for an animal confined at the shelter pursuant to this section if the animal is not redeemed.

(81.21) Destruction or confinement of animals bitten by rabid animal.

(a)

If a dog, cat or ferret has a current rabies vaccination and is bitten by or exposed to a rabid or potentially rabid animal, the owner of the animal must get it a booster rabies vaccination within five days after contact with the possibly rabid animal. Animals are not considered vaccinated until the twenty-eighth day after the first vaccination.

(b)

If a dog, cat or ferret does not have a current rabies vaccination and is bitten by or exposed to a known rabid animal, animal services shall impound the animal.

(1)

If the animal suspected of having rabies is available for testing, the unvaccinated dog, cat or ferret bitten by or exposed shall be confined at the county animal shelter until rabies test results have been received. If the test results are negative, the animal can be returned to its owner. All fees shall be paid by the owner at the time of redemption. If the test results are positive or inconclusive, the unvaccinated dog, cat, or ferret may be euthanized. As an alternative to euthanization, the animal may be quarantined at a facility approved by the local health director for a period up to six months under reasonable conditions imposed by the local health director.

(2)

If the animal suspected of having rabies is not available for testing, the unvaccinated cat, dog or ferret shall be considered to have been exposed to rabies and may be euthanized.
Pursuant to G.S. 130A-197, as an alternative to destruction, the animal may be quarantined at a facility approved by the local health director for a period up to six months under reasonable conditions imposed by the local health director. The owner of the animal shall be responsible for the cost of quarantining the animal.

Failure to surrender animal for quarantine or destruction. (81.22)
(a)

It is unlawful for any person to fail or refuse to surrender any animal for quarantine or destruction as required in this article when demand is made by the animal services division.

Any person found guilty of violating this section shall be guilty of a class three misdemeanor and shall be fined pursuant to (NCGS 14-4)

81.50 Enforcement of subchapters

The Mayor is authorized and directed to employ such methods and means as he may deem necessary to implement and enforce this subchapter and to employ such personnel and make such expenditures as may be necessary in order to fully carry out the meaning and the intent of this subchapter.

81.99 Penalty

(a)

Any person found guilty of violating any sections of 81.01 or 81.03 shall be fined $50.00, pursuant to NCGS 14-4

(b)

Any person found guilty of violating 81.02 shall be fined $50.00, pursuant to NCGS 14-4

(c)

Any person found guilty of violating 81.04 through 81.22 shall be fined (per animal), pursuant to NCGS 14-4:
1st Offense $125.00
2nd Offense $180.00
3rd and all future offenses $350.00