This page does not contain the entire City of Charlotte Animal Care & Control Ordinance.
Rather, it lists the sections of the ordinance that have most frequently been the subject of inquiry to the Stonehaven Community Patrol from residents of the Greater Stonehaven Area.
The most important sections of the ordinance based on inquiries from residents are:
3-61, which deals with the abandonment of an animal;
3-62, which deals with abusing animals;
3-63 & 3-66, which deal with animals biting / attacking people or other animals;
3-69, which deals with barking dogs disturbing neighbors, dogs destroying the property of neighbors, dogs repeatedly chasing, attacking, or snapping at joggers, walkers, bicyclists, or vehicles, and dog owners/walkers failing to pick up the feces of their dogs from the private property of another person or streets, sidewalks, gutters, or any public property.
3-101, which requires that all dog owners obtain a license from the City of Charlotte for their dogs and that all dogs be vaccinated against the rabies virus.
To read the entire City of Charlotte Animal Care & Control Ordinance, copy and paste the link below into your web-browser:
City of Charlotte, North Carolina, Code of Ordinances
Part 2, Chapter 3 – Animals; Article III. – Care, Control and prohibited or Restricted Acts
Section 3-61: Abandoned Animals
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person owning, possessing or harboring an animal to negligently or willfully abandon that animal.
(b) For the purposes of this section, animals shall be considered abandoned when the totality of the circumstances reasonably indicates that the owner, possessor, or harborer of the animal has negligently or willfully ceased to provide basic necessities for the animal with the intention to no longer care for the animal.
Section 3-62: Abuse of Animals
(a) Prohibited. It shall be unlawful if a person negligently or willfully:
(1) Fails to provide adequate food and/or water for any animal he owns, possesses, or harbors;
(2) Overworks or overdrives any animal causing physical pain, suffering or death;
(3) Beats, tortures, injures, torments, poisons or mutilates any animal causing physical pain, suffering or death;
(4) Fails to provide adequate medical attention for any sick, diseased or injured animal he owns, possesses, or harbors;
(5) Keeps any animal under unsanitary or inhumane conditions which are detrimental to the animal’s health and general welfare or fails to maintain a condition of good order and cleanliness which reduces the probability of transmission of disease;
(6) Teases, molests, or in any way bothers or harasses any animal;
(7) Sets any rabbit, hare, raccoon or other such animal loose for the purpose of chasing, hunting or having a race thereafter;
(8) Promotes, stages, holds, manages, conducts, carries on or attends any game, exhibition, contest, fight or combat between one or more animals or between animals and humans;
(9) Fails to provide an adequate shelter for an animal he owns, possesses, harbors, or encloses, wherein the animal can be protected from extremes of weather (heat, cold, rain, etc.) and allowed to remain dry and comfortable during inclement weather;
(10) Conveys any type of animal in a motor vehicle or in a wagon or trailer pulled by a motor vehicle or in a truck or the back of a truck without having such animal reasonably secured so as to prevent the animal from leaping or being thrown from the vehicle or in such a way as to cause pain, suffering, unreasonable discomfort or death to the animal;
(11) Places or confines an animal or allows an animal to be placed or confined in a motor vehicle under such conditions or for such a period of time as to endanger the health or well-being of such animal due to temperature, lack of food or drink, or such other conditions as may reasonably be expected to cause suffering, disability or death:
a. After making a reasonable effort to find the driver of a vehicle in which an animal is confined, an employee of the bureau, in the presence of a police officer, may use the least intrusive means to break and enter the vehicle if necessary to remove the animal where probable cause exists to believe that the animal is in the vehicle in violation of this subsection.
b. The officer removing the animal shall then impound it and leave in a prominent place on the motor vehicle a written notice of the animal’s impoundment, a brief description of the animal, and where and when the animal may be reclaimed. In addition, the officer may also use any other enforcement method authorized by section 3-33
c. So long as an animal is within sight of an employee of the bureau or a police officer, section 3-32 shall not be interpreted to require that any warrant be obtained before removing the animal so long as such removal is otherwise consistent with the United States Constitution.
(12) Fails to provide sufficient shade, when sunlight is likely to cause overheating and discomfort, to allow all animals kept outdoors to protect themselves from the direct rays of the sun; or
(13) Keeps animals outdoors without access to shelter to allow them to remain dry and comfortable during inclement weather.
(14) Keeps dogs in outdoor kennels used for the primary purpose of restraining dogs, where there is less than 50 square feet of kennel space per dog. Outdoor kennels shall be kept in a state of repair to prevent injury to the dog(s). Carriers, creates or other similar devices used for training or temporary housing shall only be utilized indoors. This requirement shall not apply to the housing of dogs whose primary purpose is hunting activities.
(b) Convictions. If a person has been criminally convicted twice of a violation of this section or of G.S. 14-360, G.S. 14-361, G.S. 14-361.1, G.S. 14-362 or G.S. 14-363 and any two such convictions have both occurred within the last five years preceding a request by such person for an animal license or permit, the animal license or permit request shall be refused. In that situation, the person shall be eligible to apply for an animal license permit five years after the date of the last criminal conviction.
(c) Euthanizing exception. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the bureau or veterinarians from euthanizing dangerous, unwanted, injured or diseased animals in a humane manner; nor to prohibit slaughterhouses or medical facilities from the proper, humane and lawful carrying out of their activities or duties.
(d) Pet shops. Animal control officers shall have the authority to conduct inspections of pet stores, to the extent not preempted by state law, in order to determine if there is any abuse of animals. Pet shops shall also be subject to the county ordinance for the control of rabies and other zoonoses as administered and enforced by the county health department. Abuse of animals shall include any act described in this section or any other act that is detrimental to the well-being of the animal. It shall be unlawful for any pet store employee or pet store owner to violate this section.
Section 3-63: Animal Bite
(a) It shall be unlawful for the owner, possessor, or harborer of an animal to negligently allow the animal to bite a human being, who does not ordinarily reside on the premises, unless the animal has been subject to provocation, or unless the victim has been trespassing, as defined in section 3-3
(b) It shall be unlawful for the owner, possessor, or harborer of an animal, or for the victim if the victim is reasonably physically able, to fail to report to the bureau or 911 as soon as possible that an animal has bitten a person. It shall be unlawful for any person knowing the location of such an animal to fail to inform the bureau of where the animal is located if the owner, possessor, or harborer has given the animal away or caused in any way the animal to be taken from his premises.
(c) If the bureau determines that a dog has bitten a human being, the bureau shall have the authority to require protective measures pursuant to section 3-135. The bureau shall have the authority to require the owner to file with the bureau signed, written affidavits, and receipts where applicable, affirming that any of such measures required by the bureau have been and will continue to be complied with. Any breach in compliance with such measures subjects the animal to seizure and forfeiture as provided in section 3-132
(d) The bureau manager shall have the authority to waive any or all of these requirements if the bureau manager determines that the bite is inconsequential.
Section 3-64: Aggression-trained Dogs
(a) Authority of bureau. The bureau shall have the authority to determine whether any individual or business entity is engaged in the aggression training of dogs. If the bureau makes such a determination, the individual or business entity must comply with the requirements of subsection (b) of this section.
(b) Registration; confinement. Individuals or business entities engaged in the aggression training of dogs or the owner, possessor or harborer of any aggression-trained dog must comply with the following:
(1) The individual, business entity, owner, possessor or harborer has a duty to provide registration information as required by the bureau as it pertains to aggression training of any kind of dogs.
(2) The individual or business entity has the duty to maintain a current registration of all dogs thus trained, including the current location or address of the dog, and that information shall be provided to the bureau upon the training of any such dogs.
(3) The bureau shall have the authority to inspect the premises engaged in aggression training and to observe training methods and the safety of facilities during the operating hours of the aggression-training facility.
(4) Aggression-trained dogs must be maintained in adequate confinement by anyone possessing them in any way. The bureau shall have the authority to require all aggression-trained dogs to be confined in a strong fence at least six feet high and, at the discretion of the bureau, topped by an anticlimb enclosure.
(c) Unlawful Acts: It shall be unlawful for any individual, business entity, owner, possessor or harborer to fail to comply with any of the requirements addressed to him by this section.
(d) Imposition of Preventive Measures: If the bureau determines that a dog has been aggression trained or trained for fighting or aggressive attack, the bureau shall have the authority to impose the same requirements stated in section 3-135
(e) Appeal: If the bureau determines that a dog has been aggression trained, or trained for fighting or aggressive attack, and the owner wishes to appeal that or the preventive measures imposed, the appeal shall be the same as that stated in section 3-134
Section 3-65: Guard Dogs
(a) License Tag; Signs: The owner, possessor, or harborer of a guard dog kept within the city for longer than is necessary to merely pass through the city shall comply with the following:
(1) Identification: It shall be unlawful for a guard dog kept in the city not to have a current guard dog license tag. Such license tag will supersede the need for any other city licensing tag. Before such a tag can be issued, there must be proof of rabies inoculation of the dog.
(2) Signs:The owner, possessor, harborer or user of any guard dogs or the owner of the premises employing the dogs must have posted on the premises a sign that identifies the name, address and telephone number of the owner of the security dogs.
(b) Escape:If a guard dog escapes and bites someone who is not a trespasser, the bureau manager shall have the authority to prohibit that dog from serving as a guard dog within the city. It shall be unlawful to use such a dog as a guard dog after the bureau manager has ordered that the dog shall not be used within the city as a guard dog.
(c) Enforcement: In addition to using any and all enforcement remedies stated in section 3-33, the bureau shall also have the following additional authority in respect to security dogs:
(1) If any security dog is seized running at large, the dog shall not be returned to the owner until the owner has obtained a guard dog license tag for that dog and any other guard dogs used or to be used in the city in accordance with subsection (a) of this section and is in complete compliance with all the requirements of subsection (a) of this section.
(2) If a security dog is found on the premises without complying with subsection (a) of this section, the bureau manager or his designee shall have the authority to issue a notice of prohibition letter that will prohibit the use of that dog as a security dog within the city, unless there is compliance with all of subsection (a) of this section within 48 hours. Such a notice of prohibition shall, at the same time, be given to the owner of the premises upon which the security dog is utilized. The owner of the premises shall be informed that the continued use of such a security dog on the premises is an unlawful act on the part of the owner in violation of this section. If such a dog remains on the premises after the 48 hours, it shall be an unlawful act on the part of the owner of the dog and on the part of the owner of the premises, and a citation may be issued to either or both of those individuals.
The bureau shall have the authority to seize guard dogs if there has not been compliance with this subsection or for the safety of the public, all in accordance with section 3-133.
Section 3-66: Biting or Attacking Animals
(a) It shall be unlawful for an animal that has bitten, attacked or threatened a human or animal to remain at large. Animal control officers shall have the authority to enter upon private property, including entry into a dwelling unit or other similar building, when the animal control officer has observed an animal which has committed the biting, attacking or threatening in violation of this section. Such entry upon private property shall not be deemed to be a trespass. Such entry is authorized so long as it is otherwise consistent with the state and United States Constitutions.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to interfere, to threaten or to otherwise prevent an animal control officer from carrying out and performing his lawful duties under this section.
Section 3-67: Animals at City-Sponsored Events
(a) Prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any person owning or having possession, charge, custody or control of any animal, as defined in section 3-3, to take that animal, whether on a leash or not on a leash, into or allow the animal to enter the boundaries of any city-sponsored public event unless such event is specifically designated as exempt from this section due to the event’s nature by the bureau manager or designee. The boundaries and the interior of a city-sponsored public event shall consist of any area that is part of the event and shall include any public street, sidewalk or other publicly owned area within that area.
(b) Failure to Remove Animal. It shall be unlawful for any person with an animal within the boundaries of a city-sponsored public event to fail to obey the command of a law enforcement officer or of an animal control officer to remove such animal from the event.
(c) Exception. This section shall not apply to the following:
(1) Those animals that are part of an authorized event exhibit. The bureau manager or his designee shall have the authority to specify the conditions for having such animals for the protection of the public and for the well-being of the animals.
(2) Guide dogs.
Section 3-68: Injuring Animals
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to intentionally strike an animal with an automobile or other vehicle.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person injuring or killing a domestic animal by striking it with an automobile or other vehicle to fail to notify the owner of the animal, if identification of the animal is available, or the bureau if no identification is possible.
Section 3-69: Nuisance
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to own, keep, possess or maintain an animal in such a manner as to constitute a public nuisance or a nuisance to neighbors. By way of example and not of limitation, the following acts or actions of an owner, harborer or possessor of an animal are hereby declared to be a public nuisance and are, therefore, unlawful:
(1) Having an animal that disturbs the rights of, threatens the safety of or injures a member of the general public or interferes with the ordinary use and enjoyment of his property;
(2) Permitting an animal to damage the property of anyone other than its owner, including, but not limited to, turning over garbage containers or damaging gardens, flowers or vegetables;
(3) Maintaining animals in an environment of unsanitary conditions or lack of cleanliness which results in offensive odor or is dangerous to the public health, welfare or safety, or failing to maintain a condition of good order and cleanliness which reduces the probability of transmission of disease;
(4) Maintaining property that is offensive, annoying or dangerous to the public health, safety or welfare of the community because of the number, type, variety, density or location of the animals on the property;
(5) Allowing or permitting an animal to bark, whine, howl, crow, cackle, or cause noise in an excessive, continuous or untimely fashion so as to interfere with the reasonable use and enjoyment of neighboring premises;
(6) Maintaining an animal that is diseased and dangerous to the public health;
(7) Maintaining an animal that habitually or repeatedly chases, snaps at, attacks or barks at pedestrians, joggers, dogs walked on a leash by owners, bicycles or vehicles;
(8) Failing to confine a female dog or cat while in season in a building or secure enclosure in such a manner that she cannot come into contact with another dog or cat or creates a nuisance by attracting other animals. However, this subsection shall not be construed to prohibit the intentional breeding of animals within an enclosed, concealed area on the premises of the owner of an animal which is being bred; or
(9) Failing to remove feces deposited by a dog on any public street, sidewalk, gutter, park or other publicly owned property or private property unless the owner of the property has given permission allowing such use of the property. This subsection shall not apply to visually impaired persons who have charge, control or use of guide dogs or persons using dogs in conjunction with activities of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
(b) It shall be the duty of anyone reporting an alleged nuisance under this section to reveal his identity to the bureau or the investigating law enforcement agency. Anonymous reports of alleged nuisances under this section shall not be investigated solely on the basis of the anonymous report.
(c) In addition to any other enforcement remedies available under this chapter, if the bureau manager shall declare an animal a nuisance under this section, the bureau manager has the authority to order the owner to confine the animal in accordance with section 3-135. It shall be unlawful for the owner to fail to comply with such an order or with the instructions in the order.
Section 3-71: Restraint of Animals
(a) Physical Restraint. It shall be unlawful for any person owning or having possession, charge, custody or control of any animal, excluding cats, to keep such animal on his own premises or off the premises, unless such animal is under sufficient physical restraint to controls the animal, or within a vehicle or adequately contained by a fence on the premises or other secure enclosure. If the physical restraint used is a leash requiring a person to control the animal, the person using such restraint must be of sufficient age and physical size or ability to reasonably restrain the animal. If the secure enclosure is an invisible fence system, then all components of the system must be in working order and in proper place. Additionally, there must be a visible, permanent sign on the premises stating that there is an invisible fence.
(b) Tethering. Dogs may be tethered to a stationary object only if conditions (1)—(9) are met:
(1) A tether shall be equipped with a swivel on both ends.
(2) A tether shall be a minimum of ten feet in length and shall be made of either metal chain or coated steel cable.
(3) Tethers shall be attached to a buckle-type collar or harness and under no circumstances shall the tether itself be placed directly around a dog’s neck. Tethers shall not be used in conjunction with training collars such as choke or pinch-style collars.
(4) The weight of the tether shall not exceed ten percent of the total body weight of the dog but shall be of sufficient strength to prevent breakage.
(5) The tether by design and placement shall allow the dog a reasonable and unobstructed range of motion without the possibility of entanglement, strangulation or other injury. The tether shall allow the dog access to adequate food, water and shelter.
(6) A dog must be four months of age or older to be tethered.
(7) Only one dog shall be attached to a single tether.
(8) Pulley systems, running lines, and trolley systems may be used in conjunction with a tether.
(9) Pulley systems, running lines or trolley systems shall be at least ten feet in length and no more than seven feet above the ground.
a. The line of the pulley system, running line or trolley system to which the tether is attached shall be made of coated steel cable.
b. No tether shall be affixed to a stationary object which would allow a dog to come within five feet of any property line.
(10) An animal control officer may in his/her discretion order a more restrictive tethering requirement if circumstances require and it is not detrimental to the health, safety or welfare of a dog.
(11) Exemptions. Citizens residing in townhomes, apartments, condos or similar multi-family housing units with lot sizes insufficient to meet the length and property line requirements specified in subsections (2), (8) and (9) above, may only tether dogs for temporary exercise and relief.
(c) Adult with animal on premises. If a responsible adult is physically outdoors, and immediately adjacent to the animal, on the land where the owner of the animal resides, and the animal is under the person’s direct control and is obedient to that person’s commands, this section shall not apply during the duration of the time the animal is in the company and under the control of that adult and the animal is on the premises. An adult is defined as a person 18 years of age or older.
(d) Public parks. It shall be unlawful for any person owning or having possession, charge, custody, or control of any dog to take the dog into or allow the dog to enter any public park without being at all times under the restraint of a leash, except while in designated off-leash areas, in accordance with the rules and regulations pertaining to such off-leash areas. This subsection shall not apply to the following:
(1) Parks that have been designated as leash-free parks by the governmental agency responsible for the park.
(2) Guide and hearing-aid dogs that are in the company of blind or deaf persons or being trained for such purposes.
(3) Dogs employed or hired by law enforcement agencies or by the governmental agency responsible for the park to perform a governmental purpose within the park.
Section 3-72: Harboring Stray Animals
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person, without the actual consent of the owner, to harbor, feed, keep in possession by confinement or otherwise have any animal which does not belong to him, unless he has, within 24 hours of the time the animal came into his possession, notified the bureau. Upon receiving such notice, the bureau may take the animal and deal with it as provided in section 3-131
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to refuse to surrender such an animal to an employee of the bureau upon demand.
Part 2, Chapter 3, Animals, Article IV – Licensing and Permits
Section 3-101: License and Rabies Tags Required
(a) License. It shall be unlawful for any dog, cat, or ferret owner, possessor or harborer who resides in the city to fail to provide their dog, cat, or ferret over four months of age with a current city license tag. The owner, possessor or harborer of any above-described animal must have their animal vaccinated and must have a current rabies vaccination tag showing that such animals have been vaccinated. No license will be issued unless proof of inoculation is shown. Any dog, cat, or ferret owner, possessor, or harborer who moves into the city for the purpose of establishing residency, or who becomes a resident as a result of annexation, shall have 30 days in which to obtain a license.
(c) Guard dog license. It shall be unlawful for any dog owner, possessor or harborer to bring a dog into the city to function as a guard dog without first obtaining a city guard dog license. Such license will supercede the normal dog license required by subsection (a).
(d) Rabies inoculation. It shall be unlawful for any person who owns, possesses, or harbors a dog, cat, or ferret not to have the animal inoculated against rabies.
(e) Rabies tag. It shall be unlawful for the owner, possessor, or harborer of any dog or cat in the city not to have the dog or cat wear the rabies vaccination tag issued to them by the veterinarian administering the rabies vaccine. It shall be unlawful for the owner, possessor, or harborer of any ferret in the city not to have in the owner’s possession the rabies vaccination tag issued to that person by the veterinarian administering the rabies vaccination. Dogs and cats not wearing such tags, and for which the owner cannot promptly display a valid rabies tag, may be impounded pursuant to Code section 3-44.
(f) Reclaim. If the bureau has lawfully acquired custody or control of an animal and the bureau has probable cause to believe that the animal does not have the lawfully required inoculation against rabies, then the bureau shall have the authority to inoculate the animal against rabies. The owner, possessor, or harborer of the animal shall not have the right to reclaim the animal until the owner, possessor, or harborer has paid the city for the cost of the rabies inoculation.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to own, to keep custody of or to take care of three or more dogs or cats or any combination of three dogs and cats or more, four months or older, which are frequently outside on the premises, unless the person has a special permit issued by the animal control bureau.
(b) If a person has three or more dogs or cats frequently outside on the premises, the bureau manager or his designee must make the following five findings in order to issue a special permit:
(1) Noise from the dogs or cats will not interfere with an abutting occupant’s use and peaceful enjoyment of the property.
(2) Any odor or unsanitary conditions caused by the dogs or cats will not interfere with an abutting occupant’s use and peaceful enjoyment of the property.
(3) Three or more dog runs or other dog-related structures or any combination thereof shall not be permitted if the structures can be seen from an abutting occupant’s property in a residentially zoned district.
(4) There is no evidence that the dogs or cats pose any health problem or disease exposure for abutting occupants.
(5) The dogs or cats do not interfere in some other similar manner with the peaceful use and enjoyment of abutting property.
If the bureau manager or his designee denies a person a special permit, the bureau manager or his designee must state the reasons for the denial in writing. If the bureau manager or his designee has any recommendations or conditions that would enable the person to be in compliance with the standards, the bureau manager or his designee must state those recommendations or conditions in writing. The bureau manager or his designee is authorized to issue a special permit with specific conditions attached to the permit. The bureau manager or his designee shall have the authority to charge a reasonable administrative fee for the necessary review and issuance of the permit.
(c) The fee for a permit shall be $40.00 and the permit shall remain valid as long as the person is in compliance with the terms and conditions, if any, of the permit. If any of the circumstances change, such as, but not limited to, more animals, different breed for a particular dog, new structures or other such similar change that might reasonably violate the five standards set forth in subsection (b) of this section, the permit shall automatically terminate and be null and void. The person must secure a new permit, or the person shall be in violation of this section.
(d) The bureau manager or his designee shall have the authority to revoke the permit at any time if there is a violation of the standards stated in subsection (b), for a violation of any term or condition of the permit if there has been any misrepresentation, or for any other similar reason. The bureau manager or his designee shall state in writing the basis of the revocation.