Chapter 16
Animals
Article I - General Provisions
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of Henderson County. Amended 3-23-2005; 5-19-2006, 11-
20-2013]
§ 16-1. Definitions.
The following terms are defined for purposes of this Chapter: 
(1)
Adequate Food - The provision at suitable intervals, not to exceed 24 hours, of a quantity of
wholesome foodstuff suitable for the species and age, sufficient to maintain a reasonable level of
nutrition for the animal. 
(2)
Adequate Shelter- Proper and adequate shelter that will protect the animal from adverse weather
and will allow the animal to stand, sit, and lie down without restriction and is kept humanely clean
and sanitary.
(3)
Adequate Water - The access to a sufficient supply of clean, fresh water provided at suitable
intervals for the animal's physical needs and the climatic conditions.
(4)
Adoption- the legal taking of ownership voluntarily and accepting all responsibilities and
liabilities therein.
(5)
Adult - A person 18 years of age or older who has not been judicially declared incompetent.
(6)
Aggressive Animal - Any domestic animal with a history established through more than 2
documented verbal or written warnings for attacking or threatening people, domestic animals or
livestock without provocation while on or off the owner’s property. Examples of aggressive
behavior include but are not limited to: 
a.
Any domestic animal when unprovoked bites, claws, or attempts to bite or claw  
any person;
b.
Any domestic animal found to menace, chase, threaten any person;
c.  
Any domestic animal which engages in or is found to be trained to engage in 
fighting; 
d.
Any domestic animal that terrorizes a person such as by repeated unprovoked 
aggressive encounters or by pinning the person in an area without a clear and 
reasonable escape; or
e.
Any domestic animal approaching a person where the individual must fend the 
animal off by yelling, brandishing an object or discharging a weapon.
(6) 
Animal Enforcement Officer - Officers from the Sheriff’s Department or the Sheriff’s designee 
charged with the enforcement of the Animal Ordinance and the regulation of animals and animal 
owners within both incorporated and unincorporated sections of Henderson County.
(7) 
Animal Services Center - The County Animal Shelter, and any other designated facilities, operated
and maintained by the County for the purpose of impounding 
animals under the authority of this
Chapter or the General Statutes for care, confinement, return to owner, adoption or euthanasia.
(8) 
Animal Services Director - The director placed in supervision of the Animal Services Center.
(9) 
At Large - An animal when: 
a.
Not on the owner’s property, 
b. 
Not under control of a competent person or unrestrained by a leash or 
harness, or 
c.
Not controlled by other similar physical means. 
     
(10) 
Cat - A domestic feline of either sex.
(11) 
Companion Animal - Any dog or cat.
(12) 
Competent Person -  A legally competent person of suitable age and discretion to keep an animal 
under sufficient control in order to prevent harm to the animal, humans, other animals or property.
(13) 
County - Henderson County, North Carolina
(14) 
County Director of Public Health - The Director of the Henderson County Department of Public 
Health.
(15) 
Dangerous/Potentially Dangerous Dog - Any dog whose behavior constitutes a risk of severely 
injuring or killing a human domestic animal or livestock; or which, by demonstrated behavior, is 
commonly accepted as dangerous. The following criteria shall be used in identifying a dangerous 
dog:
a. 
A dog that, without provocation, has killed or inflicted severe injury on a person.
  
b. 
Any dog owned or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting,  
or any dog trained for dog fighting.
c. 
A dog that is determined hereunder to be potentially dangerous because the dog  
has engaged in one (1) or more behaviors listed below. The following criteria shall 
be used in identifying a potentially dangerous dog: 
1.
A dog that has inflicted a bite on a person that resulted in broken bones, 
disfiguring lacerations, or requiring surgery or hospitalization.
2.
A dog that has killed or inflicted severe injury upon a domestic animal  
or livestock when not on the owner's real property. 
3.
A dog that has approached a person when not on the owner's property 
in an apparent attitude of attack.
d.
A dog shall not be deemed dangerous solely because it bites, attacks, or menaces: 
1.
Anyone assaulting or threatening the owner or trespassing on the 
owner's property; 
2.
Any person or other animal that has provoked, tormented, or abused it;  
or 
3.
While protecting or defending its young. 
(16) 
Day - A period of 24 hours, including Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. 
 
(17)
Department - The County Animal Services Department and Animal Enforcement.
(18) 
Dog - A domestic canine of either sex. 
 
(19)
Domestic Animal - Any animal whose physiology has been determined or manipulated through 
selective breeding which does not occur naturally in the wild, or which can be vaccinated against 
rabies with an approved rabies vaccine, and which has an established rabies quarantine 
observation period.
(20) 
Euthanasia - The causing of death in any animal by using any humane method approved by the 
American Veterinary Medical Association or the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association. 
 
(21) 
Exposed to Rabies - An animal or human bitten by or exposed to the saliva or neural tissue of 
any animal known or suspected to have been infected with rabies. 
 
(22)
Frivolous - Any complaint which is filed more than 3 times by 1 person or common 
household within a period of 48 hours; and in which such complaint is clearly insufficient on its 
face and is brought about with the intent to embarrass, disturb, harass, or otherwise annoy.
(23)
General Statutes - The North Carolina General Statutes, as amended.
(24) 
Harboring an Animal - Feeding or sheltering an animal 7 days or more unless the animal is 
being boarded for a fee at a licensed kennel.
(25)
Haven - A nonprofit organization that provides care for an animal (same as “Rescue”).  A haven 
must comply with the companion animal permit program unless it falls under state law.
(26)
Hybrid - A "hybrid” is an animal which is the product of the breeding of a domesticated animal 
with a non-domesticated animal, including but not limited to other hybrid animals or wolves.
(27) 
Impound - To apprehend, seize, catch, trap, net, quarantine, tranquilize, or confine an animal in a 
humane manner. 
 
(28)
Incorporated Area - Any area located within any incorporated municipality located wholly or in 
part within the County.
(29) 
Inherently Dangerous Animal- Any live animal, including hybrids, which due to their inherent 
nature, may be considered dangerous to humans and include but is not limited to:
a.
Canidae, including any member of the dog (canid) family not customarily domesticated 
by man, or any hybrids thereof, including wolf hybrids which are a cross between a wolf 
and a domestic dog, but not including domestic dogs (Canis Familiaris).
b.
Felidae, including any member of the cat family weighing over 15 pounds not 
customarily domesticated by man, or any hybrids thereof, but not including domestic cats
(Felis catus).
c.
Ursidae, including any member of the bear family, or any hybrids thereof.
d.
Venomous Reptiles.
(30) 
Livestock - A term for animals that shall include, but shall not be limited to, equine animals, 
bovine animals, sheep, goats, llamas, fowl and swine.  This does not include animals defined as 
“Domestic”.
(31) 
Microchip - An electronic identification device that is intended to be implanted within an animal.
(32) 
Owner - Any person, group of persons, firm, partnership, corporation, organization, or association 
owning, keeping or harboring; or any person who shelters, feeds, or takes care of an animal for 
7 or more consecutive days unless said animal is being boarded for a fee. An occupant of any 
  
premises on which a dog or cat remains or customarily returns is an owner under this Chapter. If a
person under the age of 18 years is an owner subject to the provisions of this Chapter, the head of 
the household in which such person under the age of 18 years resides shall also be an owner under
this Chapter and therefore subject to prosecution under this Chapter. Such household head may 
himself or herself be under the age of 18 years. If not a member of a household, a person under the
age of 18 years shall himself be the responsible person. There may be more than 1owner 
responsible for an animal.
(33) 
Owner's Real Property - Any real property owned or leased by the owner, but not including any 
public right-of-way or common area.
(34) 
Pet Shop - Any person, partnership or establishment engaging in the commercial enterprise to 
acquire animals for the purpose of resale or trade.  Pet shops must possess a current license from 
the State Department of Agriculture.
(35)
Provocation - With respect to an animal that has bitten or attacked a person, domestic animal 
or livestock, that the animal was physically abused such as hit, kicked, agitated or teased, struck 
by a person with an object or part of a person’s body, or that any part of the animal’s body is 
pulled, pinched, or squeezed by a person or the animal was physically threatened.
(36)
Public Nuisance – an animal that: 
1.
Frequently runs at large as determined by one verbal or written warning;
2.
Damages, soils, or defecates on private property other than property possessed or
controlled by the animal owner or on public walks and recreation areas unless such
waste is immediately removed and properly disposed of by the animal owner or
handler as determined by more than one verbal or written warning;
3.
Causes unsanitary or unsafe conditions; 
4.
Causes a disturbance by excessive barking or other noisemaking; or chases vehicles,
or molests, attacks, or interferes with persons or other domestic animals on public
property including public roads adjacent to the owner’s property as determined by
more than one verbal or written warning.
(37) 
Quarantine Order - An order to secure any dog, cat or other animal specified by state law which 
has bitten a person for a mandatory 10 day observation period as required by N.C.G.S. 130A-
196.  Quarantine orders may also be issued by the local health director for up to 6 months
when a domestic animal suffers a rabies exposure.
(38)
Rabies Exposure - Any bite or other event in which a person or animal has been suspected of 
coming in contact with the saliva or nervous tissue of an animal possibly having rabies.
(39) 
Secure Enclosure - An enclosure, including a house, from which an animal cannot escape unless 
freed by the owner. An Animal Enforcement Officer, in his/her discretion, may determine whether
or not there is a secure enclosure on the premises.
(40) 
Stray - A domestic animal within the County wandering at large or lost or which does not bear 
evidence of the identification of any owner or whose owner cannot be found.
(41) 
Suspected of Having Rabies - An animal that has bitten, or exposed saliva or neural tissue to, a 
person or another animal; or a wild animal that has bitten a person or domestic animal.
(42) 
Trespass - Wrongful invasion of the property of another
(43) 
Unaltered - An animal that has not been spayed or neutered.
(44) 
Unfounded - Any complaint without merit or validity and in which a reasonable and prudent 
person would find a lack of merit or validity readily apparent.
(45) 
Unincorporated Area - Any area of the County not within an incorporated area.
(46) 
Vaccination - The administration of the rabies vaccine as required by N.C.G.S 130A-185.
(47) 
Wild - An animal living in a state of nature; not tamed or domesticated.  This also includes but is 
not limited to feral cats.
§ 16-2. Authority and Territorial Application. 
A.
Purpose.  As determined by state law, the Animal Services Center: 
(1) 
Prevents the abuse and neglect of animals (N.C.GS. 153A-127); 
(2) 
Protects the public health, safety and welfare (N.C.G.S. 153A-121); 
(3) 
Enforces regulations regarding the possession or harboring of dangerous/potentially 
dangerous dogs (N.C.G.S. 153A-131); 
(4) 
Protects the public and domestic animals from rabies (N.C.G.S. 130A-185); and  
(5) 
Educates the public regarding the proper care for animals.
  
B. 
This article is adopted pursuant to the power granted the County in N.C.G.S. 153A-121
and 153A-442. This Chapter shall apply to all unincorporated areas of the
County and to those incorporated areas of any city or town specifically requesting its enforcement 
by the County upon the consent of the County Board of Commissioners. This request must be in 
writing in the form of a resolution approved by the governing body. (In making such a request, the
city or town must comply with the requirements of N.C.G.S. 153A-122.) The provisions of this 
article shall be enforced by the Sheriff of Henderson County.
C. 
The County may contract annually with any municipality located within the County to enforce any
animal restraint ordinance ("leash law") adopted by such municipality, on such terms and 
conditions (including the acceptability of the terms of such restraint ordinance) as are deemed 
advisable. Such contract shall require any such municipality to reimburse to the County all the 
costs associated with the enforcement of such a restraint ordinance. Henderson County shall not 
enforce any municipal leash or animal related laws in the municipality without a contractual 
agreement between the County and the municipality.
§ 16-3. Animal Service Advisory Committee.
The County Animal Service Advisory Committee shall make recommendations to the Board of Commissioners
based on animal-related ordinances or policies and shall assist in establishing policies and procedures for the Animal
Services Center.  The Committee may undertake the study of particular areas under their authority in order to advise
Henderson County staff and Board of Commissioners. The County Animal Service Advisory Committee, or a duly
appointed subcommittee thereof, shall act as the Animal Service Appellate Board and hear all appeals under the
Henderson County Animal Ordinance when permitted by state law.  Appeals governed by state law shall go to the
court of appropriate jurisdiction.
§ 16-4. General duties of Animal Services and Animal Enforcement
A.
Duties and responsibilities of Animal Services Director:
(1)
Enforcing all County ordinances relating to the care, custody and control of domestic
animals.
(2)
Operating the County Animal Services Center pursuant to policies adopted by the County
Board of Commissioners.
(3)
Keeping, or causing to be kept, accurate and detailed records of: 
a.
Impoundment and disposition of all animals coming into custody of the Animal 
Services Center.
b.
All monies derived from fees and penalties.
c.
Any other matters deemed necessary by the Animal Services Director.
B.
Duties and responsibilities of Animal Enforcement
(1)
Enforcing all County ordinances relating to the care, custody and control of domestic
animals.
(2)
Investigating all reported animal bites or other human physical contact  with a suspected
rabid animal, enforcing quarantine ordered for any dog or cat involved and submitting
bite reports and reports of human contacts to the County Director of Public Health.
(3)
Investigating complaints with regard to animals arising under this Chapter.
(4)
Protecting animals from neglect; investigating animal mistreatment, as defined in §16-11.
(5)
Seizing and arranging for impoundment, where deemed necessary, of any animal
involved in a violation of this Ordinance or the General Statutes.
(6)
Keeping, or causing to be kept, accurate and detailed records of: 
a.
Seizure, impoundment and disposition of all animals coming into custody of the 
Animal Services Center.
b.
Bite cases, violations and complaints, and investigation of same, including 
names and addresses of persons bitten, date, circumstances and breed.
c.
All monies derived from fees and penalties.
d. 
Any other matters deemed necessary by the Sheriff.
§ 16-5. Citations.
The Animal Services Director, Animal Enforcement Officers, Sheriff and Sheriff's Deputies of the County may
issue citations to any person who has violated provisions of this Chapter, in accordance with §16-19. 
  
§ 16-6. Tranquilizer guns.
Animal Enforcement Officers and Animal Services employees are authorized to store at the Animal Services Center
tranquilizer guns approved for use and to use such tranquilizer guns when necessary to enforce sections of this
Chapter or applicable laws for control of wild, dangerous, or diseased animals. 
§ 16-7.  Interference or concealment.
A.
Interference. It shall be unlawful for any person to interfere with, hinder, molest, resist or
obstruct any employee or agent of the Department in the performance of any duty authorized by
law or ordinance, or to seek to release any domestic animal in the custody of such employees or
agents (including from traps, cages, or other enclosures) except as specifically provided or
authorized by the Department.
B.
Concealment of dogs and cats. It shall be unlawful for any person to conceal, for the purpose of
evading the rabies vaccination or dangerous dog/ potentially dangerous dog requirement of the
law, any unlicensed (if licensing requirement adopted) or unvaccinated dog or cat from any
employee or agent of the Department. 
C.
Filing false reports. It shall be unlawful for any person to file a false report with the Department
of Animal Control, or to provide false information to an officer involving any investigation of
any reported violation of this article. Any person found violating this provision shall be guilty of
a Class 3 misdemeanor and shall be fined not more than $500.
D.
Frivolous or unfounded complaints. It shall be unlawful for any person to repeatedly file
frivolous or unfounded complaints with the Department of Animal Control in order to intimidate
or harass any member of the department or any animal owner, or to otherwise hinder or interfere
with any function of the Department of Animal Control. Any person found violating this
provision shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor and shall be fined not more than $500. 
§ 16-8.  Public nuisances prohibited.
A. 
Animal care constituting a nuisance. It shall be unlawful for any person to own, keep, or maintain 
a companion animal in such a manner as to constitute a public  nuisance as defined herein. 
(1)
Maintaining animals in an unsanitary environment that results in odors considered
excessive to a reasonable person; or, in an environment that is dangerous to the animal or
to the public health, safety, welfare; or failure to maintain a condition of good order and
cleanliness that reduces the probability of transmission of disease.
(2)
Maintaining the owner’s property in a manner 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 animals on the property.  This includes the keeping,
possessing, or harboring of wild or feral animals that threaten the public health, safety or
welfare.
(3)
Maintaining an animal that is diseased and dangerous to the public health.
(4)
Harboring, keeping, owning, or possessing an animal that is at large or is repeatedly at 
large.
B.
Animal behavior constituting a nuisance.  It shall be unlawful for an owner to permit an animal to
habitually do the following, but not limited to: chases bicycles, motor vehicles or pedestrians,
damages private or public property, turns over garbage cans, deposits feces on another's private
property or on public property, or an animal running at-large. The prohibition against running at-
large does not apply to animals in designated off-leash areas.
C.
In addition to any other enforcement remedies available under this Chapter, if an Animal
Enforcement Officer determines an animal to be a nuisance under this section, then such officer is
authorized to order the owner to confine such animal  in accordance with the Animal Enforcement
Officer's instructions, including a permanent above-ground fence or tethering or chaining inside a
fence; this does not include natural barriers. It shall be unlawful for the owner to fail to comply 
with such an order or with the instructions in the order. In addition, any animal determined to be a 
nuisance under this section must be micro chipped within 10 days of the nuisance determination.
Animal Enforcement is allowed to make periodic inspections.
D.
Animal Owners, where nuisances have been determined, shall be notified and ordered to abate
said nuisance within 5 days by whatever means necessary. Failure to comply within this time
frame shall constitute a separate offense for each day thereafter. No civil penalty shall accrue
during the 5 day warning period.
E.
Reporting.  Upon receipt of a detailed complaint to Animal Enforcement, the owner shall be 
notified by certified or registered mail or by hand delivery.
  
F.
Appeal.  The owner shall have 3 days to appeal the nuisance determination to the Animal 
Services Appellate Board.
G.
Nothing in this provision is intended to conflict with the Henderson County Nuisance Ordinance, 
Noise Ordinance or other applicable section of the Henderson County Code.
H.
In addition, any animal determined to be a nuisance under this section must be microchipped at the
owner’s expense within 5 days of the nuisance determination or appeal determination.
§ 16-9.  Confinement of female dog during estrus (heat).
Any owner of a female dog during its estrus (heat) period shall confine said animal in a building or secure enclosure
in such a manner that the dog will not be in contact with male dogs or attract other animals. This section shall not be
construed to prohibit the intentional breeding of animals within an enclosed area on the premises of the owner of the
animal that is being bred. 
§ 16-10.  Dangerous/potentially dangerous dogs restricted.
A.
General provisions. It shall be unlawful for any person to own or in any way maintain or harbor a
dog that is dangerous/potentially dangerous, except as provided in this Chapter. Notwithstanding
any exemption listed below, any dog that has killed a person shall be immediately euthanized by
the Animal Services Center. 
(1) 
Reporting requirement.  A report must be made concerning any (a) attack or biting by a
dog upon a person, livestock, or domestic animal; (b) transfer, gift, sale or other
conveyance of ownership or possession of a dangerous or potentially dangerous dog; (c)
confinement to a veterinary facility; or (d) removal from territorial jurisdiction of the
county.  An animal’s death must be reported by any of the following individuals:
a. 
owner, keeper or harborer of a dog deemed dangerous/ potentially dangerous or
of a dog that has attacked or bitten a person or domestic animal;
b. 
victim or a person witnessing such an attack or biting;
c. 
veterinarian treating a domestic animal for such an attack or biting; or 
d. 
health care professional treating a person for such an attack or biting.
(2) 
The report must be made to the Sheriff’s Office within 24 hours of the event.
(3) 
Failure to report an incident within 24 hours may result in criminal and  civil penalties 
under this Ordinance and personal liability in subsequent incidents.
B.
Exemptions. The provisions of this Chapter do not apply to dogs causing injuries when: 
(1)
Used by law enforcement agencies to carry out official law enforcement duties; 
(2)
Functioning lawfully as hunting or herding dogs, or in controlling predators on the 
property of, or under control of, the owner when performing duties appropriate to said 
functions; 
(3)
Protecting the owner or owner's premises from trespassers and other criminal perpetrators
while on its owner's premises; or
(4)
Protecting itself or its young from assault, torment, or abuse.
C.
Declaration of dangerous/potentially dangerous dog. The Sheriff or his/her designee shall have the
authority to declare a dog to be a dangerous/potentially dangerous dog.  Any determination that a
dog is dangerous/potentially dangerous shall be made in writing, summarizing the available
evidence and shall be delivered or mailed by certified or registered mail to the owner.  The
written determinations shall order compliance with the appropriate provisions of this ordinance
and may impose reasonable conditions to maintain the public health and safety.
D.
Appeal. Any person who owns a dog that has been declared dangerous/potentially dangerous shall
have the right to appeal this decision to the Animal Services Appellate Board. 
(1)
Manner of appeal. The owner of a dog declared dangerous/potentially dangerous must 
request an appeal of the determination in writing. The written appeal must be submitted 
to the Animal Services Director, and must be received by the Animal Services Director or
postmarked within 3 calendar days of the receipt by the owner of notice of 
declaration. 
(2)
Pending the appeal, the owner of a dog declared dangerous/potentially dangerous shall 
comply with the provisions of § 16-10E. 
(3)
Hearing procedures. Once properly appealed, the Animal Services Appellate Board shall
conduct a public, quasi-judicial hearing to determine whether the declaration of the
animal as dangerous/potentially dangerous is correct. 
(4)
Outcome. If the dog is affirmed by the Animal Services Appellate Board as being
dangerous/potentially dangerous, then the owner shall comply with the terms of § 16-10
  
E, F, G. Any person who owns a dog affirmed dangerous/potentially dangerous by the
Animal Services Appellate Board or its designee has the right to appeal this
determination to the Superior Court.
E.
Enclosures and control measures for dangerous/potentially dangerous dogs. If a dog has been
determined to be dangerous/potentially dangerous, as specified in this section, the dog may be
retained upon the owner satisfying the following conditions: 
(1)
The owner must insure that the dog, at all times on and off the owner’s property, remains 
securely enclosed as per the Ordinance or controlled and muzzled as described below. 
Failure to do so shall subject the owner to penalty under this Chapter: 
a.
Confine the dog within the owner's residence; or
b. 
Erect and confine the dog (except when muzzled and controlled as required
below), within 30 days in a securely enclosed and padlocked pen with a concrete
bottom and secure top. The structure must be secured by a child-resistant lock.
Pending construction of such pen, the dog must be confined within the owner's
residence; or
c. 
The animal must be muzzled and under restraint by a competent person who, by 
means of a leash or chain, has such animal firmly under physical restraint at all 
times when not in a secure building or enclosure.
d. 
Any dog deemed dangerous shall not be permitted in public recreation areas, 
including dog parks, parks or greenways.
(2)
The owner must post a warning sign of at least 120 square inches that is visible 
to any
adjoining property from each exposure of the residence or the structure in which the
dangerous/potentially dangerous dog is confined. The sign must have an approved
graphic representation of an appropriate animal such that the dangerousness of the animal
is communicated to those who cannot read, including young children.
(3)
Microchip. Within 5 days of the determination or appeal determination, the owner of a 
dangerous/ potentially dangerous dog must demonstrate to Animal Enforcement that 
such dog had a microchip implanted. 
(4) 
Inspection.  Animal Enforcement shall cause periodic inspections to be  made of the 
premises where the dangerous/potentially dangerous dog is kept to assure compliance 
with the provisions of this Ordinance.  The owner must permit these inspections at any 
reasonable time without notice to the owner from the Animal Enforcement Officers.
(5) 
Control Measures.  
a.
All control measures required by this section must be met immediately upon the
determination that the animal is dangerous/potentially dangerous except for the
construction of the enclosure discussed in section 1(b) of this provision.  The
owner has 30 days to construct the enclosure during which time the animal must
be confined indoors and may only be permitted outside under the control of a
competent person by leash or chain and the animal must be muzzled.  Failure to
meet all control measures may result in the immediate impoundment of the
animal and civil and criminal penalties.
b. 
If the owner has no place to keep the animal while the structure is being 
constructed, the animal may be kept at the Animal Services Center or at a 
private establishment approved by Animal Enforcement at the owner’s expense.
c. 
All animals deemed dangerous or potentially dangerous must be spayed or 
neutered within 30 days of the determination or an appeal determination.
F. 
Notification. Subject to state statute. 
G. 
Notification prior to transfer. Prior to any transfer to a new owner (with or without consideration)
of a dangerous/potentially dangerous dog, the owner must provide to the Sheriff a written
statement, signed before a notary by the transferee (on a form obtained from the Animal Services
Center), indicating the transferee's understanding of the transferee's obligations hereunder as an
owner of a dangerous/potentially dangerous dog. If the dangerous or potentially dangerous dog is
being transferred out of Henderson County or out of North Carolina.
H.
Immediate impoundment. Any dangerous/potentially dangerous dog kept in violation of this 
section may be immediately impounded upon issuance of any warrant for the same, pending the 
outcome of the criminal action. If the owner is convicted of a criminal offense of keeping a 
dangerous/potentially dangerous dog in violation of this section, in addition to any criminal 
penalties imposed, the Animal Services Director or his/her designee may euthanize the dog. 
  
Nothing  herein shall be construed to in any way limit the use of civil penalties for a violation of 
this section. 
(1) 
Cost of impoundment. Costs of impoundment at the Animal Services Center shall be paid
by the owner or the person liable for the animal at a daily rate as determined by the 
County.  In instances where the Animal Services Center must impound the animal at a 
private facility or kennel, the person liable for the animal will pay the rate established by 
those facilities.
(2) 
Release from impoundment. 
a.
No dog deemed dangerous or potentially dangerous that has been impounded by
the Animal Services Center shall be released to the owner from impoundment
except upon proof submitted by the owner or person liable for the animal that all
the elements of this Ordinance have been met as verified by Animal
Enforcement.  This shall not apply in instances where criminal charges have
been brought against the owner.
b.
If criminal charges have been brought against the owner for failure to comply 
with this Ordinance or for interference with the operations of the Animal 
Services Center, no dog deemed dangerous shall be released from Animal 
Services until determined by a court of competent jurisdiction.  During this 
time while the dog is impounded, it cannot be euthanized and the cost of 
impoundment shall be charged to the owner.
c.
No dog deemed dangerous or potentially dangerous may be adopted. 
§ 16-11. Mistreatment of animals prohibited. 
It shall be unlawful for any person owning, keeping or responsible for an animal to deprive, or cause the animal to
be deprived of adequate food, adequate water, adequate shelter (as defined above in 16-1) and necessary medical
attention.
A.
Necessary medical attention. No person owning, keeping, or responsible for an animal shall fail to
supply the animal with necessary medical attention or vaccines when the animal suffers from
illness, injury or disease.
B.
Adequate Shelter.
(1) 
When confinement prohibited. No animal may intentionally be confined in a building, 
enclosure, car, boat, vehicle or vessel of any kind when to do so would expose the animal
to heat or cold harmful to its health. 
(2)
Standards for chaining. No animal may be chained outdoors unattended without a 
chain/cable of suitable length designed and placed to prevent choking or strangulation, 
with the area free of obstacles and humanely clean so that the animal may have access to 
food, water, and shelter.  It shall be illegal to tether, chain, stake out, tie up or otherwise 
similarly restrict any and all birds unless a certified wildlife rehabilitation facility.
C. 
An owner of an animal shall not permit injury or inflict pain upon such animal from an improperly
fitting or embedded collar or harness.
D. 
It shall be illegal to own, keep, or harbor an animal for the purpose of fighting other animals; or
attacking other animals or people except for protecting the owner or owner’s real property.  It shall
be illegal to sponsor, promote, organize animal fights, train animals for fighting, or provide
animals for fighting including but not limited to dog fighting and cock fighting.  Evidence of 
training animals to fight shall include but not be limited to: alterations to the animal for fighting
such as removing spurs or a comb; tying animals to antagonize them and the discovery of a
fighting ring or location.
E. 
An owner of an animal shall not hit, physically abuse, or torment the animal.
§ 16-12.  Destruction of animals that cannot be seized or confined by reasonable means. 
A. 
Notwithstanding any other provision of this Chapter, a dog or cat that cannot be seized by 
reasonable and normal means, trapped in a humane, live-capture animal trap, or tranquilized, may 
be humanely destroyed in the field by the Sheriff or other law enforcement officers. 
B. 
Vicious, dangerous/potentially dangerous animals so designated, wild animals, or an animal 
attacking a human being, another pet, or livestock may be immediately  destroyed, if such 
destruction is necessary for the protection of the public health  and safety or that of County staff. 
§ 16-13. [Reserve]
  
§ 16-14. Impoundment.
A.
In general. Any animal found being mistreated or kept under unsanitary or inhumane conditions, 
as provided in § 16-11; any animal found to be a public nuisance, as provided in § 16-8; or any 
dog or cat found to be not wearing a currently valid rabies vaccination tag off the owner’s 
property as required shall be seized, impounded, and confined by the Animal Enforcement Officer
and confined in the Animal Services Center in a humane manner. Impoundment of such animal 
shall not relieve the owner thereof of any penalty which may be imposed for violation of any 
provision of this Chapter occurring prior to the date of the impoundment.
B.
Notice to owner. Immediately upon impounding an animal, the Sheriff or his designee, shall make
reasonable efforts to notify the owner and inform such owner of the conditions whereby the 
animal may be redeemed.
C. 
Redemption by owner. The owner of an animal impounded under this Chapter may redeem the 
animal and regain possession thereof in accordance with the rules and fees set by the Board of 
County Commissioners in the policies for operation of the County Animal Services Center and by 
complying with all applicable provisions of this Chapter and by paying all fees and civil penalties 
due. Fee rates shall be available for public inspection in the office of the Clerk to the Board of 
County Commissioners and at the Animal Services Center. The owner of the impounded animal 
shall be liable for the daily cost of impoundment to the Animal Services Center, as established in 
the fee schedule.  The owner must have proof of current rabies vaccination or 
purchase a rabies vaccine voucher. The owner of any dogs and cats impounded for running at
large in the county without a microchip or those impounded for mistreatment must purchase a
voucher for microchip installation prior to release at the owner’s expense unless there is a pending
criminal action in the matter. All fees and expenses must be paid prior to the release of the animal. 
Animal and owner must be in compliance with state and federal law prior to 
redemption.
D. 
Adoption or euthanasia of unredeemed dog or cat. 
(1)
If any impounded stray dog or cat or abandoned animal is not redeemed by the owner 
within 72 hours of impoundment, then such animal may be offered for adoption or 
destroyed in a humane manner. Animals that are voluntarily turned over to the Animal 
Services Center by the owner may be adopted or if adoption attempts are unsuccessful 
within a reasonable period (or immediately if in the opinion of the Animal Services 
Director adoption efforts would be fruitless or in violation of this Chapter), are subject 
to euthanasia. 
(2)
No animal owner may be permitted to claim his/her animal under the provisions of this 
section unless and until he/she shall comply with the provisions of the policies of the 
County Animal Services Center. 
(3)
All unaltered dogs and cats adopted from the Animal Services Center shall be spayed or 
neutered.  This shall occur prior to adoption; or, with a voucher and/or deposit to use their 
own veterinarian  within 30 days of adoption; or, when medically appropriate, additional 
penalties may be  applied.
(4)
All dogs and cats adopted from the Animal Services Center that do not already have
implanted in them a microchip shall have a microchip at time of adoption or when the
animal goes for spay or neuter surgery. This microchip shall be at the owner’s expense.  
(5) 
All dogs and cats adopted from the Animal Services Center shall have proof of current 
rabies vaccination or purchase of a rabies vaccine voucher, prior to adoption.
(6) 
Adoption Exceptions. 
a.
The Animal Services Center has the right to refuse adoption of animals to 
persons less than 18 years of age.
b.
The Animal Services Center has the right to refuse adoption of animals to 
persons or organizations who have been cited for violations or where there is 
reasonable evidence of a violation previously under this Ordinance or state law.  
c.
The Animal Services Center has the right to change an animals’ 
ownership to a qualified non-profit organization that meets the Center’s policy.  
d.
The Animal Services Center has the right to refuse adoption of animals to any 
individual who has relinquished an animal within the last 12 months.
e.
The Animal Services Center has the right to refuse the adoption of dogs deemed 
aggressive, dangerous/ potentially dangerous by persons, organizations, or 
establishments and Animal Services will ensure the new owner(s) has met the 
requirements under this Ordinance for control measures and enclosures. 
  
(7)
Fee Schedule for Impoundment/Adoption of Animals shall be established by the Board of
Commissioners within the annual approved budget.
E. 
Suspected rabid dogs or cats are not to be redeemed or adopted. Notwithstanding any other
provision of this Chapter, dogs or cats impounded which appear to be suffering from rabies shall
not be redeemed or adopted but shall be dealt with in accordance with N.C.G.S. Chapter 130A.
F. 
Final disposition of all unclaimed animals shall be arranged for by the Animal Services Director. 
The Animal Services Director or designee shall retain sole authority to determine the final 
disposition of each animal in (its) custody once that animal becomes the property of the County of
Henderson and shall not place any animal for adoption that is classified in this Chapter as 
prohibited.
G. 
The Animal Services Center will not adopt out any animal that demonstrates or has demonstrated 
aggressive behavior or any animal that appears to be unhealthy. 
§ 16-15. Voluntary relinquishment of animals.
Owners wishing to relinquish animals in their possession may do so by delivering the same to the Animal Services
Center. Such animals will be subject to the impoundment provisions set out in § 16-14, except that no attempt to
contact the owner is required. 
Owners must also affirmatively represent in writing: 
A.
That he or she is the legal owner of the animal;
B.
That the owner permits the animal to be placed for adoption or humanely destroyed;
C.
That the owner will indemnify and hold the Animal Services Center and County harmless for fees,
by reason of destruction of, or placement for adoption of, said  animal;
D.
That the owner transfers ownership of said animal to the Animal Services Center and releases the 
Department from any and all future claims with respect to said animal; and
E.
Reason for surrender for data collection purposes and to notify potential adopted owners of any 
significant problems.
F. 
If owner decides they want animal back after relinquishing, all reclaim or adoptions fees may 
apply.
§ 16-16.  Redemption of unvaccinated animal.
A.
Proof of vaccination. Unless proof of a current rabies vaccination can be furnished, every person 
who redeems a dog or cat at the Animal Services Center must obtain (and pay the fee for) a rabies 
vaccination to be administered within the time period as set below or receive a citation for failure 
to vaccinate.  Animals leaving the Animal Services Center must either have proof of current rabies
vaccination or purchase of rabies vaccine voucher.  Animals must be vaccinated  after 4 months.
B.
Payment. Payment for the rabies vaccination provided for in this section will be the 
responsibility of the person redeeming the dog or cat. The owner must pay all related fees 
and fines prior to the release of the animal.
§ 16-17. Euthanasia of wounded, diseased, and unwanted animals.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this Chapter, any animal impounded which is badly wounded or diseased
(not suspected of rabies) and has no identification shall be subject to euthanasia immediately upon approval of the
Animal Services Director or his/her designee. If the animal has identification, the Animal Services Center shall
attempt to notify the owner before euthanizing such animal.
§ 16-18. Relation to hunting laws.
Nothing in this Chapter is intended to be in conflict with the General Statutes regulating, restricting, authorizing or
otherwise affecting dogs while used in lawful hunting.
§ 16-19. Violations and penalties.
The following penalties shall pertain to violations of this Chapter: 
A.
Misdemeanor. The violation of any provision of this Chapter shall be a misdemeanor and any 
person convicted of such violation shall be punishable as provided in N.C.G.S. 14-4 or 
other applicable law. Each violation of this Chapter (or if a continuing violation, each day in 
which the violation continues) is a separate offense. Each violation for each animal is a separate 
offense.  Payment of a fine imposed in criminal proceedings pursuant to this subsection does not 
affect the liability for fees or civil penalties imposed under this Chapter.
  
B.
Enforcement. Enforcement of this Chapter may include any appropriate equitable remedy, 
injunction or order of abatement issuing from a court of competent jurisdiction pursuant to 
C.
Issuance of a citation. Issuance of a citation for violation of this Chapter is directed toward and 
against the owner. The purpose of issuing a citation is to affect the conduct of the owner 
by seeking to have the owner insure compliance with this Chapter. The issuance of a citation 
hereunder shall not affect the prosecution of a violation hereof as a misdemeanor as provided 
above. A citation  shall: 
(1)
Give notice of the violation(s) alleged of the owner; 
(2)
State the civil penalties for such violation(s); 
(3)
State the date by which any penalties for such violation(s) must be paid; and 
(4)
State that the County may initiate after such date a civil action to collect the civil 
penalties which are and may become due. 
D.
Civil penalties. In addition to and independent of any criminal penalties and other sanctions 
provided in this article, violations of this article may also subject the offender to the civil penalties
hereinafter set forth.
(1)
The Animal Services Director, Animal Enforcement Officers, Sheriff, or Sheriff's 
Deputies may issue to the known owner of any animal, or to any other violator of the 
provisions of this Chapter, a citation. Citations so issued may be delivered in person or 
mailed by certified or registered mail to the person charged if that person cannot be 
readily found. The citation shall impose upon the violator a minimum civil penalty of 
$50 or such greater amounts for offenses as may be set by ordinance. The imposed civil 
penalty shall be paid in full to the Animal Services Center within 30 days of receipt of the
citation assessing the civil penalty. This civil penalty  is in addition to other fees or costs 
authorized by this Chapter.
(2)
In the event that the owner of an animal or other alleged violator does not respond to the 
above-described citation, or the applicable civil penalty is not paid within the time period
prescribed, a civil action may be commenced to recover the penalty and costs associated 
with collection of  the penalty, and/or a criminal summons may be issued against the 
owner or other alleged violator of this Chapter and upon conviction, the owner shall be 
punished as provided by state law. The Sheriff is expressly authorized to initiate and 
prosecute small claims actions in District Court to collect civil penalties and fees due to 
the Department and may call on the County Legal Department for assistance as needed. 
(3) 
Each violation of this Ordinance is a separate fine.  Each day in violation and each animal
kept in violation are considered separate offenses and may be fined for each individually.
(4) 
The following civil penalties are hereby established for each incident violation of this 
Chapter: 
Section
Violated
Animal Service Civil Penalty Fee Schedule Description
Civil
Penalty Fee
16-7A
Interference with Animal Enforcement Officer, or agent (per incident)
$500
16-7B
Concealment of an animal to evade ordinance (per day of violation)
$100
16-8
Public nuisance:
First violation
Warning
only
Second violation
$50
Third (and subsequent) violation (per day of violation)
$100
16-10
Keeping a dangerous/potentially dangerous dog:
Unattended/loose/unrestrained (per day)
$500
Without tattoo/microchip (per day)
$500
Failing to notify of change of address or death (per day)
$500
Failing to present proof of transferee responsibility (per day)
$1,000
  
16-11
16-13
16-27
16-26
Mistreatment of an animal (per day)
Release of an animal from County-owned trap (per incident)
Keeping an aggressive animal:
Unattended/loose/ unrestrained (per day)
Without tattooing/ microchip (per day)
Failing to notify of change of address or death (per day)
Prohibition of giveaways in public places per incident per animal
$500
$100
$250
$100
$100
$50
(5)
Any person who fails to pay a fine within period of 30 days after receiving citation shall 
be deemed to have committed a misdemeanor and a warrant may be issued for the 
person’s arrest.  Prosecution under this section shall require proof of the occurrence of 
the underlying facts giving rise to the notice of citation.
(6) 
The owner of a dangerous or potentially dangerous animal shall be strictly liable in civil 
damages for any injuries or property damage the animal inflicts upon a person, his 
property or another animal as per N.C.G.S. 67-4.4.
(7) 
Violations taking place over continuous days shall be capped at 10 days per animal per 
violation unless there is evidence suggesting that the person has tried to interfere with 
Animal Enforcement Officers or obstruct justice in which case additional fines may 
accrue.
(8) 
The final determination regarding the imposition and amount of fines shall be determined
by the County and alternative settlements shall be allowed where appropriate.
E.
Interference.  It shall be unlawful for any person to interfere with, hinder, molest, resist or 
obstruct any employee or agent of the Department in the performance of any duty authorized by 
law or ordinance, or to seek to release any domestic animal in the custody of such employees or 
agents (including from traps, cages, or other enclosures) except as specifically provided or 
authorized by the Department.
§ 16-20.  Severability. 
If any part of this Chapter shall be held invalid, such part shall be deemed severable and the invalidity thereof shall
not affect the remaining parts.
§ 16-21.  Fees. 
Animal Services fees will be set each year in the County's budget resolution. All such fees owed must be paid prior
to the release of any impounded animal. 
§ 16-22.  Collection of dogs and cats for resale prohibited.
It shall be unlawful for any person to collect living companion animals within the County for the purpose of resale.
The term "collect" shall include but is not limited to home solicitations or the setting of traps on any land within the
County for the purpose of reselling animals.
§ 16-23.  Notice in case of injury. 
It shall be unlawful for any person who causes injury to a domestic animal by any means, specifically including, but
not limited to, hitting a domestic animal with any vehicle, within 24 hours of such injury, to fail to notify at least one
(1) of the following:
A.
The owner of the animal;
B. 
An Animal Enforcement Officer;
C. 
An appropriate law enforcement official; or 
D. 
The Animal Services Center.
§ 16-24.  Restraint/confinement of domestic animals required. 
A.
No person owning or having charge, care, custody or control of any domestic animal shall cause, 
permit or allow the same to be or to run at large except while on the private property or premises 
of the person owning or having charge, care, custody or control of such domestic animal.
  
B.
When not on the owner's property, a domestic animal shall be under the control of a competent 
person and restrained by a leash, harness or other similar means of physical control.
C.
This section pertains to all domestic animals with the following exceptions:
(1)
Dogs used for control of livestock as long as said animal is in the process of controlling 
livestock.
(2)
Dogs used or trained for hunting as long as said animal is in the process of being trained 
by a trainer and/or owner or on a legal hunt in the presence of the owner.
(3)
Dogs used or trained for exhibition, performance, or obedience, or similar event, as long 
as said animal is in the process of participating or training for in a kennel club, field trial 
or similar event.
(4)
Dogs used for law enforcement while training and/or acting in the line of duty. 
(5)
Dogs may be allowed to run at large in off-leash areas of such properties as may be 
designated by Henderson County or the related municipality, that shall have the authority
to establish such rules and regulations as reasonably necessary for the operation of such 
properties.  Dogs in designated off-leash areas must be accompanied by their owner, be 
under vocal control, in the line of sight, and not cause a public nuisance, safety hazard, 
harass people or other domestic or wild animals.
§16- 25.  Animal Abandonment
Unless otherwise specified by this Ordinance, animals, including domestic and livestock, that have been abandoned
by their owner shall become the property of the County. For the purpose of this Ordinance, an abandoned animal
shall be defined as an animal that is on public property or is reported on private property by the property owner
whose owner is unknown and cannot be determined by a reasonable search by Enforcement Officers.
A. 
Adoption and Euthanasia. Animals that have been abandoned shall be held by the Animal Services
Department for 72 hours unless otherwise specified by this Ordinance.  After 72 hours, Animal 
Services may adopt out or humanely destroy any abandoned animal.
B.
Redemption. Any person claiming to be the owner of an animal must pay the reclaim fee, boarding
fee, any veterinary costs and any other costs incurred by the County for the animal prior to the 
animal being released.  Redemption is defined as reclaim for lost, abandoned animals, or animals 
that have violated the Animal Ordinance and shall not include  animals held under quarantine. In 
the case of cats and dogs, no animal shall be released without being micro chipped.  In the case of 
livestock, Animal Services may require some proof from the person of ownership of this animal 
prior to its release.
C.
Owner Search.  Enforcement Officers shall conduct a reasonable search for the owner of the 
abandoned animal which may include but is not limited to a microchip scan, an investigation of 
the neighborhood, information supplied on the Animal Services website, or notices on local media
outlets.
D.
Willful Abandonment.  Any person found to be willfully releasing animals into the community, 
including but not limited to leaving animals by the side of the road, releasing animals into parks or
leaving animals in parking lots shall be guilty of a misdemeanor as defined elsewhere in this 
Ordinance and may incur civil and criminal penalties.  People may lawfully relinquish animals to 
the Animal Services Center without penalty.
§16 -26.   Prohibition against giveaways in public places.  
It shall be unlawful to display any animal in a public place for the purpose of selling, trading, or giving the animal
away or used as a prize or inducement. For the purpose of this section, public place shall be defined as any place
open to the general public including but not limited to malls, supermarkets, parking lots, flea markets, farmer’s
markets, road right-of-ways, and parks. This section does not apply to state regulated pet shops, commercial kennels,
licensed animal shelters, veterinarian offices, licensed stockyards or livestock auctions or 501(c)(3) non-profits who
adopt out animals with proof of rabies vaccination and alteration.  
§16 -27.  Aggressive Dog Controls
A.
General Provisions.  It shall be unlawful for any person to own or in any way maintain or harbor 
an animal that is an Aggressive Animal except as provided in this section.  
B.
Conflict of Laws.  This section is not intended to conflict with any other provisions of State or 
local law including but not limited to Dangerous/Potentially Dangerous Dog provisions.
C.
Determination.  Animal Enforcement Officers or the Animal Services Director or his/her designee 
may determine that an animal is aggressive.
  
(1)
The determination must be made in writing and provided to the owner or keeper of the 
animal.
(2)
Appeal. Any appeals under this provision must be made in writing to the Animal Services
Director or postmarked within 3 calendar days from the time of the determination.  
a.
Upon receipt of the appeal, the Animal Services Appellate Board shall hear the 
appeal at its next regularly scheduled meeting.
b.
From the time of the determination to the final decision of the appeal, the 
animal must be kept in the manner determined for aggressive animals. 
D.
Control Measures.
(1)
Restraint. An animal deemed aggressive must be under restraint by a competent person 
who by means of a leash, chain or rope has the animal under control at all times. Voice 
command is not an adequate restraint.  Aggressive dogs may be permitted in 
public recreation areas including 
parks, dog parks, or greenways but only if the animal 
is muzzled.
(2)
Secure enclosure.  When not under the restraint of a competent individual as described 
above, the animal must be in a secure enclosure.  A secure enclosure for the purpose of 
this section is either a building or a permanent fence in the yard with a padlock.  Animal 
Enforcement officers shall determine whether the fence is adequate.  Chaining, tethering 
or tying up is not a secure enclosure unless accompanied with a fence.  
(3)
Micro chipping. Any animal deemed aggressive must be microchipped within 5 days of 
the determination.
(4) 
Signage. The owner of an aggressive animal must post a warning sign, of at least 120 
square inches, that is to be visible to any adjoining property from each exposure of the 
residence or the structure in which the aggressive animal is confined. Each sign must 
have an approved graphic representation of an appropriate animal such that the 
dangerousness of the animal is communicated to those who cannot read, including young 
children. 
(5)
Transfer. Prior to any transfer to a new owner or to a new property (with or without 
consideration) of a deemed aggressive animal, the owner must provide to the Animal 
Services Department a written statement stating where the animal is going and who the 
new owner of the animal is.  The transferring owner must make sure the new owner is 
aware and understands the precautions the owner must take as owner of an aggressive 
animal. 
(6)
Inspection. Animal Enforcement shall cause periodic inspections to be made of the 
premises where the animal is kept to assure compliance with the provisions of this 
Ordinance.  The owner must permit these inspections at any reasonable time without 
notice to the owner from the Animal Enforcement Officers.
(7)
No dog deemed aggressive may be adopted out.
E.
Penalties and Consequences of Noncompliance.
(1)
Penalty. Penalties for violations of aggressive animals can be found in §66A-19.
(2)
Impoundment. Animals that have been deemed aggressive and found running astray or 
being kept in a manner in violation of the Ordinance shall be impounded at the Animal 
Services Center.  The animal shall not be returned to the owner until all fines, fees and 
related costs have been paid.
(3)
Authority to immobilize or kill an aggressive dog. If any animal deemed aggressive, 
dangerous or potentially dangerous is running at large in public places or on private 
property without the permission of the owner or occupant of the property and such animal
cannot be safely taken up and impounded, such animal may be slain by any law  
enforcement official or Animal Enforcement Officer.
F.
Exceptions.  No animal shall be deemed aggressive in instances where:
(1)
The person is unlawfully present on the premise occupied by the owner or keeper;
(2)
The behavior is committed against a person who has teased, abused, tormented, or 
assaulted the animal;
(3)
Where the person is committing or attempting to commit a crime;
(4)
The animal is involved in a hunt with its owner; or
(5)
Animal is protecting the owner or the animal’s young.
\
  
§16 -28.  Prohibition of possession of inherently dangerous or wild animals
A.
It shall be unlawful for any owner to keep, possess, harbor, or have under their control an 
inherently dangerous animal or a wild animal within the County.
B.
Exceptions: Persons with a valid and current government-issued license shall be exempt.  Person 
must currently hold the license.
C.
Recapturing: The owner of any inherently dangerous animal or wild animal shall reimburse 
Henderson County for all costs incurred while attempting to recapture any escaped inherently 
dangerous mammal. If the animal is sheltered or euthanized by Animal Control, the owner shall 
also pay these costs.
(1)
Animal Enforcement may take and impound an animal under these provisions at any time
for the protection of public health, safety, and welfare.
(2)
If an animal cannot be taken safely by Animal Enforcement or if proper and safe housing 
cannot be found for the animal, Animal Enforcement  may immediately destroy the 
animal.
D.
Testing: In the event the County performs genetic testing on the animal, if the test provides 
positive returns, the owner may be held civilly liable for the cost of testing.
§16 -29. Through 16-49. (Reserved)
Article II - Miscellaneous
§ 16-50. Compliance with state rabies laws; supplement to state rabies laws.
A. 
Failure to comply is unlawful. It shall be unlawful for any animal owner or other person to fail to 
comply with the state public health laws relating to the control of rabies.
B.
Providing procedure. It is the purpose of this Chapter to supplement the General Statutes by 
providing procedure for the enforcement of state laws relating to rabies control (in addition to the 
criminal penalties provided by the General Statutes).
§ 16-51. Vaccination of dogs, cats and other pets.
A.
Failure to vaccinate is unlawful. It shall be unlawful for an owner to fail to provide current 
vaccination against rabies for any dog or cat four months of age or older. Should it be required by 
the County Director of Public Health that other pets 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 vaccination against rabies for that pet.
B.
Current rabies vaccination. The owner of every dog and cat over four months of age shall have the
animal vaccinated against rabies. The time or times of vaccination shall be established by the State
Veterinary Commission. Rabies vaccine shall be administered as required in N.C.G.S. 130A-185.
C.
Adopted animals.  Every dog or cat adopted from the Animal Services Center shall be vaccinated 
by a licensed veterinarian or certified rabies vaccinator within 30 days of adoption unless the 
animal is under 4 months and then it shall be vaccinated when medically possible or when animal 
is brought back for spay or neuter surgery.  If the animal is over 4 months and not vaccinated prior 
to adoption, a rabies vaccine voucher shall be purchased.  Owners shall have the burden to provide 
vaccine information to Animal Enforcement and Animal Services after the animal received the 
vaccine.  If proof of vaccination is not provided to Animal Services within 30 days of adoption, 
Animal Services shall keep the deposit.  In addition, the adopted animal may be impounded by 
Animal Enforcement Officers and/or penalties may be assessed against the owner.
D.
Failure to vaccinate; penalty. The owner of a dog or cat not having a current rabies vaccination 
shall be subject to a civil penalty as determined in this Chapter if such owner does not produce a 
valid and current rabies vaccination tag or form within 5 days of the demand for same by an 
Animal Enforcement Officer or law enforcement officer. Failure to produce the tag or form under 
this subsection is a separate offense for each animal.
E.
Certification of vaccination.  The owners of dogs and cats 4 months of age or older shall have the 
dogs or cats vaccinated against rabies with an approved vaccine administered by a licensed 
veterinarian. The veterinarian shall issue the owner of the animal a vaccination certificate and 
such owner shall retain such certificate until vaccination is renewed.  At the time of vaccination, 
  
an owner shall be issued a metal tag by the veterinarian showing the information required by 
North Carolina state law.
F.
Tag required to be worn.  Every owner of a cat or dog shall affix a rabies tag on the dog or cat 
at all times while  off its owner’s premises. It shall be unlawful for any person other than the 
owner to remove the tag from the dog or cat. Tags do not have to be worn in the following
situations:  confinement on owner’s premises, animal shows, obedience trials, tracking tests, field
trials, training schools or events by a recognized organization, or supervised hunting.
G.
Tag, certificate, etc. not transferable.  No person shall use a rabies tag or veterinarian certificate or
receipt for any dog or cat than for the dog or cat to which the rabies tag, veterinarian certificate or 
receipt was issued.
H.
Owner to provide proof of vaccination.  Any Animal Enforcement Officer or any law enforcement
officer may at any reasonable time require an owner to provide proof of rabies vaccination for any
animals.  Any owner not possessing a current rabies tag, certificate or receipt for such dog or cat 
over 4 months of age shall fall under the “Enforcement” section below.
I.
Impoundment.  Any animal found off the owner’s property not wearing the required vaccination 
tag or an animal that has been under investigation by law enforcement in the last 30 days and did 
not have proper rabies identification at the time or subsequently on or off the owner’s property 
shall be impounded by an Animal Enforcement Officer.  During the impoundment period, the 
Animal Enforcement Officer shall make reasonable efforts to locate the animal’s owner.   
No animal shall be released until it is vaccinated against rabies, has a rabies voucher or the Animal
Services Center is presented with evidence of its current vaccination.  An animal impounded under
this section shall be released to its owner upon payment of all applicable fees, payment for care 
during the impoundment and cost of vaccination when necessary.
J.
Enforcement.
(1)
If an animal is found without a rabies tag on the owner’s property, the owner shall have 5
calendar days to obtain proper proof of vaccination and present to Animal Enforcement.  
a.
After 5 days, Animal Enforcement may check the vaccination on the animal and
if there is still no proof of rabies vaccination, the owner shall be assessed a 
rabies fine for 5 days.
b.
If after 5 days, the owner has proof of rabies vaccination for the animal(s), no 
fine shall be assessed.
(2)
If an animal is found off the owner’s property, the animal shall be impounded for 72 
hours for owner reclaim.  Prior to release, the animal’s vaccination history shall be 
verified and a rabies vaccine voucher shall be purchased if required.
§ 16-52. Report and confinement of dogs and cats biting persons or showing symptoms of rabies.
A.
Quarantine. Every dog or cat that has bitten a person or that shows symptoms of rabies 
shall be confined immediately and shall be promptly reported to the Animal Services Center, and 
thereupon shall be securely quarantined, at the direction of the Animal Services Center, for 10 days 
commencing from the time of the bite. Animals quarantined under this section shall be confined 
at the expense of the owner. 
(1)  
All dogs and cats shall be housed at the Animal Services Center unless approved 
by the Public Health Director or his/her designee in writing.
(2)  
Animals may be quarantined in approved veterinary quarantine at the veterinarian’s 
office.  This must be approved by the County Director of Public Health in writing. In 
instances where this option is used, the owner must sign a document produced by the 
County where the owner accepts all liability for the animal. At the end of the quarantine, 
the owner or the veterinarian must provide documentation stating the animal does not 
have rabies and has been properly vaccinated against rabies.
(3) 
Animals quarantined at the Henderson County Animal Shelter must be claimed no more 
than 24 hours after the end of the quarantine period.  After this period the animal shall be 
considered relinquished to Henderson County Animal Services.
B.
Authority to seize animals for noncompliance. If the owner or the person who controls or  
possesses the dog or cat refuses to confine the animal as required by this section, the County 
Director of Public Health may order seizure of the animal and its confinement for 10 days in such 
a place as the County Director of Public Health designates, at the expense of the owner.
C.
Disposition of animal other than dog, cat or ferret. An animal other than a dog or cat or ferret that 
bites a person shall be immediately euthanized and its head forwarded to the North Carolina State 
Laboratory of Public Health for rabies testing.
  
D.
Quarantine of stray animals. In the case of stray animals whose ownership is not known, the 
supervised quarantine required by this section shall be at the Animal Services Center.
E. 
Authority to euthanize unclaimed animals. If any animal is unclaimed after a 10 day confinement, 
then the Animal Services Director may have the animal euthanized.
F.
Release from quarantine. If rabies does not develop within the 10 day quarantine period under 
this section, the animal may be released from quarantine to its owner. If the animal had been 
confined by the Henderson County Sheriff’s Department, upon reclaiming the animal, the owner 
shall pay any such fee established by resolution of the Board of County Commissioners for each 
day of confinement to defray the cost of sheltering the animal.
G.
Report of bites. Every physician or other medical practitioner who treats a person or persons for 
any animal bite or scratch or any person having knowledge of an animal bite or scratch shall 
within 12 hours, report such treatment to the Animal Services Center giving the name, age, sex 
and precise location of the bitten/scratched person or persons and such other information as the 
officer or agency may require.
H.
Euthanization of wounded, diseased or suffering animals. Badly wounded, diseased, or suffering 
animals that are suspected of having rabies may be humanely euthanized immediately and the 
head forwarded for rabies testing.
§ 16-53. Destruction or confinement of animal bitten by known rabid animal.
A.
Animals not vaccinated against rabies that are bitten by or exposed to a known rabid animal or 
rabies suspect shall be immediately destroyed, unless  the owner agrees to strict isolation of the 
animal at a veterinary hospital for a period of up to 6 months at the owner's expense unless a 
similar quarantine facility is approved by the Public Health Director.
B.
If the animal has a current rabies vaccination, it shall be revaccinated within 72 hours of the bite.
§ 16-54. Area-wide emergency quarantine.
A.
Quarantine ordered. When reports indicate a positive diagnosis of rabies in an animal found within 
Henderson County or any adjacent County, the County Director of Public Health may order an
area-wide quarantine for such period, as he/she deems necessary. Upon invoking such emergency
quarantine, no dog or cat may be taken or shipped from the County without written permission of
the County Director of Public Health. The Director of Public Health can place a moratorium on
adoptions of animals from the County Shelter.  All Animal Services and law enforcement officers
are duly authorized by N.C.G.S. § 130A-195 to seize, impound or shoot any dog or cat found not
under control in the County during an emergency quarantine. During the quarantine period, the
County Director of Public Health shall be empowered to provide for a program of mass
immunization by the establishment of temporary emergency rabies vaccination facilities
strategically located throughout the County.
B.
Extension of quarantine. In the event there are additional positive cases of rabies occurring during 
the period of quarantine, such period of quarantine may be extended at the discretion of the 
County Director of Public Health.
§ 16-55. Postmortem rabies testing.
A.
Testing of dogs or cats under observation. If a dog or cat dies while under observation for rabies, 
the dog or cat shall be submitted to the Western Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory for 
shipment to the State Laboratory of Public Health for rabies testing.
B.
Surrender of dead dog or cat. The carcass of any dead dog or cat exposed to rabies shall be 
surrendered to the Animal Services Center. The animal shall be submitted to the State Laboratory 
of Public Health for rabies testing.
§ 16-56. Unlawful killing or releasing of certain animals.
It shall be unlawful for any person to kill or release any dog or cat that is under observation for rabies, suspected of
having been exposed to rabies, or having bitten a human; or to remove such dog or cat from the County without
written permission from the County Director of Public Health. Violation of this section shall be subject to penalties
as prescribed in § 16-58. 
§ 16-57. Failure to surrender dog or cat for quarantine or euthanasia.
It shall be unlawful for any person to fail or refuse to surrender any dog or cat for quarantine or euthanasia as
required in this Chapter when demand is made therefore by the County Director of Public Health or his/her
designee. 
  
§ 16-58. Civil penalties.
In addition to and independent of any criminal penalties and other sanctions provided in this article, violation of this
article may also subject the offender to the civil penalties hereinafter set forth:
A.
The Animal Services Director, Animal Enforcement Officers, Sheriff, or Sheriff's Deputies may
issue to the known owner of any animal, or to any other violator of the provisions of this Chapter,
a citation. Citations so issued may be delivered in person or mailed by certified or registered mail
to the person charged if that person cannot be readily found. The citation shall impose upon the
violator a minimum civil penalty of $50 or such greater amounts for offenses as may be set by this
ordinance. The imposed civil penalty shall be paid in full to the Animal Services Center 
within 30 days of receipt of the citation assessing the civil penalty. This civil penalty is in addition
to other fees or costs authorized by this Chapter.
B.
In the event that the owner of an animal or other alleged violator does not appear in response to 
the above-described citation or the applicable civil penalty is not paid within the time period 
prescribed, a civil action may be commenced to recover the penalty and costs associated with 
collection of the penalty, and/or criminal summons may be issued against the owner or other 
alleged violator of this Chapter.  Upon conviction, the owner shall be punished as provided by 
state law. The Sheriff is expressly authorized to initiate and prosecute small claims actions in 
District Court to collect civil penalties and fees due to the Department and may call on the County
Legal Department for assistance as  needed.
C.
The following civil penalties are hereby established and subject to revision by the Board of 
County Commissioners for each incident violation of this Chapter:
Section
Violated
Animal Service Civil Penalty Fee Schedule Description
Civil Penalty
Fee
16-51C
Failure to have current rabies vaccination for an animal (per day, not
including quarantine time)
$100
16-56
Killing or release of an observed animal
$500
16-57
Failure to surrender an animal for rabies quarantine (per day)
$250
§ 16-59 Spay-Neuter Assistance Program
A.
Purpose.  To promote spay and neuter of domestic dogs and cats by providing funds and education 
for alteration for Henderson County residents on spay and neuter services and issues. 
B.
Assistance Program.  For the purpose of this section, adoption means not commercially sold and
includes all rescues, havens, shelters or other animal welfare, non-profit organizations in
Henderson County, in addition to the County Animal Services Center.
C. 
Assistance Program. 
(1)
Authority. Henderson County Animal Services is authorized to establish, equip, operate, 
maintain and provide spay/neuter services for Henderson County dogs and cats.  Animal 
Services is likewise authorized to contract with any individual, corporation, nonprofit 
organization, governmental body or any other group for the purpose of providing 
alteration services for Henderson County cats and dogs.  
(2)
Assistance Fund.  Henderson County Animal Services Center may establish a Spay and 
Neuter Assistance Program Fund to collect and distribute funds to assist eligible residents
of Henderson County with financial resources for animal alteration.  These monies may 
also be used toward education program costs. Funds collected at the Henderson County 
Animal Services Rabies Clinics shall be contributed to this fund.
(3)
SNAP Voucher program.  Vouchers may be available at the Henderson County Animal 
Services Center to low-income residents of Henderson County which may be redeemed 
for spay/neuter services at designated local providers.
(4)
Boarding charge.   Henderson County Animal Services shall establish a return date by 
which a person submitting an animal for alteration shall pick up the animal or be subject 
to a reasonable boarding fee as established by Henderson County to commence after the 
return date.  If the animal is not picked up within 5 business days of the return date, 
Animal Services shall consider the animal abandoned and/or relinquished and may adopt 
out or euthanize the animal as necessary.
D.
Education program.  
  
(1)
Written Information.  Henderson County will prepare and distribute educational information to
Henderson County pet owners regarding responsible pet ownership and retention, importance of
animal alteration, and resources to assist eligible pet owners have their animals altered.
(2)
Educational events.  Henderson County may coordinate with related organizations and
individuals to provide Henderson County residents with classes, events, and other activities to
enhance the community’s awareness of animal issues including animal overpopulation,
responsible pet ownership and retention and the importance of alteration.  
(3)
Henderson County may prepare and distribute educational information regarding responsible pet
ownership, animal alteration, spay/neuter assistance, and resources for assistance with other
issues.
(4)
Educational Events. Henderson County may coordinate with related organizations and
individuals to provide Henderson County residents with classes, events, and other activities to
enhance the community’s awareness of animal issues.
§16-60 Through 16-85. (Reserved) 
Article III Companion Animal Registry
§16-86. Companion Animal Registration. No household shall own, house, or care for more than 10 domestic
animals on their property without registering with Animal Services Center.
A.
Law enforcement shall be permitted to inspect all registered parties at any time.  Refusal of inspection shall
be grounds for registry revocation. 
B.
The owner must notify Animal services if the number of animals increases.
§16-87. Enforcement.
Failure to comply with the provisions of this Article may result in criminal or civil penalties as contemplated in 
§16-19 of this Ordinance. Violators with more than 10 animals who are not registered or have excess animals from
their registry must pay $50 per additional animal more than 10 per day they are in violation.  Excess animals may
also be impounded at the owner’s expense. Excess animals impounded under this Article must be reclaimed within
24 hours of impoundment or become the immediate property of Henderson County.  
§16-88.  Compliance with Existing Laws.
Nothing in this Article shall be construed to conflict or supplant any federal, state or municipal laws, rules or
regulations especially those concerning the licensing of kennels, shelters or pet shops. Nor shall anything in this
Article conflict with any state, local, or municipal laws regarding land use.
§ 16-89 Through 16-93.  (Reserved)
Article IV. Livestock
§ 16-94.  Allowing livestock to run at large forbidden.  
If any person shall intentionally, willfully, knowingly or negligently allow his livestock to run at large, he shall be
guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor. 
§ 16-95.  Impounding livestock at large; right to recover costs and damages
Any person may take up any livestock running at large or straying and impound the same; and such impounder may
recover from the owner the reasonable costs of impounding and maintaining the livestock as well as damages to the
impounder caused by such livestock, and may retain the livestock, with the right to use with proper care until such
recovery is had. Reasonable costs of impounding shall include any fees paid in order to locate the owner.  
 
§ 16-96.  Notice and demand when owner known. 
If the owner of impounded livestock is or becomes known to the impounder, actual notice of the whereabouts of the
impounded livestock must be immediately given to the owner and the impounder must then make demand upon the
owner of the livestock for the costs of impoundment and the damages to the impounder, if any, caused by such
livestock. 
 
  
§ 16-97.  Notice when owner not known. 
If the owner of the impounded livestock is not known or cannot be found, the impounder shall inform the register of
deeds that he has impounded the livestock and provide the register of deeds with a description of the livestock.  The
register of deeds shall record the information in a book kept for that purpose, and shall charge the impounder a fee
of $10.00.  The register of deeds shall immediately publish a notice of the impoundment of the animal by posting a
notice on the courthouse door.  The notice on the courthouse door shall be posted for 30 days, and shall contain a
full description of the livestock impounded, including all marks or brands on the livestock, and shall state when and
where the animal was taken up.  The impounder shall publish once, in some newspaper published and distributed in
the county, a notice containing the same information as the notice posted by the register of deeds. The fees for
publishing the notice shall be paid by the impounder.  
 
§ 16-98.  Determination of damages by selected landowners or by referee.
If the owner and impounder cannot agree as to the cost of impounding and maintaining such livestock, as well as
damages to the impounder caused by such livestock running at large, then such costs and damages shall be
determined by three disinterested landowners, 1 to be selected by the owner of the livestock, 1 to be selected by the
impounder and a third to be selected by the first 2. If within 10 days a majority of the landowners so selected cannot
agree, or if the owner of the livestock or the impounder fails to make his selection, or if the 2 selected fail to select a
third, then the Clerk of Superior Court of the county where the livestock is impounded shall select a referee. The
determination of such costs and damages by the landowners or by the referee shall be final. 
 
§ 16-99. Notice of sale and sale where owner fails to redeem or is unknown; application of proceeds.  
If the owner fails to redeem his livestock within 3 days after the notice and demand as provided herein is received or
within 3 days after the determination of the costs and damages as provided in this article, then, upon written notice
fully describing the livestock, stating the place, date, and hour of sale posted at the courthouse door and 3 or more
public places in the township where the owner resides, and after 10 days from such posting, the impounder shall sell
the livestock at public auction. If the owner of the livestock remains unknown to the impounder, then, 30 days after
publication of the notice required herein, the impounder shall post at the courthouse door and 3 public places in the
township where the livestock is impounded a written notice fully describing the livestock, and stating the place,
date, and hour of sale.  After 20 days from such posting, the impounder shall sell the livestock at public auction. The
proceeds of any such public sale shall be applied to pay the reasonable costs of impounding and maintaining the
livestock and the damages to the impounder caused by the livestock.  Reasonable costs of impounding shall include
any fees paid pursuant to this article in an attempt to locate the owner of the livestock. The balance, if any, shall be
paid to the owner of the livestock, if known, or, if the owner is not known, then to the school fund of the county
where the livestock was impounded. 
 
§16-100.  Illegally releasing or receiving impounded livestock misdemeanor. 
If any person willfully releases any lawfully impounded livestock without the permission of the impounder or
receives such livestock knowing that it was unlawfully released, he shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor. 
 
§ 16-101.  Impounded livestock to be fed and watered.
If any person shall impound or cause to be impounded any livestock and shall fail to supply to the livestock during
the confinement a reasonably adequate quantity of good and wholesome feed and water, he shall be guilty of a Class
3 misdemeanor. 
 
§ 16-102.  Right to feed impounded livestock; owner liable. 
When any livestock is impounded under the provisions of this Chapter and remains without reasonably adequate
food and water for more than 24 hours, any person may lawfully enter the area of impoundment to supply the
livestock with food and water. Such person shall not be liable in trespass for such entry and may recover of the
owner or, if the owner is unknown, of the impounder of the livestock, the reasonable costs of the food and water. 
 
§ 16-103.  Penalties for violation of this Article.
A violation of this article is a Class 3 misdemeanor. 
§ 16-104.  Domestic fowls running at large after notice.
If any person shall permit any turkeys, geese, chickens, ducks or other domestic fowls to run at large on the lands of
any other person while such lands are under cultivation in any kind of grain or feedstuff or while being used for
gardens or ornamental purposes, after having received actual or constructive notice of such running at large, he shall
be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.
  
If it shall appear to any magistrate that after 3 days' notice any person persists in allowing his fowls to run at large in
violation of this section and fails or refuses to keep them upon his own premises, then said magistrate may, in his
discretion, order the Sheriff or other officer to kill the fowls when they are running at large as herein provided. 
§16-105.  Codification of General Statutes. 
This Article codifies N.C.G.S. Chapter 68, Article 3, its subsequent amendments, additions, or deletions, and the
case law of the State of North Carolina arising there under.
§16-106. Through 16-125. (Reserved)
This Chapter, including revisions, was approved by the Henderson County Board of Commissioners on this the ___
day of __________, 2013.
____________________________________
Charlie Messer, Chairman
Attest:
(County Seal)
_______________________________
Terry Wilson, Clerk to the Board