Start Back Next End
Part 1 - Animal Regulations
Article I - General Provisions
Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of Henderson County. Amended 3-23-2005; 5-19-2006; 11-
§ 16-1. Definitions.
The following terms are defined for purposes of this Chapter: 
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. 
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.
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.
Adult - A person 18 years of age or older who has not been judicially declared incompetent.
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 is not limited to: 
Any domestic animal when unprovoked bites, claws, or attempts to bite or claw  
any person;
Any domestic animal found to menace, chase, threaten any person;
Any domestic animal which engages in or is found to be trained to engage in 
Any domestic animal that terrorizes a person such as repeated  unprovoked 
aggressive encounters or by pinning the person in an area without a clear and 
reasonable escape; or
Any domestic animal approaching a person where the individual must fend the 
animal off by yelling,
brandishing an object, or discharging a weapon.
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.
Animal Service 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.
Animal Service Director - The director placed in supervision of the Animal Services Center.
At Large - An animal when: 
Not on the owner’s property, 
Not under control of a competent person or unrestrained by a leash, 
harness, or 
Not controlled by other similar physical means. 
Cat - A domestic feline of either sex.
Companion Animal - Any dog or cat.
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.
County - Henderson County, North Carolina
County Director of Public Health - The Director of the Henderson County Department of Public 
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 
A dog that, without provocation, has killed or inflicted severe injury on a person.
Any dog owned or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting,  
or any dog trained for dog fighting.
A dog that is determined hereunder to be potentially dangerous because the dog  
has engaged in 1 or more behaviors listed below. The following criteria shall 
be used in identifying a potentially dangerous dog: 
A dog that has inflicted a bite on a person that resulted in broken bones, 
disfiguring lacerations, or requiring surgery or hospitalization.
A dog that has killed or inflicted severe injury upon a domestic animal  
or livestock when not on the owner's real property. 
A dog that has approached a person when not on the owner's property 
in an apparent attitude of attack.
A dog shall not be deemed dangerous solely because it bites, attacks, or menaces: 
Anyone assaulting or threatening the owner or trespassing on the 
owner's property; 
Any person or other animal that has provoked, tormented, or abused it;  
While protecting or defending its young. 
Day - A period of 24 hours, including Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. 
Department - The County Animal Services Department and Animal Enforcement.
Dog - A domestic canine of either sex. 
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.
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. 
Exposed to Rabies - Any 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. 
Frivolous - Any complaint which is filed more than three 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.
General Statutes - The North Carolina General Statutes, as amended.
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.
Haven - A nonprofit organization that provides care for animal.  Same as “Rescue”.  A haven 
must comply with the companion animal permit program unless it falls under state law.
Hybrid - A "hybrid” is any animal which is the product of the breeding of a domestic animal 
with a non-domesticated animal, including but not limited to other hybrid animals or wolves.
Impound - To apprehend, seize, catch, trap, net, quarantine, tranquilize, or confine an animal in a 
humane manner. 
Incorporated Area - Any area located within any incorporated municipality located wholly or in 
part within the County.
Inherently Dangerous Animal-
Any live animal including hybrids which, due to their inherent 
nature, may be considered dangerous to humans and include but not limited to:
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).
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).
Ursidae, including any member of the bear family, or any hybrids thereof.
Venomous Reptiles.
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 
Microchip - An electronic identification device which is intended to be implanted within an 
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 1 owner  
responsible for an animal.
Owner's Real Property - Any real property owned or leased by the owner, but not including any 
public right-of-way or common area.
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.
Provocation - With respect to an animal that has bitten or attacked a person or 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.
Public Nuisance - An animal’s behavior or owner’s maintenance of an animal that adversely 
impacts the health, safety, or welfare of the animal, the owner, or the public. Any animal  
determined to be a nuisance under this Ordinance must be micro chipped within 10 days of the 
nuisance determination.
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
to 199.  Quarantine orders may also be issued by the local health director for up to 6 months
when a domestic animal suffers a rabies exposure.
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.
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.
Stray - Any 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.
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.
Trespass - Wrongful invasion of the property of another
Unaltered - An animal that has not been spayed or neutered.
Unfounded - Any complaint without merit or validity, and in which a reasonable and prudent 
person would find such lack of merit or validity readily apparent.
Unincorporated Area - Any area of the County not within an incorporated area.
Vaccination - The administration of the rabies vaccine as required by N.C.G.S 130A-185.
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. 
Purpose.  As determined by state law, the Animal Services Center: 
Prevent the abuse and neglect of animals (N.C.GS. 153A-127); 
Protect the public health, safety, and welfare (N.C.G.S. 153A-121); 
Enforce regulations regarding the possession or harboring of dangerous/potentially 
dangerous dogs (N.C.G.S. 153A-131); 
Protect the public and domestic animals from rabies N.C.G.S. 130A-185
Educate the public regarding proper care for animals.
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.
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
Service Center.  The Board 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
Duties and responsibilities of Animal Services Director:
Enforcing all County ordinances relating to the care, custody and control of domestic
Operating the County Animal Service Center pursuant to policies adopted by the County
Board of Commissioners.
Keeping, or causing to be kept, accurate and detailed records of: 
Impoundment and disposition of all animals coming into custody of the Animal 
Service Center.
All monies derived from fees and penalties.
Any other matters deemed necessary by the Animal Services Director.
Duties and responsibilities of Animal Enforcement
Enforcing all County ordinances relating to the care, custody and control of domestic
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.
Investigating complaints with regard to animals arising under this Chapter.
Protecting animals from neglect; investigating animal mistreatment, as defined in §16-11.
Seizing and arranging for impoundment, where deemed necessary, of any animal
involved in a violation of this Ordinance or the General Statutes.
Keeping, or causing to be kept, accurate and detailed records of: 
Seizure, impoundment, and disposition of all animals coming into custody of the
Animal Service Center.
Bite cases, violations and complaints, and investigation of same,
names and addresses of persons bitten, date, circumstances, and breed.
All monies derived from fees and penalties.
Any other matters deemed necessary by the Sheriff.
§ 16-5. Citations.
The Animal Service 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 Service 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.
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.
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. 
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.
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 such 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.
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. 
Maintaining animals in an unsanitary environmental which results in odors considered 
excessive to a reasonable person or is dangerous to the animal  or to the public health, 
safety, welfare, or a failure to maintain a condition of good order and cleanliness which 
reduces the probability of  transmission of disease.
Maintaining the owner’s property in a manner that is offensive, annoying or dangerous to
the public health, safety, welfare of community because of number, type, variety, density,
or location of animals on the property.  This includes the keeping, possessing, or 
harboring of wild or feral animals which threaten the public health, safety, and welfare.
Maintaining an animal that is diseased and dangerous to the public health.
Harboring, keeping, owning, or possessing an animal which is at large or is repeatedly at 
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 or motor vehicles or pedestrians, 
damages private or public property, turns over garbage cans or deposits feces on another's private 
property or on public property. The prohibition against running at large does not apply to animals 
in designated off-leash areas.
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. 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 Owners, where there is determined to be nuisances, shall be notified and ordered to abate 
said nuisance within 10 days by whatever means necessary. Failure to comply within this time 
frame shall constitute a separate offense for each day thereafter the violation continues. No civil 
penalty shall accrue during the 10 day warning period.
Reporting.  Upon receipt of a detailed complaint to Animal Enforcement, the owner shall be 
notified by certified or registered mail or by hand delivery.
Appeal.  The owner shall have 10 days to appeal the nuisance determination to the Animal 
Services Appellate Board.
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.
§ 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.
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 which has killed a person shall be immediately euthanized by
the Animal Service Center. 
Reporting requirement.  Any attack or biting by a dog upon a person, livestock, or 
domestic animal; transfer, gift, sale or other conveyance of ownership or possession of a 
dangerous or potentially dangerous dog; confinement to a Veterinary facility; removal 
from territorial jurisdiction of the county;  animal’s death must be reported by any of the 
following individuals:
owner, keeper, harborer of a dog deemed dangerous/ potentially dangerous or of
a dog who has attacked or  bitten a person or domestic animal;
victim of or person witnessing such of an attack or biting;
veterinarian treating a domestic animal for such an attack or biting;
Health care professional treating a person for such an attack or biting.
The report must be made to the Sheriff’s Office within 24 hours of the event.
Failure to report an incident within 24 hours may result in criminal and  civil penalties 
under this Ordinance and personal liability in subsequent incidents.
Exemptions. The provisions of this Chapter do not apply to dogs causing injuries when: 
Used by law enforcement agencies to carry out official law enforcement duties; 
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 
Protecting the owner or owner's premises from trespassers and other criminal perpetrators
while on its owner's premises; 
Protecting itself or its young from assault, torment, or abuse.
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 which 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.
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. 
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 Service Director, and must be received by the Animal Service Director or 
postmarked within 5 calendar days of the receipt by the owner of notice of the 
Pending the appeal, the owner of a dog declared dangerous/potentially dangerous shall 
comply with the provisions of § 16-10E. 
Hearing procedures. Once properly appealed, the Animal Service Appellate Board shall 
conduct a public quasi-judicial hearing to determine whether the declaration of the animal
as dangerous/potentially dangerous is correct. 
Outcome. If the dog is affirmed by the Animal Service Appellate Board as being 
dangerous/potentially dangerous, then the owner shall comply with the terms of § 16-
10E, F, G. Any person who owns a dog affirmed dangerous/potentially dangerous by the 
Animal Service Appellate Board or its designee has the right to appeal this determination 
to the Superior Court.
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: 
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: 
Confine the dog within the owner's residence; or,
Erect and confine the dog (except when muzzled and controlled as required 
below) in a securely enclosed and padlocked pen with a concrete bottom and 
secure top within 30 days. 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,
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.
Any dog deemed dangerous shall not be permitted in public recreation areas, 
including dog parks, parks or greenways.
The owner must post a warning sign, of at least 120 square inches, which is to be visible 
to any adjoining property from each exposure of the residence or the structure in which 
the dangerous/potentially dangerous dog 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.
Microchip. Within 10 days of the determination or appeal determination, the owner of a 
dangerous/ potentially dangerous dog must demonstrate to the Animal Enforcement that 
such dog had a microchip implanted. 
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.
Control Measures.  
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 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.
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.
Notification. Within 24 hours: 
Of change of address or ownership of a dangerous/potentially dangerous dog, the owner 
shall provide written notification of the change of address or ownership to the Sheriff, 
stating the full name if there’s a new owner, address, and location of the new owner of 
the dog. 
Of the death of a dangerous/potentially dangerous dog, the owner shall provide written 
notification of the dog's death to the Sheriff.
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 Service
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, 
The owner of the animal must notify the Sheriff and the new jurisdiction to which the
animal is being moved that this dog has been deemed a dangerous/potentially dangerous
The Sheriff also shall notify the new jurisdiction that the animal has been deemed
dangerous and the circumstances surrounding the case.
The owner must comply with any local regulations regarding dangerous dogs in the new
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. 
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(s) at a 
private facility or kennel, the person liable for the animal will pay the rate established by 
those facilities.
Release from impoundment. 
No dog deemed dangerous or potentially dangerous who 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.
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.
No dog deemed dangerous or potentially dangerous may be adopted. 
All dogs deemed dangerous or potentially dangerous must be altered within 30 
days of the determination.
§ 16-11. Mistreatment of animals prohibited. 
It shall be unlawful for any person owning, keeping or responsible for an animal to deprive or cause to be deprived
animal of adequate food, adequate water, adequate shelter (as defined above in 16-1) and necessary medical
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.
Adequate Shelter.
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. 
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 for the purpose of promoting bird aggression.
An owner of an animal shall not permit injury or inflict pain upon such animal from an improperly
fitting or embedded collar or harness.
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.  
An owner of animal shall not hit, physically abuse, or torment the animal.
§ 16-12.  Destruction of animals that cannot be seized or confined by reasonable means. 
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. 
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. Setting humane animal traps; authority to receive trapped animals.
The Sheriff and Animal Enforcement Officers are authorized to place, upon request, County-owned live-capture
animal traps on private or public property to trap and remove stray, at large, unwanted, or nuisance dogs or cats. It is
unlawful for any person other than the Sheriff or an Animal Enforcement Officer to remove any dog or cat from the
trap or to damage, destroy, or move, or tamper with the trap. The Sheriff is authorized to receive and impound
animals that are trapped by other agencies or persons. Animal Enforcement Officers may not remove animals from
privately owned traps in the field. Privately owned traps may be brought to the Animal Service Center for removal
of animals. 
§ 16-14. Impoundment.
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 Service 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.
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.
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 Service 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 Service 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.  All animals will have proof of current rabies vaccination or purchase of a rabies 
vaccine voucher and a voucher for microchip installation prior to release at the owner’s expense.  
All fees and expenses must be paid prior to the release of the animal.
All animals impounded 
by Animal Services shall be micro chipped. Animal and owner must be in compliance with state 
and federal law prior to redemption.
Adoption or euthanasia of unredeemed dog or cat. 
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 
Service 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. 
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 Service Center. 
All unaltered dogs and cats adopted from the Animal Service Center shall be spayed or 
neutered 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 
All dogs and cats adopted from the Animal Service Center which do not already have 
implanted in them a microchip shall have the same implanted in them prior to adoption.  
All dogs and cats adopted from the Animal Service Center shall have proof of current 
rabies vaccination, or purchase of a rabies vaccine voucher, prior to adoption.
Adoption Exceptions. 
The Animal Service Center has the right to refuse adoption of  animals to 
persons less than 18 years of age.
The Animal Service 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.  
The Animal Services Center has the right to adopt animals to qualified non-
profit organizations who meet the Center’s policy.  
The Animal Service Center has the right to refuse adoption of  animals to any 
individual who has relinquished an animal within the last 12 months.
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) have met the 
requirements under this Ordinance for control measures and enclosures. 
Fee Schedule for Impoundment/Adoption of Animals shall be established by the Board of
Commissioners within the annual approved budget.
Suspected rabid dogs or cats 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.
Final disposition of all unclaimed animals shall be arranged for by the Animal Service 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 
The Animal Service 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 Service
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: 
That he or she is the legal owner of the animal;
That the owner permits the animal to be placed for adoption or humanely destroyed;
That the owner will indemnify and hold the Animal Service Center and County harmless for fees, 
by reason of destruction of, or placement for adoption of, said  animal; and
That the owner transfers ownership of said animal to the Animal Service Center and releases the 
Department from any and all future claims with respect to said animal.
Reason for surrender for data collection purposes and to notify potential adopted owners of any 
significant problems.
§ 16-16.  Redemption of unvaccinated animal.
Proof of vaccination. Unless proof of a current rabies vaccination can be furnished, every person 
who redeems a dog or cat at the Animal Service 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.
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 including the receipt of a rabies voucher.
§ 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 upon the advice of a licensed veterinarian. If the animal has
identification, the Animal Service 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: 
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
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.
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 
Issuance of a citation. Issuance of a citation for violation of this Chapter is directed toward and 
against the owner. The purpose of the issuance of 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: 
Give notice of the violation(s) alleged of the owner; 
State the civil penalties for such violation(s); 
State the date by which any penalties for such violation(s) must be paid; and 
State that the County may initiate after such date a civil action to collect the civil 
penalties which are and may become due. 
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.
The Animal Service 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 
or such greater amounts for offenses as may be set by ordinance. The imposed civil
penalty shall be paid in full to the Animal Service 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.
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
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. 
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.
The following civil penalties are hereby established for each incident violation of this 
Animal Service Civil Penalty Fee Schedule Description
Penalty Fee
Interference with Animal Enforcement Officer, or agent (per incident)
Concealment of an animal to evade ordinance (per day of violation)
Public nuisance:
First violation
Second violation
Third (and subsequent) violation (per day of violation)
Keeping a dangerous/potentially dangerous dog:
Unattended/loose/unrestrained (per day)
Without tattoo/microchip (per day)
Failing to notify of change of address or death (per day)
Failing to present proof of transferee responsibility (per day)
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
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.
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.
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 
The final determination regarding the imposition and amount of fines shall be determined
by the County and alternative settlements shall be allowed where appropriate.
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. 
Fees for Animal Service services 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, to fail to notify within 24 hours of such injury at least 1 of
the following:
The owner of the animal.
An Animal Enforcement Officer.
An appropriate law enforcement official. 
The Animal Service Center.
§ 16-24.  Restraint/confinement of domestic animals required. 
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.
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.
This section pertains to all domestic animals with the following exceptions:
Dogs used for control of livestock as long as said animal is in the process of controlling 
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.
Dogs or cats while being exhibited or trained at a kennel club, or similar event, as long as
said animal is in the process of participating in a kennel club, field trial or similar event.
Dogs used for law enforcement while training and/or acting in the line of duty. 
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, who 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, or
harass people, other dogs, or wildlife.
§ 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.
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.
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.  For the purpose of this provision, 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.
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
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
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.  
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.
Determination.  Animal Enforcement Officers or the Animal Services Director or his/her designee 
may determine that an animal is aggressive.
The determination must be made in writing and provided to the owner or keeper of the 
Appeal. Any appeals under this provision must be made in writing to the Animal Services
Director or postmarked within 5 calendar days from the time of the determination.  
Upon receipt of the appeal, the Animal Services Appellate Board shall hear the 
appeal at its next regularly scheduled meeting.
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. 
Control Measures.
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 shall not be permitted in public 
recreation areas including  parks, dog parks, or greenways.
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.  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.  
Micro chipping. Any animal deemed aggressive must be micro chipped within 5 days of 
the determination.
Signage. The owner of an aggressive animal must post a warning sign, of at least 120 
square inches, which 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
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, if 
any, 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. 
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.
Penalties and Consequences of Noncompliance.
Penalty. Penalties for violations of aggressive animals can be found in §16-19.
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.
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.
Exceptions.  No animal shall be deemed aggressive in instances where:
The person is unlawfully present on the premise occupied by the owner or keeper;
The behavior is committed against a person who is or has teased, abused, tormented, or 
assaulted the animal;
Where the person is committing or attempting to commit a crime;
The animal is involved in a hunt with its owner;
Animal is protecting the owner or the animal’s young.
§ 16 -28.  Prohibition of possession of inherently dangerous or wild animals
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.
Exceptions: Persons with a valid and current government-issued license shall be exempt.  Person 
must currently hold the license.
Recapturing: The owner of any inherently dangerous animal or wild animal shall reimburse 
Henderson County for all cost 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.
Animal Enforcement may take and impound an animal under these provisions at any time
for the protection of public health, safety, and welfare.
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 
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)