Article II - Miscellaneous
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.
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.
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.
animal vaccinated against rabies. The time or times of vaccination shall be established by the State
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.
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.
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.
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 owners 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 owners premises, animal shows, obedience trials, tracking tests, field
trials, training schools or events by a recognized organization, or supervised hunting.
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.
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.
Impoundment. Any animal found off the owners 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 owners property
shall be impounded by an Animal Enforcement Officer. During the impoundment period, the
Animal Enforcement Officer shall make reasonable efforts to locate the animals 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.
If an animal is found without a rabies tag on the owners property, the owner shall have 5
calendar days to obtain proper proof of vaccination and present to Animal Enforcement.
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.
If after 5 days, the owner has proof of rabies vaccination for the animal(s), no
fine shall be assessed.
If an animal is found off the owners property, the animal shall be impounded for 72
hours for owner reclaim. Prior to release, the animals vaccination history shall be
verified and a rabies vaccine voucher shall be purchased if required.
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.
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.
Animals may be quarantined in approved veterinary quarantine at the veterinarians
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Sheriffs 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.
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.
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.
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.
If the animal has a current rabies vaccination, it shall be revaccinated within 72 hours of the bite.
§ 16-54. Area-wide emergency quarantine.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
The following civil penalties are hereby established and subject to revision by the Board of
County Commissioners for each incident violation of this Chapter:
Animal Service Civil Penalty Fee Schedule Description
Failure to have current rabies vaccination for an animal (per day, not
including quarantine time)
Killing or release of an observed animal
Failure to surrender an animal for rabies quarantine (per day)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 communitys awareness of animal issues including animal overpopulation,
responsible pet ownership and retention and the importance of alteration.
Henderson County may prepare and distribute educational information regarding responsible pet
ownership, animal alteration, spay/neuter assistance, and resources for assistance with other
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 communitys awareness of animal issues.
§16-60 Through 16-85. (Reserved)