§ 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.
Adoption- the legal taking of ownership voluntarily and accepting all responsibilities and
liabilities therein.
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 are 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 by 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 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.
Animal Services 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 or 
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 one (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 - 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. 
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.
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 an animal (same as “Rescue”).  A haven 
must comply with the companion animal permit program unless it falls under state law.
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.
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 is 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 that is intended to be implanted within an animal.
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.
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, 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 that: 
Frequently runs at large as determined by one verbal or written warning;
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;
Causes unsanitary or unsafe conditions; 
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.
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.
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 - 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.
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 a 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.