§ 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.