§ 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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.  
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 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.