§ 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
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.