Wilson County Animal Control Ordinance
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
ANIMAL CONTROL ORDINANCE
Section I: Definitions
Animal: Every living domestic creature, but does not include humans.
Animal Shelter: Any premises designated by the Board of Commissioners for the purpose of impounding and caring for animals.
At Large: An animal shall be deemed to be at large when it is off the property of its owner or keeper and not under physical restraint.
Commercial Animal Establishment: Any pet shop, grooming shop, auction, riding school or stable, zoological park, circus, animal exhibition or kennel.
Exposed to Rabies: An animal shall be deemed to have been exposed to rabies if it has been bitten by, or been in the presence of, any animal known or suspected to have been infected with rabies.
Grooming Shop: Any establishment, whether operated separately or in connection with another business enterprise which provides hair and nail clipping, bathing, and other cosmetic services for animals.
Health Director: Health Director of the Wilson County Health Department.
Impoundment: Any animal in custody of a person or animal shelter duly authorized by the County Manager or, when required by this Ordinance, the Health Director.
Keeper: A person having custody of an animal or who keeps harbors or fosters an animal. A keeper knowingly permits an animal to remain on or about any premises occupied or controlled by such person.
Kennel: Any premises wherein a person boards, lets for hire, trains for a fee, breeds, buys or sells dogs or cats. This shall not include the ownership of dogs which are part of the household or which are maintained adjoining a private residence for hunting, tracking practice, exhibition, or the guarding or protection of the owner’s property when no more than five (5) dogs per year are sold by such owner.
Nuisance: An animal or group of animals shall be considered a nuisance if it:
a. damages, soils, or defiles private, or public property routinely traveled by the public;
b. interferes with, molests, or attacks persons or other domestic animals or pets;
c. is repeatedly at large;
d. causes unsanitary, dangerous or offensive conditions including fouling of the air by odors;
e. chases, snaps at, harasses, or impedes pedestrians, bicyclists, or vehicles;
f. by virtue of number or type is offensive or dangerous to the public health, safety, or welfare;
g. is diseased or dangerous to the public health.
Owner: Any person or legal entity that has possessory property right in a dog or other animal.
Pet: Any animal kept for pleasure rather than utility.
Pet Shop: Any commercial establishment whether operated separately or in connection with another business enterprise, except for a licensed kennel, that buys, sells, or boards any species of animal.
Riding School or Stable: Any place which has available for hire boarding and or riding instruction any horse, pony, donkey, or burro.
Restraint: Any animal shall be considered under restraint if it is within the real property limits of its owner, or secured by a leash or lead, or confined.
Security Dog: Any dog used, kept or maintained in the county for the purpose of protecting any person or property. Any such dog shall be further classified as a patrol dog, sentry dog, or watch dog.
a. Patrol Dog - A dog that is trained or conditioned to attack or otherwise respond aggressively, but only upon command from a handler either off or on lead.
b. Sentry Dog - A dog that is trained or conditioned to attack or otherwise response aggressively without command.
c. Watch Dog - A dog that barks and threatens to bite any intruder and that has not been specially trained or conditioned for that purpose.
Service Animal: an animal certified to provide assistance to a person or persons
Stray: Any animal not under restraint and found off the property of its owner or keeper.
Suspected of Having Rabies: An animal which is unvaccinated against rabies or has bitten a person.
Tethering: For the purpose of this ordinance tethering is defined as the securing of an animal to an anchor point to confine it to a desired area. There are several types of tethering; fixed and running.
Veterinary Hospital: Any establishment maintained and operated by a licensed veterinarian for surgery, diagnosis and treatment of diseases and injuries of animals.
Vicious Animal: An animal that constitutes a physical threat to humans or other domestic animals. An animal is deemed vicious by animal control authorities by the following criteria;
a. inflicts a bite on a person that results in broken bones or disfiguring lacerations, requiring cosmetic surgery or hospitalization; or
b. killed or inflicted severe injury upon a domestic animal when not on the owner’s real property; or
c. approaches a person when not on the owner’s property in a vicious or terrorizing manner in an apparent attitude of attack
Dangerous Dog: As defined in North Carolina General Statute 67-4.1. A dog that with out provocation has killed or inflicted severe injury on a person; or is determined by the Sheriff or Health Director or person designated by the Sheriff or Health Director to be potentially dangerous because the dog has engaged in one or more of the behaviors listed in the next paragraph. Any dog owned or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting, or any dog trained for dog fighting.
Potentially dangerous dog: means a dog that the Sheriff or Health Director or the person designated by the Sheriff or Health Director who are responsible for animal control determined to have;
a. Inflicted a bite on a person that resulted in broken bones or disfiguring lacerations or required cosmetic surgery or hospitalization; or
b. Killed or inflicted serious injury upon a domestic animal when not on the owner’s real property; or
c. Approached a person when not on the owner’s property in a vicious or terrorizing manner in an apparent attitude of attack.
Section II Agency Authority and Responsibility
Authority is hereby transferred from the Board of Commissioners to the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office to establish and maintain an animal control program, to employ animal control officers and such other employees as shall be determined necessary by the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, and to appoint and compensate animal control officers and such other employees in accordance with policies of Wilson County Sheriff’s Office.
The employees of the animal control program shall under the direction of the Wilson County Sheriff:
A. Have the responsibility as a law enforcement agency to enforce all laws of North Carolina and all ordinances of Wilson County pertaining to animals and shall cooperate with all law enforcement officers within Wilson County in fulfilling this duty.
B. Primary responsibility for rabies control is vested in the Health Director by G.S. 130A-41(10) and related statutes, including G.S. 130A-186, G.S. 130A-187, G.S.130A-194, G.S. 130A-196, G.S. 130A-198, and others. In rabies control matters, the Sheriff, of Wilson County shall assist the Health Director, where appropriate.
C. Be responsible for the investigation of all reported animal bites, for the quarantine of any dog or cat involved and suspected of having rabies, for a period of not less than ten (10) days, and for reporting to the Health Director as soon as practicable the occurrence of any such animal bite and condition of any quarantined animal.
D. Be responsible for the operation of the animal shelter.
E. Be responsible for the seizure and impoundment, where deemed necessary, of any dog or other animal in Wilson County involved in a violation of this or any other county ordinance or state law.
F. Investigate cruelty or abuse with regard to animals.
G. Make sure canvasses of the county, including the homes in the county, as necessary for the purpose of ascertaining compliance with this ordinance or state statute.
H. Keep, or cause to be kept, accurate and detailed records of:
1. Seizure, impoundment, and disposition of all animals coming into the custody of the animal control program.
2. Bite cases, violations and complaints, and investigation of same.
3. All monies belonging to the County which were derived from fees, penalties, license tags, sales of animals, or other sources.
4. Any other matters deemed necessary by the Health Director and the Sheriff of Wilson County.
Be empowered to issue notices of violation of this ordinance in such form as the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office may prescribe.
Section III: Cruelty to Animals
A. It shall be unlawful for any person to molest, torture, torment, deprive of necessary sustenance, cruelly beat, needlessly mutilate or kill, wound, injure, poison, abandon or subject to conditions detrimental to its health or general welfare any animals, or to cause or procure such action. It shall be unlawful for any person other than a licensed veterinarian to cut any part of an animal. This shall include, but not be limited to ears and/or tails. The words ‘torture” and ‘torment’ shall be held to include every act, omission or neglect whereby unjustifiable physical pain, suffering or death is caused or permitted; but such terms shall not be construed to prohibit lawful taking of animals under the jurisdiction and regulation of the Wildlife Resources Commission; nor to prohibit the Animal Enforcement Officers or persons duly authorized by the Sheriff of Wilson County, or veterinarians from destroying dangerous, unwanted or injured animals in a humane manner; nor to prohibit the lawful use of animals in scientific research.
B. It shall be unlawful for any owner or keeper to fail to provide his animal or animals with proper shelter and protection from the weather. Proper shelter for a farm animal shall be a three-sided building with a roof. Proper shelter for a dog shall have a roof, a floor, and three sides and be in a condition to prevent exposure to the elements. The shelter must be large enough to allow room for the dog to turn in a circle without touching the shelter walls. In the winter months (i.e.,
November - March) the shelter shall contain dry bedding at all times. During warm months, the shelter must be positioned to maintain a cooler temperature inside the shelter than outside. For multiple dogs there must be adequate shelter for all dogs within a confined area.
C. It shall be unlawful for an owner or keeper to fail to provide sufficient and wholesome food and water to keep his animal or animals in good health and comfort, the opportunity for vigorous daily exercise, veterinary care when needed to prevent suffering, and humane care and treatment.
D. Dogs that are confined outdoors must be provided with adequate fresh water and appropriate food daily. The water container shall be stabilized and be placed in a position so that it cannot be knocked over. The enclosure must be kept free of excessive accumulation of feces and urine.
1. Fixed -Tethered dogs must be attached to a swiveled ground anchor by a coated cable wire not shorter than 15 feet. Chains and ropes are not acceptable types of tethers. All tethers must have swivels attached at both ends to prevent twisting. The tether must be arranged so as to be free from any obstacles that may limit the moveable length of the tether. Shelter and water must be present and always within reach of a tethered dog. If a dog cannot reach their shelter or water due to tangled or shortened tethers, the owner will be considered in violation of the ordinance. Tethers must be attached to a safe and secure collar. The tether wire may not be used as a collar.
2. Running-A strong runner wire (minimum of 15 feet) which is firmly secured to fixed anchor points; posts, trees or fences are acceptable. The tether is attached to the runner wire and must have a swivel to prevent entanglement. Shelter and water must be present and always within reach of a tethered dog. If a dog cannot reach their shelter or water due to tangled or shortened tethers, the owner will be considered in violation of the ordinance. Tethers must be attached to a safe and secure collar. The tether wire may not be used as a collar.
F. Dogs contained by an outside pen or fenced-in area shall be provided 100 ft2 (10’ x 10’ square orequivalent) of room for each dog in the enclosure. Facilities regulated by other governmentagencies are exempt.
G. It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or offer for sale, barter or give away within the county baby chickens, baby ducklings or other fowl under six (6) weeks of age or rabbits under eight (8) weeks of age as pets, toys, premiums or novelties; provided, however, that this section shall not be construed to prohibit the sale or display of such baby chickens, ducklings or other fowl or such rabbits in proper facilities by breeders or stores engaged in the business of selling for the purposes other than for pet or novelties.
H. It shall be unlawful to color, dye, stain or otherwise change the natural color of baby chickens or other fowl or rabbits.
I. It shall be unlawful for any person to tether any fowl.
Section IV: Confinement, muzzling, and control of vicious or dangerous domestic animals
It shall be unlawful for any person to keep any vicious, fierce or dangerous domestic animal within the county unless the animal is confined within a secure building or secure enclosure, or the animal is securely muzzled and under restraint by a competent person who, by means of a leash in hand, has such animal under control at all times.
Section V: Animals creating nuisance prohibited
A. It shall be unlawful for an owner or keeper to permit an animal or animals to create a nuisance, or to maintain a nuisance created by an animal or animals.
B. Compliance shall be required as follows:
1. When an animal enforcement officer, law enforcement officer, or person duly authorized by the Sheriff of Wilson County observes a violation, the owner or keeper will be provided written notification of such violation and be given 48 hours from time of notification to abate the nuisance.
2. Upon receipt of a written detailed and signed complaint being made to the Sheriff of Wilson County by any person or persons that any other person is maintaining a nuisance as defined in this ordinance, the Sheriff of Wilson County shall cause the owner or keeper of the animal, or animals in question to be notified that a complaint has been received, and shall cause the situation complained of to be investigated and a report and findings thereon to be produced in writing.
3. If the written findings indicate that the complaint is justified, then the Sheriff of Wilson County or person duly authorized by the Sheriff of Wilson County shall cause the owner or keeper of the animal or animals in question to be so notified in writing, and ordered to abate such nuisance within forty-eight (48) hours by whatever means may be necessary.
4. In the event the owner or keeper of the animal or animals is unknown and cannot be ascertained, the notice and order, along with a general description of the animal or animals shall be posted for three working days (72 hours) at the animal shelter. If after three working days, the owner or keeper of the animal or animals remains unknown, the animal may be impounded, transferred to an animal rescue organization or humanely destroyed according to the current North Carolina statute.
C. It shall be unlawful for a person to fail or refuse to abate the nuisance as required by this ordinance.
Section VI: Noisy Animals
It shall be unlawful for any person to own, keep, or have within the county an animal that habitually or repeatedly makes noises or other sounds that tend to annoy, disturb, or frighten its citizens.
Section VII: Dogs and cats running at large prohibited
Dogs and cats running at large prohibited.
1. It shall be unlawful for any owner of a dog/cat to allow it to run at large off the premises of its owner.
2. Upon an animal control officer’s observation of a dog/cat running at large, or off premises of its owner and not under the restraint of a competent person, the officer may at his discretion, impound the dog/cat or return it to its owner.
3. Upon an animal control officer’s receipt of a complaint that a dog/cat is running at large or is off the premises of its owner and not under the restraint of a competent person, the officer shall investigate the complaint; and upon finding that there is probably cause that a violation has occurred, the officer may issue a citation or a warning or take any other action contained in this chapter or any state law as the circumstances may require.
Section VIII: Luring, Enticing, Seizing, Molesting, or Teasing an Animal
It shall be unlawful for any person to entice or lure any animal out of an enclosure or off the property of its owner or keeper, or to seize, molest or tease any animal while the animal is held or controlled by its owner or keeper or while the animal is on the property of its owner or keeper.
Section IX: Quarantine and Isolation Authority for Comunicable Disease Control
A. The State Health Director and a local health director are empowered to exercise quarantine and
isolation authority. Quarantine and isolation authority shall be exercised only when and so long as
the public health is endangered, all other reasonable means for correcting the problem have been
exhausted, and no less restrictive alternative exists.
B. No person other than a person authorized by the State Health Director or local health director
shall enter quarantine or isolation premises. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to
restrict the access of authorized health care, law enforcement, or emergency medical services
personnel to quarantine or isolation premises as necessary in conducting their duties.
C. Before applying quarantine or isolation authority to livestock or poultry for the purpose of
preventing the direct or indirect conveyance of an infectious agent or persons, the State Health
Director or a local health director shall consult with the State Veterinarian in the Department of
Agriculture and Consumer Services.
D. When quarantine or isolation limits the freedom of movement of a person or animal or of access
to a person or animal whose freedom of movement is limited, the period of limited freedom of
movement or access shall not exceed 10 calendar days. Any person substantially affected by the
county in which the limitation is imposed may request a review to that limitation. If a person or a
person’s representative requests a hearing, the hearing shall be held within 72 hours of the filing
of that request, excluding Saturdays and Sundays. The person substantially affected by that
limitation is entitled to be represented by counsel of the person’s own choice or if the person is
indigent, the person shall be represented by counsel appointed in accordance with Article 36 of
Chapter 7A of the General Statutes and the rules adopted by the Office of Indigent Defense
Services. The court shall reduce the limitation if it determines, by the preponderance of the
evidence, that the limitation is not reasonably necessary to prevent or limit the conveyance of a
communicable disease or condition to others.
E. If the State Health Director or the local health director determines that a 10-calendar-day
limitation on freedom of movement or access is not adequate to protect the public health, the
State Health Director or local health director must institute in superior court in the county in
which the limitation is imposed an action to obtain an order extending the period of limitation of
freedom of movement or access. If the person substantially affected by the limitation has already
instituted an action in superior court in Wilson County, the State Health Director must institute
the action in superior court in Wilson County. The court shall continue the limitation for a period
not to exceed 30 days if it determines, by the preponderance of the evidence, that the limitation is
reasonably necessary to prevent or limit the conveyance of a communicable disease or condition
to others. Before the expiration of an order issued under this section, the State Health Director or
local health director may move to continue the order for additional periods not to exceed 30 days
Section X: Compliance with state rabies laws - supplement to state rabies laws
A. It shall be unlawful for any animal owner or other person to fail to comply with the state laws
relating to the control of rabies.
B. It is the purpose of this ordinance to supplement the state laws by providing a procedure for the
enforcement of state laws relating to rabies control, in addition to the criminal penalties provided
by state law.
C. The Health Director shall organize or assist the Sheriff of Wilson County in organizing at least
one countywide rabies vaccination clinic per year for the purpose of vaccinating dogs and cats.
Public notice of the time and place of rabies vaccination clinics shall be published in a newspaper
having general circulation within the area.
Section XI: Vaccination of dogs, cats, and other pets.
A. It shall be unlawful for an owner or keeper to fail to provide current vaccination against rabies
(hydrophobia) for any dog or cat four (4) months of age or older. Should it be deemed necessary
by the Health Director or the Wilson County Animal Enforcement Office 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 or keeper to fail to provide current vaccination against rabies for that pet.
B. A rabies vaccination shall be deemed current for a dog or cat if the first two doses of vaccine are
administered twelve (12) months apart and each subsequent booster dose of vaccine administered
every three (3) years as per the vaccine manufacturer’s recommended schedule.
C. All antirabic vaccine shall be administered by a licensed veterinarian or a trained and qualified
Section XII: Vaccination tag and certificate
A. Upon complying with the provisions of Section X of this ordinance, there shall be issued to the
owner or keeper of the dog or cat vaccinated a rabies tag, stamped with a number and the year for
which issued, and a rabies vaccination certificate. Owners or keepers must be able to make the
vaccination certificate available to an animal control officer upon request.
B. In addition to all other penalties as prescribed by law, a dog or cat is subject to impoundment in
accordance with the provisions of this ordinance current vaccination certificate cannot be
C. It shall be unlawful for any person to use for any animal a rabies vaccination tag issued for an
animal other than the one using the tag.
D. All dogs or cats shipped or otherwise brought into this county, except for exhibition purposes
where the dogs or cats are confined and not permitted to run at large, shall be securely confined
and vaccinated within one week after entry, unless prior vaccination by a licensed veterinarian or
a trained and qualified vaccinator can be provided.
Section XIII: Notice to Health Director when person bitten; confinement of animal
A. When a person has been bitten by an animal having rabies or suspected of having rabies, it shall
be the duty of such person, or his parent or guardian if such person is a minor, and the person
owning such animal or having the same in his possession or under his control, to notify the
Wilson County Animal Shelter, the Health Director or person duly authorized by the Health
Director immediately and give their names and addresses; and the owner or person having such
animal in his possession or under his control shall immediately securely confine the animal at the
animal shelter or a veterinarian of their choice for ten (10) days at the expense of the owner or
keeper. It shall be the duty of every physician, after his first professional attendance upon a
person bitten by any animal having rabies or suspected of having rabies, to report to the Health
Director the name, age and sex of the person so bitten, and precise location of the bite wound,
within twenty-four (24) hours after first having knowledge that the person was bitten. If the
owner of, or a person who has in his possession or under his control, an animal having rabies or
suspected of having rabies, refuses to confine the animal as required by this ordinance or by GS
130A-194, the Health Director may order seizure of the animal and its confinement for ten (10)
days in such place as the Sheriff of Wilson County designates.
B. Law enforcement agencies investigating animal bites, shall report such bites immediately to the
Health Director or person duly authorized by the Health Director and give the names and
addresses of persons bitten and owner of animal.
C. Animals confined per Section XII A. above shall not be released from confinement except by
permission from the Sheriff of Wilson County after being examined by a licensed veterinarian at
the cost of the owner or keeper.
D. In the case of an animal suspected of having rabies, whose owner or keeper is not known or if the
anima is badly wounded, diseased, or suffering may be humanely destroyed immediately and the
head forwarded for examination.
Section XIV: Destruction or confinement of animal bitten by a known rabid animal
Animals not vaccinated against rabies which are bitten by a known rabid animals shall be immediately
destroyed, unless the owner or keeper agrees to strict isolation of the animal at a veterinary hospital for a
period of six (6) months at the owner’s or keeper’s expense. If the animal has a current rabies vaccination,
it shall be revaccinated and returned to the owner or keeper.
Section XV: Postmortem diagnosis
A. If an animal dies while under observation for rabies, the head of such animal shall be submitted to
the Health Department for shipment to the Laboratory Section of the North Carolina Division of
Health Services for rabies diagnosis.
B. The carcass of any animal suspected of dying of rabies shall be surrendered to the Health
Department. The head of such animal shall be shipped to the Laboratory Section of the North
Carolina Division of Health Services for rabies diagnosis.
Section XVI: Unlawful killing or releasing of certain animals
It shall be unlawful for any person to kill or release any animal under observation for rabies, or any
animal under observation for biting a human, or to remove such animal from the county without written
permission from the Sheriff of Wilson County, provided that a licensed veterinarian, or the Health
Director, or persons duly authorized by the Sheriff of Wilson County, may authorize any animal to be
killed for rabies diagnosis.
Section XVII: Failure to surrender animal for confinement or destruction
It shall be unlawful for any person to fail to refuse to surrender any animal for confinement or destruction
as required in this ordinance, when demand is made therefore by the Health Director or the Sheriff of
Section XVIII: Impoundment
A. Any animal which appears to be lost, stray or unwanted, or not under restraint and off the
property of the owner or keeper are in violation of this ordinance, and may be seized, impounded,
and confined in a humane manner in an animal shelter.
B. Impoundment of such an animal shall not relieve the owner or keeper thereof from any penalty
which may be imposed for violation of this ordinance.
Section XIX: Notice to owner or keeper
A. Upon impounding an animal, notice of such impoundment shall be posted for a minimum of
seventy-two (72) hours, beginning with the time the animal enters the animal shelter, or until the
animal is disposed of. Reasonable effort shall be made to identify the owner or keeper and inform
such owner or keeper of the conditions whereby the animal may be redeemed.
B. Such notice shall be prominently displayed on a bulletin board at the animal shelter, and the time
and place of the taking of such animal, together with the time and date of posting the notice shall
be stated therein.
Section XX: Redemption by owner or keeper generally
A. The owner or keeper of an animal impounded under this ordinance may redeem the animal and
regain possession thereof within 72 working hours after notice of impoundment is posted as
required by this ordinance by complying with all applicable provisions of this ordinance and
paying any applicable fees as determined by the Sheriff of Wilson County.
B. Any animal whose rabies vaccination can not be verified must be transported to a licensed
veterinarian for a physical examination and proper rabies vaccination at the expense of the owner.
C. No animal owner or keeper may be permitted to adopt his own animal under the provisions of this
ordinance, but he must comply with the provisions of this ordinance in order to reclaim an animal
that has been impounded pursuant to state law or this ordinance.
D. The provisions of this section shall have no application with respect to animals surrendered by the
owner or keeper to the Animal Shelter for immediate adoption or destruction as provided for in
Section XXI: Destruction or adoption of unredeemed animal generally
A. If an impounded animal is not redeemed by the owner or keeper within the period prescribed in
Section XIX, it may be destroyed in a humane manner or shall become the property of the animal
shelter(s) and offered for adoption to a responsible adult who is willing to comply with this
ordinance and with policies set forth by the Sheriff of Wilson County.
B. No animal which has been impounded by reason of its being a stray, unclaimed by its owner or
keeper, shall be allowed to be adopted from the animal shelter during a period of emergency
rabies quarantine invoked pursuant to this ordinance, except by special authorization of the
Section XXII: Procedure with respect to redemption or adoption of unvaccinated dog or cat
A. All animals over 4 months that are adopted from the shelter will be transported to the veterinarian
of their choice for spay/neuter and rabies vaccination according to the fees established by the
B. An appointment will be made for animals younger than 4 months of age to be spayed or neutered
and vaccinated at an appropriate future date according to the fees established by the animal
shelter. The proof of rabies vaccination notice will be completed by the veterinarian and returned
to the animal shelter.
Section XXIII: Immediate placement for adoption or destruction of owner surrendered animals
A. Any animal surrendered by its owner to the Animal Shelter may be immediately placed for
adoption or humanely destroyed by the Animal Control Officer when:
1) The owner affirmatively represents in writing that he or she is in fact the legal owner of said
2) The owner agrees that he or she will indemnify and hold the County of Wilson harmless from
any loss or damage it may sustain, including attorneys’ fees, by reason of the destruction or
placement for adoption of said animal; and
3) The owner transfers ownership of said animal to the County of Wilson and releases the
County from any and all future claims with respect to said animal.
B. Upon receiving said assurances, the Animal Shelter may rely on the same and place said animal
for adoption, or destroy said animal, as it sees fit. The waiting periods provided in Section XIXXX
(Section 19-20) shall not apply to immediate adoption for destruction as provided for in this
Section XXIV: Destruction of wounded, diseased, or unweaned animals
Notwithstanding any other provision of this ordinance, any animal seized and impounded which is badly
wounded, diseased (not a rabies suspect), or unweaned and has no identification shall be destroyed
immediately in a humane manner at the discretion of the animal shelter. If the animal has identification,
the Animal Control Officer shall attempt to notify the owner or keeper before disposing of such animal. If
the owner or keeper cannot be reached readily, and the animal is suffering, the Animal Control Officer
may destroy the animal at its discretion in a humane manner.
Section XXV: Destruction of animals which cannot be seized by reasonable means
Notwithstanding any other provision of this ordinance, an animal which cannot be seized by reasonable
means may be humanely destroyed by order of the Sheriff of Wilson County.
Section XXVI: Injuring animals, notice required
It shall be unlawful for any person injuring an animal to fail to notify immediately the owner or keeper of
said animal, or an animal control agency, or a local humane society.
Section XXVII: Keeping stray animals: requirements, failure to surrender
A. It shall be unlawful for any person in the county knowingly and intentionally to harbor, feed, keep
in possession by confinement, or otherwise allow to remain on his property any animal which
does not belong to him, unless he has within seventy-two (72) hours from the time such animal
came into his possession, notified the Sheriff of Wilson County or person duly authorized by the
Sheriff of Wilson County. Upon receiving such notice, the Sheriff of Wilson County or person
duly authorized by the Sheriff of Wilson County shall publicly post a description of the animal
and location of where the animal was found for 72 hours.
B. It shall be unlawful for any person to refuse to surrender any such stray animal to the Sheriff of
Wilson County or person duly authorized by the Sheriff of Wilson County upon demand.
Section XXVIII: Non-domestic animals - prohibited
No person shall possess or harbor any non-domestic animal or animals which are dangerous to persons or
property or which have the potential of being dangerous to persons or property. This section shall not
apply to bonafide circuses, petting zoos, and other traveling commercial animal exhibitions of limited
duration. Licensed wildlife permit holders are exempt from this section.
Section XXIX: Collecting dogs and cats for resale - permit required
A. It shall be unlawful for any person to collect any dog or cat for the purpose of resale unless a
permit for the same shall have been obtained from the Sheriff of Wilson County in accordance
with the provisions of this section and unless such permit shall remain unsuspended and
B. The Sheriff of Wilson County shall promulgate regulations and applicable fee schedule for the
issuance of permits and shall include requirements for humane care and transportation of all cats
and dogs and for the compliance with the provisions of this ordinance and applicable laws. The
Sheriff of Wilson County may amend such regulations from time to time as deemed desirable for
public health and welfare and for the protection of collected dogs and cats.
C. The Office of the Sheriff of Wilson County may revoke any permit if the person holding the
permit refuses or fails to comply with this ordinance, the regulations promulgated by the Sheriff
of Wilson County, or any law governing the protection and keeping of animals.
Section XXX: Interference with enforcement
It shall be unlawful for any person to interfere with, hinder or molest the Animal Control Officers or
persons duly authorized by this ordinance, or to seek to release any animal in the custody of such persons,
except as otherwise specifically provided. It shall be unlawful, and a violation of this ordinance for any
person to release any animal from a trap or cage, or carry away, interfere with or damage any trap or cage
set out or placed by animal control officers.
Section XXXI: Animal Privilege Fees
An animal owner’s privilege fee will be assessed according to the following fee scale. It will be the
owner’s duty to pay this privilege fee within thirty (30) days of receiving the notice of the fees. It shall be
the duty of the Sheriff to deliver the fee notices to animal owners, breeders and other kennels and to
collect the fees. If the fees are not paid the owners, breeders and kennel operators will be in violation of
this ordinance and subject to penalties described in Section XXXII.
Animal Privilege Fees
Cat/Dog Altered Unaltered
Cat/Dog under 1 year of age 1 year license $10 $10
Cat/Dog 1 year of age or older 1 year license $10 $20
Cat/Dog 1 year of age or older 3 year license $25 $50
Any Owner of a handicap helper dog, which is used for seeing or hearing purposes and can show
proof of spay/neuter, shall receive a license free of charge.
Annual Kennel Licenses
Cats/Dogs 5-10 $45
Any combination of dogs and cats
All must be neutered or spayed
Good for one year (renewable on date of purchase)
Breeder Kennel Qualifications
Either dogs or cats
Do not have to be spayed/neutered
Only good for one year
Must show proof of adoption or sales of litters
Must be able to show the number born, as well as adopted out or sold
Written recommendation from a Wilson County veterinarian recommending a
Breeder’s Kennel License
Either dogs or cats
Do not have to be neutered or spayed
Good for one year (renewable on date of purchase)
Kennel must participate in three AKC or UKC sanctioned events per year
(proof to be shown) or equivalent for cats or six in three years
Do not have to be spayed or neutered
Good for one year (renewable on date of purchase)
Kennel must participate in three lawful or sanctioned events per year (proof
Proof of NC Hunting License
Section XXXII: Penalty for violation
A. The violation of any provision of this ordinance shall be a misdemeanor and any person convicted
of such violation shall be punishable as provided in G.S. 14-4. Those who violate these
ordinances shall be guilty of a class (3) three misdemeanor and shall be fined not more than five
hundred dollars ($500). Each day’s violation of this ordinance is a separate offense. Payment of a
fine imposed in criminal proceedings pursuant to this subsection does not relieve a person of his
liability for taxes or fees imposed under this ordinance.
B. In addition, enforcement of this ordinance may be by appropriate equitable remedy, injunction or
order of abatement issuing from a court of competent jurisdiction pursuant to G.S. 153A-123 (d)
C. In addition to and not in lieu of the criminal penalties and other sanctions provided in this
ordinance, a violation of this ordinance may also subject the offender to the civil penalties
hereinafter set forth.
1) Such civil penalties may be recovered by Wilson County in a civil action in the nature of
debt or may be collected in such other amounts as prescribed herein within the prescribed
time following the issuance of notice for such violation.
2) Such notice shall, among other things:
a) State upon its face the amount of the penalty if such penalty be paid within seventytwo
(72) hours from and after the issuance of the notice and the late fee of fifty dollars
($50) if paid more than seventy-two (72) hours after its issuance.
b) Notify such offender that a failure to pay the penalties within the prescribed time shall
subject such offender to a civil action in the nature of debt for the stated penalty plus
an additional penalty in the amount of fifty dollars ($50), together with the cost of
the action to be taxed by the court.
c) Further provide that such offender may answer the said notice by mailing said notice,
and stated penalty to the Sheriff of Wilson County, his mailing address, or by making
payment to the Sheriff of Wilson County, or to the Office of the Sheriff of Wilson
County, and that upon payment, such case or claim and right of action by Wilson
County will be deemed compromised and settled.
d) State that such penalties must be paid within seventy-two (72) hours from issuance of
such notice. Such notice shall further state that if such notice of violation is not paid
within said seventy-two (72) hour period, court action by the filing of a civil complaint
for collection of such penalty may be taken.
3) The Sheriff of Wilson County is authorized to accept such payments in full and final
settlement of the claim or claims, right or rights of action which Wilson County may have
to enforce such penalty by civil action in the nature of debt. Acceptance of such penalty
shall be deemed a full and final release of any and all such claims, or rights of action arising
out of such contended violation or violations.
4) The civil penalty or violation of this ordinance is one hundred dollars ($100). Said
penalty shall be paid within seventy-two (72) hours from and after the issuance of the notice
referred to above.
5) The notice of violation referred to herein may be delivered to the person violating the
provisions of this ordinance in person, or may be mailed to said person at his last know
6) In addition to the penalty prescribed in subsection (4) above, a twenty five dollar ($25)
penalty shall be imposed in all those cases in which the above penalty has not been paid
within the authorized seventy-two (72) hour period. Should it become necessary to institute
a civil action to collect any penalty hereunder, then the violation shall also be subject to an
additional penalty of fifty dollars ($50).
7) All penalties paid to the Sheriff of Wilson County or as may be recovered in a civil action
in the nature of debt as herein provided shall be paid for specific use of animal control.
Section XXXIII: Repeal of Conflicting Ordinance
All prior Wilson County Animal Control Ordinances adopted are hereby repealed.
Section XXXIV: Conflicting Regulations
Should there be a conflict between the provisions of this Ordinance and State or Federal law, such
provisions of State or Federal Law shall control.