What's New in Animal Law?

Click the Horse

Laws governing animal issues can originate from local associations, towns & cities, county ordinances, or dictated to each county by the State.  Some laws may even emanate from the Federal level if legislators take it that far and it passes.

There are 100 counties in North Carolina and 98 towns/cities. There are 19 districts in Brunswick County alone. Some areas do not have any local animal control ordinances while other areas may have restrictions that overlap with county ordinances which means you'll need to find out which ones take precedence--it's usually the local ordinance. 

One of the best things you can do for animals is to know the laws and know your rights and responsibilities! While large national organizations do a world of good on a large scale, YOU are key to animal welfare in your own community.

Overview:  How It All Works

Home/Property Owners Associations also have rules that are in addition to town, city, our county rules. Ask one of your H/POA Officers for a copy (electronic or paper) or download the document from the association's website if they have one and the documents are available online. Sometimes you can find H/POA rules at your county's Register of Deeds. Many H/POA's record their Master Declaration and Development Plan and Bylaws with their local county.

If you live in an incorporated town (one that is self-governed), you can get a copy of the animal control ordinances (if they have any) by calling your town hall, police department, or other assigned department and asking for either an electronic or paper copy. Electronically-transmitted copies are usually free, but most charge for paper copies. You can also download a copy from their website if they have one and the ordinances are posted to it. You can also always lookup the ordinance on MuniCode

If your town/city does NOT have ANY animal control ordinances, the only services you DO have are those provided by the County which are ONLY public health and safety concerns.*

*Some towns/cities have contracted with the County via an InterLocal Agreement to provide specific a la carte animal control services either in lieu of offering their own services to residents or in addition to services they already provide. The agreement sets a price for each service and the town is charged each time the service is used. In addition to any current services, ask town authorities if they use contracted services and, if so, what they are (they can be changed any time). To benefit from these contracted services, residents must call the town, not BC Sheriff's Animal Protective Services.

To Find BC Town Officials, click HERE

County animal control ordinances govern animals (and their people) who live within the county and are administered by BCSAPS).  BCSAPS provides health and public safety services to everyone, even those in incorporated towns and cities in Brunswick County.

BCSAPS administers all animal control ordinances in their jurisdiction. For assistance, call 910.754.8204 or 910.754.9261. Note: BCSAPS does not pick up dead animals. For animals found dead along the roadside, call DOT at 910.754.6527.

New and changes to existing ordinances are voted upon by the County Commissioners after a review and public hearing process.

BC Ordinances

To Find BC Commissioners, Click HERE

Enacting or changing laws at this level requires a lot of patience and perseverance but it makes a big impact because they're statewide. Your Legislators are responsible for proposing and getting state-wide bills passed. Here are some helpful links.  

State Laws

Legislators can't know what we're thinking (even if they SAY they can) so it is OUR RESPONSIBILITY to TELL them. Even then, sometimes our voices don't seem to make a difference, but they DO! It may take several "tries," but there is always another congressional session and a legislator willing to sponsor a bill for animal welfare.

Put your legislators' fax numbers on speed dial, their email addresses in your contacts list, and program their office telephone number into your phone so you're ready to voice your opinion when the time comes. Taking time to look up a number may just be the thing that prevents you from speaking up when you should. Be prepared!

When you write, fax, or call, remember to BE POLITE. You don't have to be a doormat or wishy-washy,
but neither do you get heard (or respect) if you're nasty, demanding, or accusatory.  Also, get your facts straight, express your opinion clearly, and end with what you want your legislator TO DO.
Don't forget to always THANK THEM for their support!

Find your NC Legislators, click HERE  



Thanks to the Citizens for Humane Reform and the Humane Society of Eastern, NC, CHTA submitted a comprehensive 33-page proposed ordinance revision document to the BC Health Dept. and County Attorney, Huey Marshall, on July 16, 2010.  Proposed revisions ranged the gamut from sheltering issues, tethering restrictions, cats at large, feral cats, and fines and penalties. Revisions focused on making the ordnances more fair to both animals and people, and the most-needed issue, the humane treatment of animals.

The county agreed to review these proposed revisions. The citizens of BC will have an opportunity to comment on any proposed changes at a public hearing when it is set by the county (which has not yet been done and, has most likely been tabled as the county is, unfortunately, not giving it any kind of priority). 

To read our submission, click HERE. 

NEW ORDINANCE April 5, 2010. County officials approved new dangerous dog ordinances because the old ones were inequitable. The new ordinances ensure both animals and people are fairly treated while protecting citizens from potential harm. To read these new ordinances, click the dog [above, right] , then go to Chapter 1-3, Article VIII (Dangerous Dogs).

JULY 1, 2012.  The Sherrif's Department is now responsible for managing animal control in Brunswick County (instead of the County Health Dept.).  Click the the dog to view the authorization and the complete updated BC Ordinances.

To Help Improve State Animal Laws, contact these organizations:

      NC Voters for Animal Welfare, click

      Animal Law Coalition, click

      Coalition to Unchain Dogs, click HERE

      Humane Society of the United States, Corporate Office, click HERE
      Email the Southeast Regional Director, Nancy Peterson, click HERE

      American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, click HERE

      NC Coalition for Humane Euthanasia, click HERE

NC General Statues

     Chapter 14 Sections 360 thru 363 Criminal Law/Cruelty to Animals, click

     Chapter 19A Protection of Animals, click HERE

     Chapter 67 Dogs/Dangerous Dogs, click HERE

      Chapter 130A Public Health: Rabies vaccinations, click HERE; tags, click HERE

     Pending and Ratified NC Bills, click HERE

NC Dept. of Agriculture, Animal Welfare Section, click HERE

County Officials

County officials need to know what's going on in their jurisdictions concerning animal issues. Make sure you send them a copy of your letters dealing with animal welfare issues especially those for abuse, neglect, and suspected or known illegal dog and cock fighting rings.  The County Attorney is listed below.

Huey Marshall, County Attorney
PO Box 249, Bolivia, NC 28422
Phone: 253.2000; Fax 253-2008
E-mail: bclegal@brunsco.net

To Find BC Elected County Officials, Click HERE

Rabies vaccinations are mandatory in North Carolina.

Name Change:
BC Animal Services is now
BC Sheriff's Animal Protective Services (BCSAPS).
We look forward to good things for the animals in the future!

All county shelters must be inspected by the state. Read BC's shelter inspection report.

Oftentimes, animal advocates have to do a lot of growling, showing teeth, and posturing in our fight for humane animal welfare. A lot of times, that's all we, as individuals, can do and sometimes it clearly isn't enough.  We need legal teeth--something with a serious "bite." Enter NC's own legal eagle, Attorney Marianna Burt of Apex, NC.

Marianna helps protect rescuers rights and animals' lives through education and representation. Get to know Marianna Burt and the law as it relates to animals by reading her really informative blog at protectncrescues.blogspot.com. If you're an animal rescuer and need advice or help, email her at marianna.r.burt@gmail.com.

NC's Legal Advocate for Animal Rescuers