North Carolina law prohibits dogs from running at large at night, and local communities usually have additional regulations that require dogs to be leashed when they’re off the owner’s property. Here is a sampling of local pet laws in North Carolina.
charlotte pet laws
Charlotte dog owners must license dogs, cats and ferrets that are age 4 months or older. The animals must also be vaccinated against rabies. Dog, cat and ferret license fees are $30 for fertile pets. Dog, cat and ferret license fees are $10 per year or $25 for three years for sterile pets. Pet owners age 62 and older with sterilized animals can get free licenses.
Dogs in Charlotte must be on a leash or contained within a fence, which could be an operable and marked invisible fence. You must also leash a dog in city parks except for designated off-leash areas. An animal may be loose in its yard if an adult is next to the pet and the animal responds to direct verbal commands.
Violators may be cited $50 for the first violation and up to $500 and permanent seizure of the pet for a fifth violation.
You cannot drive with your pet on your lap. If you violate this law, you could be fined $100.
Any Charlotte resident with a dog deemed dangerous must install privacy fencing or secure fencing with a top, buy liability insurance, muzzle the dog when it’s off property, tattoo the dog identifying it as dangerous and place warning signs on the property.
Raleigh pet laws
You must inoculate dogs and cats age 4 months or older against rabies.
Raleigh dog owners cannot tether a dog outside for more than three hours within a 24-hour period. That includes using a rope, chain or other line to restrain a dog. The ordinance is in place to prevent a dog from becoming injured or being left in harsh conditions without access to shelter, food and water.
You must pick up after your dog when you are not on your property unless you have permission from the owner of the property.
Animal Control may deem an animal nuisance for the following reasons:
- Found repeatedly running at large
- damaging property
- Causing unsanitary conditions of enclosure or surroundings
- Fouling the air with odors
- Habitual barking or loud noises
- Dangerous to public health
Greensboro pet laws
Pet owners in Greensboro must keep their dogs and cats that are age 4 months or older current on their rabies vaccinations. If your dog or cat is not up to date on their vaccinations, you may be required to produce a rabies vaccination tag or form within 72 hours. Failure to do so could result in a fine.
An animal considered a nuisance, such as a dog running at large, may result in a citation for the owner. Fines are between $100 and $500, depending on the violation.
Guilford County considers it illegal to own an “inherently dangerous animal.” That includes lions, tigers, bears and wolves. Owners of exotic animals must obtain a permit to let animal control know of their whereabouts.
North Carolina has its share of natural disasters, including hurricanes. Greensboro officials recommend you transport your pet in a carrier or keep them leashed during an emergency. They also suggest you have an emergency kit and go bag, including a recent photo of your pet, leashes and/or carriers, pet food, water, bowls, veterinary contact information, medical records, plastic bags and pet toys.
Related: Guide to disaster preparedness for pet owners
Durham pet laws
Durham County pet owners must keep their furry friends under restraint when off their property. One exception is off-leash dog parks, including Downtown Durham Dog Park, Northgate Dog Park, PetSafe Dog Park and Piney Wood Dog Park.
Dog park fees for city residents are $17 for the first dog and $15 for each additional dog. Non-residents pay $22 for the first dog and $20 for each additional dog. You must register your dogs with Durham Parks & Recreation annually and show proof your dog has vaccinations for rabies, distemper/parvo and bordetella, and have negative fecal exam results.
Dog owners must pick up after their pets on public property, public right of way and private property without permission of the property owner. Violators will be fined between $50 and $150, depending on the number of violations.
You cannot leave an unsupervised pet tethered in an open yard or space. If you do so, Animal Services may contact you and recommend keeping your pet indoors or in a fenced-in area. If you cannot afford a fence, you may be able to have a fence installed free of charge through community partners. Repeat violators could face civil penalties and criminal charges.