§ 91.25  VICIOUS AND DANGEROUS ANIMALS.
   (A)   It shall be unlawful for an owner/keeper to keep any vicious, fierce, dangerous, or potentially dangerous animal within the town limits unless it is confined within a secure building or enclosure or is securely muzzled and leashed at all times.
   (B)   In accordance with G.S. § 106-381, when an animal becomes vicious or a menace to the public health, the owner of such animal or person harboring such animal may not permit such animal to leave the premises on which kept unless muzzled and on a leash.
   (C)   (1)   For the purpose of this section, the following definition shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.
   “DANGEROUS DOG.”  A dog that has been declared to be dangerous pursuant to G.S. § 67-4.1(a)(1) by the Police Chief, Pitt County Animal Control, or the County Health Director pursuant to G.S. § 130A-200, or because it has committed one or more of the following:
         (a)   Without provocation has killed or inflicted severe injury on a person; or
         (b)   Inflicted a bite on a person either upon public or private real property;
         (c)   Approached a person when not on the owner’s property in a vicious or terrorizing manner in an apparent attitude of attack; or
         (d)   Kill or inflicted severe injury upon a domestic animal when not on the owner’s real property; or
         (e)   Chases, snaps at, attacks, or otherwise molests pedestrians, bicyclists, motor vehicles, or any other animal.
      (2)   The Police  Chief must notify the owner/keeper in writing, giving the reasons for his or her determination, before the dog may be considered dangerous.  The owner may appeal the determination of the Police Chief to the Town Manager by giving written notice of the appeal within five days of the Police Chief’s determination to the Town Manager.  The dog will be considered dangerous pending the appeal.
         (a)   In any case, where an animal has bitten any person or other animal so as to cause abrasions or break the skin, the Police Chief shall make a determination of danger based on the circumstances surrounding the bite and the likelihood that the animal might bite again.
         (b)   The provisions of this section do not apply to a dog being used by a law enforcement officer to carry out the law enforcement officer’s official duties.  A dog shall not be considered a dangerous dog or potentially dangerous dog under this section if the injury inflicted by the dog was sustained by a person who, at the time of the injury, was committing a willful trespass or other tort, was tormenting, abusing, or assaulting the dog, had been observed or reported to have tormented, abused, or assaulted the dog, or was committing or attempting to commit a crime.
   (D)   It is unlawful for an owner to:
      (1)   Leave a dangerous dog unattended on the owner’s real property unless the dog is confined indoors, in a securely enclosed and locked pen, or in another structure designed to restrain the dog.
      (2)   Permit a dangerous dog to go beyond the owner’s real property unless the dog is leashed and muzzled or is otherwise securely restrained and muzzled.
   (E)   If the owner of a dangerous dog or a potentially dangerous dog transfers ownership or possession of the dog to another person, the owner shall provide written notice to:
      (1)   The Police Chief, stating the name and address of the owner of the dog; and
      (2)   The person taking possession of the dog, specifying the dog’s dangerous behavior and the Police Chief’s determination.
   (F)   A dog that has been determined to be dangerous may be humanely destroyed in the following instances:
      (1)   If the Police Chief or his or her designee determines that a dog that was previously determined to be dangerous either bit a person so as to cause a break in the skin or was at large on two or more separate occasions after such determination, the Police Chief or Pitt County Animal Control or a designee may seek a  court order for the dog to be humanely destroyed.
      (2)   If the Police Chief or his or her designee in determining that a dog is dangerous also determines that the dog without provocation has killed or inflicted severe injury on a person, the Police Chief or his or her designee may seek a court order that the dog be humanely destroyed.
   (G)   A dog that has been determined to be dangerous may not be disposed of by adoption from the Pitt County Animal Control or the police department.
   (H)   The keeper or other custodian of any dog that has been determined to be dangerous shall report immediately to the police department through telephone number 911 if the dog gets loose or is otherwise unconfined or it attacks a person or another animal.
   (I)   A police officer or his or her designee shall periodically inspect the premises where a dog is determined to be dangerous is kept to ensure compliance with the secure enclosure requirements set out in this section.
   (J)   If a dog has been determined by the Pitt County Health Director or his or her designee, Pitt County Animal Control, or by the Police Chief or his or designee to be dangerous or vicious, and the dog has been either left with or returned to its keeper, the keeper shall maintain the dog in an enclosure meeting the requirements of this division (J) on the keeper’s property or, with the consent of the Police Chief or his or her designee in such an enclosure on the property of another, except that the dog may be taken out of the enclosure when necessary if leashed and muzzled or in a secure carrying cage.  The enclosure for a dangerous dog shall be indoors within a building from which the animal cannot escape or in a securely enclosed and locked pen or structure suitable to prevent the entry of young children and designed to prevent the dog from escaping.  The pen or structure shall have minimum dimensions of five feet by ten feet and shall have secure sides and a secure top.  If it has no bottom secured to the sides, the sides shall be embedded into the ground no less than two feet.  The pen or structure shall also provide protection from the elements for the dog.  The premises where the dangerous dog is kept shall be posted with warning signs at places likely to be seen by persons entering the premises.  A warning sign shall advise of the presence on the premises of a dangerous dog and shall also contain a picture symbol of a dangerous dog as a warning to children. Unauthorized removal of a warning sign posted in compliance with this division (J) is unlawful.  Any dangerous dog found at- large after the owner thereof has previous knowledge or notice that such dog is dangerous may be killed by any police officer or animal control officer of the town without such officer having to catch or impound such dog.
(Ord. 04-05-20, passed 5-9-05)  Penalty, see § 91.99