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Article I. Nondomestic Animals
11-2 Keeping prohibited; exception
11-3 Filing of declaration
11-7 – 11-19 Reserved
Article II. Dogs
11-21 Appointment of animal control officer
11-22 Duties of animal control officer
11-23 Animal shelter
11-24 Impoundment; reclamation; final disposition
11-25 Rabies vaccination requirements
11-26 Running at large; wearing of collars, tags
11-27 Cruelty, abandonment
11-28 Maintaining a nuisance; abatement
11-29 Sanitation of premises
11-30 Interference with enforcement
11-31 Duty of owner to control dogs
11-32 – 11-39 Reserved
Article III. Dangerous Animals
11-41 Determination of animal as dangerous or potentially dangerous
11-43 Duties of owner of dangerous animal
11-44 Duties of owner of potentially dangerous animal
11-45 Insurance bond requirement
11-46 Liability of parents of minor owners
Animal protection, see G.S. §§ 19A-1 et seq.
Cruelty to animals, see G.S. §§ 14-360 et seq.
Municipal authority to regulate domestic animals, see G.S. § 160A-186
Municipal authority to regulate possession or harboring of domestic animals, see G.S. § 160A-187
ARTICLE I. NONDOMESTIC ANIMALS
This article shall regulate the possession or harboring of nondomestic animals which are dangerous or potentially dangerous to persons or property.
Except as herein provided, it shall be unlawful for any person to possess or harbor any nondomestic animal in the town which is dangerous to persons or property or which has the potential of being dangerous to persons or property. This section shall not apply to traveling zoos, petting zoos, circuses or other traveling commercial animal exhibitions of limited duration and shall not apply to all small native wildlife species which have been specifically permitted by the State Wildlife Resources Commission.
(Ord. passed 12-19-1983) Penalty, see § 11-6
It shall be the responsibility of any owner or keeper of a nondomestic animal to provide his or her name and address and to make a complete and explicit declaration of such animal with the Animal Control Office within 30 days of the adoption of this code. It shall be the responsibility of the owner or keeper of the animal to amend the declaration whenever a change occurs in ownership, status or collection of animals within 30 days of the date of the change.
The Animal Control Officers of the county shall be responsible for maintaining a current and accurate record of the names and addresses of all owners or keepers of nondomestic animals in the town from the information contained in the declarations required in § 11-3. The declarer shall be responsible for informing the Animal Control Office of any change outlined in § 11-3 within 30 days of the date of the change. Such records shall be kept in the files at the Animal Control Office. The Animal Control Officers shall enforce the provisions of Article I, by appropriate prosecution in the district court division of the general court of justice.
(Ord. passed 11-4-1999)
Any individual who is the owner or keeper of a nondomestic animal at the time of the adoption of this code shall not be affected by the prohibition of possessing or harboring a nondomestic animal. All other provisions of this article shall apply. Neither this limitation, nor any other provision of this article, however, shall have the effect of permitting any activity or condition with respect to a wild animal which is prohibited or more severely restricted by regulations of the Wildlife Resources Commission.
Any violation of this article shall be a misdemeanor, and any person convicted of such violation shall be punishable as provided in G.S. § 14-4. Each day’s violation of this article is a separate offense. In addition, enforcement of this article may be by appropriate equitable remedy, injunction or order of abatement issuing from a court of competent jurisdiction or other remedy provided for in G.S. § 153A-123.
§§ 11-7 – 11-19 RESERVED.
ARTICLE II. DOGS
For the purpose of this article, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.
ABANDONMENT. Allowing a dog or puppy to provide its own resources in finding shelter, food or water; leaving a dog or puppy for more than 36 hours without human attention or supervision.
DOG. A male, female or neutered DOG of any age.
HARBORING. Either actively or passively allowing a dog to stay on property; providing food or water or shelter.
OWNER. A person owning, keeping or harboring a dog.
Dogs, see G.S. §§ 67-1 et seq.
Subject to the approval and budgetary controls of the Board of Aldermen, the Health Director is authorized to appoint and supervise one or more Animal Control Officers.
(a) The Animal Control Officer shall be responsible for the enforcement within the town of all public and public-local laws pertaining to the ownership and control of dogs and shall cooperate with all other law enforcement officers operating within the town in fulfilling this responsibility.
(b) The Animal Control Officer shall also serve as Rabies Control Officer. He or she will implement and enforce the provisions of the state rabies law found in G.S. Ch. 130A, including but not limited to the following activities:
(1) Collect and impound stray dogs;
(2) Canvass areas of the town for vaccination of dogs;
(3) Assist practicing veterinarians in the town in conducting rabies clinics;
(4) Maintain the animal shelter, including records of impounded, destroyed, reclaimed and adopted dogs;
(5) Provide at the end of each day, upon request, a list containing complete descriptions of all dogs impounded;
(6) Investigate dog bite cases to ascertain confinement or isolation (based on findings) of the biting dog for a minimum of ten to 14 days observation period for the protection of human victims in the possibility of a rabies infected animal; and
(7) Investigate reports of cruelty or abuse with regard to animals.
(a) The county maintains an animal shelter facility in conjunction with the City of Jacksonville for the purpose of impounding lost, strayed, abandoned or unwanted dogs within the town. These dogs are to be held a minimum of five working days. The Animal Control Officer will use every reasonable effort to locate and inform the owner of these animals.
(b) The animal shelter may be used for the confinement of a dog following a biting incident or when it becomes vicious or a menace to the public health and the owner does not have a secure place in which to quarantine the animal for the appropriate time of observation.
(Ord. passed 11-4-1999)
(a) Each animal impounded pursuant to § 11-23 shall be identified by permanent records which indicate:
(1) Date of impoundment;
(2) Reason for impoundment;
(5) General description;
(7) Method of acquisition;
(8) Identification marks or characteristics; and
(9) Note the presence of tattoos on the dog’s ear, jowl, thigh or other parts of the body.
(b) Any animal impounded which can be traced to its legal owner will be returned to its owner unless otherwise so provided for by the owner in writing. If the ownership of an animal can be determined, the owner will be notified that the animal is in the custody of the Animal Control Officer. Upon payment of the current impoundment fee, daily maintenance fee and any required vaccination fees, the animal shall be returned to its owner.
(c) Any animal which cannot be traced to its legal owner may, after a minimum detainment of five working days, be placed in an adoptive home or subjected to a humane method of euthanasia. No animal may be released from the shelter, either for sale or donation, to research laboratories or related facilities, as breeding stock for puppy mills or wholesalers for further resale, for use in any illegal entrapment or fighting or for human consumption. A permanent record describing the final disposition of an animal, date, names and addresses where applicable and subsequent fees paid shall be kept at all times. Moneys received from fines, fees or adoptive placement will be turned over to the Town Manager for deposit to the Town General Fund.
(d) When an animal is presented by the Animal Control Officer of the town to an attending veterinarian and when in the professional judgement of that attending veterinarian the animal should be humanely euthanized because it is suffering from disease and/or injury, then the attending veterinarian in taking action to euthanize the animal shall be acting as an agent for the town and shall not be held professionally liable for his or her decision to euthanize. This policy of indemnification shall only be in effect when the attending veterinarian is acting or performing services in exchange for no remuneration.
It shall be unlawful for any person to keep, harbor or have in his or her custody or control for longer than 14 days a dog four months old or older unless such dog has been vaccinated with rabies vaccine, approved by the United States Department of Agriculture and the State Department of Agriculture, and the State Commission for Health Services. A certificate must be signed by a licensed veterinarian specifying the vaccine used, the rabies tag number, the sex and breed of the dog and name of the owner. Each vaccinated dog shall be issued, as evidence of vaccination, a rabies tag by the veterinarian.
(a) It shall be unlawful for the owner of any dog to allow such animal to be at large in the town or on any town property.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person owning, harboring, keeping or in charge of any dog to fail to remove feces deposited by the dog on any street, sidewalk, park or other publicly owned area.
(c) It shall be unlawful for any person owning, harboring, keeping or in charge of any dog to fail to remove feces deposited by the dog on any private property unless the owner of the property has given permission allowing such use of the property.
(d) It is required that all dogs and cats shall wear a collar or harness with rabies tags affixed for the purpose of verification of vaccination. Permanent markings such as tattoos will be recognized as an identification method.
It shall be a misdemeanor punishable in accordance with § 1-5 to intentionally dump, dispose, turn free or abandon any dog or puppy for the purpose of total abandonment within the town. With the exception of law enforcement officers in the performance of their duties, a person is guilty of a misdemeanor who maliciously kills, maims or wounds, or beats an animal which is the property of others, or who having charge or custody of an animal as owner or otherwise, tortures, deprives of necessary sustenance, drink or shelter, beats, mutilates or kills an animal or inflicts unnecessary cruelty upon an animal. For purposes of this section, the words DOG SHELTER shall mean an area sufficient in size to contain a constrained dog in a normal sitting, standing, turning, stretching and sleeping position. The area must have sides, a leakproof roof and be structurally sound to give protection from the elements. The ground, base or foundation on which the dog must stand or rest, must be well-drained and not subject to flooding or continuous wet or muddy conditions.
(a) Any person keeping or harboring within the limits of the town one or more dogs which by prolonged and habitual barking, howling or whining cause a disturbance to neighboring residents, or cause destruction or damage to another’s property, and thereby hinder or interfere with the reasonable use and/or enjoyment of the property of neighboring residents shall be construed to be maintaining a nuisance.
(b) No owner of any female dog in heat shall keep the same within the town during such period, except when securely confined to the premises of the owner or other person with such person’s consent, and to allow a female dog in heat to run at large shall make the owner guilty of maintaining a nuisance.
(c) Any person keeping within the boundaries of the town, one or more dogs, and who fails to maintain his or her premises or enclosure in a sanitary condition and thereby creates obnoxious odors or serious annoyance to the neighboring residents shall be guilty of maintaining a nuisance.
(d) Upon filing of a signed complaint by a resident with the nuisance described by the complainant, the Animal Control Officer shall investigate the complaint. If through investigation these complaints are substantiated, he or she shall request that the nuisance be corrected within a 24-hour period. The Animal Control Officer will make a return visit to determine whether the initial cause for complaint has been corrected and may then institute proper legal procedures if the nuisance has not been abated.
(e) Any owner of a dog, or any person harboring a dog, found violating any provisions of this section shall be guilty of maintaining a nuisance, which constitutes a misdemeanor punishable in accordance with § 1-5.
(f) It shall be unlawful for any person to cause or permit a dog under his or her ownership or control to be on any property, public or private, not owned by such person, unless such person shall have in his or her possession a device for the removal of any excrement which might be deposited by such animal. Any person who owns or controls a dog which deposits excrement upon any property, public or private, shall promptly remove such excrement to a proper receptacle located on property owned or possessed by such person.
Any person keeping within the corporate limits of the city one or more dogs and who fails to maintain his or her premises or enclosure in a sanitary condition and thereby creates obnoxious odors or serious annoyance to the neighboring residents shall be guilty of maintaining a nuisance.
(a) The Police Department of the town or the animal control officer of Onslow County shall enforce the provisions of article II. Enforcement shall be accomplished in accordance with the ordinances of the town and all applicable state statutes.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to interfere with, hinder or molest any Animal Control Officer, veterinarian or agent of the Health Department engaged in the performance of duty authorized by this article, or to seek to release any animal in the custody of such persons, except as otherwise specifically provided.
(Ord. passed 11-4-1999)
(a) All dogs within the territorial boundaries of the town or its extraterritorial jurisdiction shall remain under their owners’ or custodians’ immediate control.
(b) For the purpose of this section, IMMEDIATE CONTROL BY THE OWNER OR CUSTODIAN shall be construed to mean:
(1) Restrained upon the property of the owner or custodian of the dog either by being tied, chained, within the confines of a fence designed to restrain the dog, or an electronic operated, invisible fence sufficient to restrain the dog upon the property of the owner or custodian; or
(2) While being walked or exercised off the premises or property of the owner or custodian, the dog must be restrained by a leash connected to a collar or harness, sufficient to restrain the dog from breaking loose, the leash to be not longer than 25 feet in length (retractable).
(c) The provisions of subsection (b)(1) above shall be enforced in the same manner, using the process outlined in § 11-28.
(Ord. passed 9-2-1993; Ord. passed 11-4-1999) Penalty, see § 1-5
§§ 11-32 – 11-39 RESERVED.
ARTICLE III. DANGEROUS ANIMALS
For the purpose of this article, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.
DANGEROUS OR VICIOUS ANIMAL. Any of the following:
(1) Any animal which, according to the records of the appropriate authority, has inflicted or caused, directly or indirectly, severe injury on a human being without provocation on public or private property;
(2) Any animal which, while off the owner’s property, kills or severely injures a domestic animal without provocation; or
(3) Any animal owned or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of animal fighting or any animal trained for animal fighting.
OWNER. Any person owning, keeping, having charge of, sheltering, feeding, harboring or taking care of any animal. The OWNER is responsible for the care, actions and behavior of his or her animal. If the OWNER or keeper of any animal is a minor, the parent or guardian of such minor shall be held liable for noncompliance with the provisions of this article.
POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS ANIMAL. Any of the following:
(1) Any animal which, when unprovoked, chases or approaches a person upon the streets, sidewalks or any public or private property in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack;
(2) Any animal with a known propensity, tendency or disposition to attack unprovoked, to cause injury or to otherwise threaten the safety of human beings or domestic animals; or
(3) Guard or attack dogs.
SEVERE INJURY. Any physical injury that results in serious bodily harm, including, but not limited to lacerations, puncture wounds or broken bones. Such injury may be the direct result of an animal attack or indirect, such as an injury sustained in an attempt by a human to avoid a dangerous or vicious animal.
Authority of town to regulate the possession or harboring of dangerous animals, see G.S. § 153A-131
(a) Any of the characteristics in § 11-40 automatically characterize an animal as dangerous, and no hearing is required. If any owner disagrees with the facts used to designate the animal as dangerous, he or she may request a hearing under the provisions of subsections (c) through (e) below.
(b) Any of the characteristics in § 11-40 automatically characterize an animal as potentially dangerous. A record of each animal characterized as potentially dangerous, including the name and address of the owner, and the breed and age of the animal shall be kept with the Health Director. Such animals must be confined or leashed at all times. Upon receipt of three affidavits of complaint against a potentially dangerous animal, signed by one or more residents of the town made under oath before an individual authorized by law to take sworn statements, setting forth the nature and the date of the act, the owner of the animal, the address of the owner and the description of the animal doing such act, the designation of such potentially dangerous animal shall automatically be changed to dangerous.
(c) A determination hearing shall be conducted by the Health Director whenever there is cause to believe that an animal may be a dangerous animal. The hearing shall be conducted within five days of serving notice to the owner by certified letter. Pending the outcome of such a hearing, the animal must be securely confined in a humane manner either on the premises of the owner, with a licensed veterinarian or with the Animal Control Officer.
(d) The Health Director shall determine whether to declare the animal to be a dangerous animal based upon evidence and testimony presented at the time of the hearing by the owner, witnesses to any incident which may be considered germane to such a determination, Health Department personnel, police or any other person possessing information pertinent to such determination.
(e) The Health Director or the Director’s authorized agent shall issue written findings within five workdays after the determination hearing. The owner or possessor of the animal found to be dangerous by the hearing has the right to appeal the decision within three workdays of receiving such decision to the Board of Health.
No animal may be declared dangerous if the threat, injury or damage was sustained by a person who at the time was committing a willful trespass or other tort upon the premises occupied by the owner or keeper of the animal, or if such person was teasing, tormenting, abusing or has in the past been observed or reported to have teased, tormented, abused or assaulted the animal or was committing or attempting to commit a crime. Neither shall an animal be declared dangerous if, while under control of a qualified trainer, in use for public law enforcement, it inflicts damage upon a person who is committing a crime.
(a) The owner of an animal involved in an unprovoked attack causing fatal or severe injury to a person shall surrender the animal for impoundment, and after the ten-day holding period the animal shall be humanely euthanized.
(b) The owner of an animal involved in a nonfatal or nonsevere bite shall surrender the animal for ten calendar days for rabies observation, an exception being wild or exotic animals which shall be destroyed and examined for rabies, in accordance with existing rabies control law.
(c) Owners of animals determined dangerous by definition or by hearing outlined above shall observe the following.
(1) The owner shall meet all requirements for keeping any animal such as licensing, registration and rabies inoculation and provide the Health Director with a record of each animal characterized as dangerous, including the name and address of the owner and the breed and age of the animal. The owner shall be responsible for keeping this record current. Such animals must be confined or leashed at all times.
(2) A dangerous animal shall wear an identifying collar and be permanently marked by a tattoo as prescribed by the Health Director on the inside left flank.
(3) While on the owner’s property a dangerous animal must be securely confined indoors or in a securely enclosed and locked pen or kennel suitable to prevent entry or reaching through of young children and designed to prevent the animal from escaping. The pen or kennel may not share common fencing with an area or perimeter fence. The kennel or pen must have secure sides at least six feet in height; a secure top attached to all sides; the sides must be either buried two feet into the ground, sunken into a concrete pad or securely attached to a wire bottom. The gate to the kennel must be locked. The enclosure must also provide protection from the elements for the animal and have a ground area of at least five feet by 20 feet. The owner or keeper shall display a sign on his or her premises warning that there is a dangerous animal on the property. This sign shall be visible and capable of being read from the public highway or thoroughfare. A sign measuring 12 by 18 inches with prominent words “Beware of Dangerous Animal” will suffice.
(4) A dangerous animal may be off the owner’s premises if it is muzzled to prevent it from biting and restrained by a substantial chain or leash not exceeding three feet in length and under the control of a responsible adult. The muzzle must be made in a manner that will not cause injury to the animal or interfere with its vision or respiration. If a dangerous animal escapes its confinement or frees itself from its owner, an Animal Control Officer or other law enforcement officer is authorized to destroy the animal on the spot, if in his or her judgment the animal cannot be safely captured without causing harm to the officer or the public. The officer shall not be held liable for the loss of the animal.
(5) The owner must allow officers of the Animal Control Department to make whatever inquiries are deemed necessary to ensure compliance with these provisions, including inspection of the owner’s premises where the dangerous animal is confined.
(6) If the owner of the animal that has been designated dangerous is unwilling or unable to comply with the above regulations for keeping such an animal then he or she must have the animal humanely euthanized by the Animal Control Department or a licensed veterinarian after a holding period of ten calendar days. All costs shall be borne by the owner.
(7) The owner of a dangerous animal, and if the owner is a minor, the parent or guardian, shall be responsible for compliance with the specifications of this article for care, confinement and restraint of the animal and shall also be liable for all injuries and property damage sustained by any person or domestic animal caused by an unprovoked attack by the animal. This includes all medical and health care costs.
(8) The owner shall notify the Animal Control Department of any change in status of the dangerous animal immediately of learning that it is loose, unconfined, has attacked another person or domestic animal, or has died, or has been sold or given away. The name, address and telephone number of the new owner must be provided.
(a) The owner of an animal involved in a nonfatal or nonsevere bite shall surrender the animal for rabies observation, an exception being wild or exotic animals, which shall be destroyed and examined for rabies, in accordance with existing rabies control law.
(b) The owner of an animal determined potentially dangerous by definition or by hearing outlined above shall observe the following: The owner shall notify the Animal Control Department of any change in status of the potentially dangerous animal within 24 hours of learning that it is loose, unconfined, has attacked another person or domestic animal, or has died or has been sold or given away. The name, address and telephone number of the new owner must be provided.
Within ten calendar days after the first conviction of a violation of this article, the owner or keeper of a dangerous animal shall present to the town proof that the owner or keeper has procured liability insurance in the amount of at least $50,000, covering a 12-month period. This policy shall contain a provision requiring the town to be named as an additional insured for the sole purpose that the town is to be notified by the insurance company of any cancellation, termination or expiration of the policy. Failure to provide evidence of such insurance shall be a violation of this article.
If the owner or keeper of a dangerous animal within the town is a minor, the parent or guardian of that minor shall be responsible for compliance with the requirements of this article and shall be liable for injuries and damages sustained by any person or domestic animal caused by an unprovoked attack by the animal. The parent or guardian is responsible for all provisions of this article.
(a) Violation of any of the provisions of this article by any person shall constitute a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, a violation shall be punished by fine not to exceed $5,000, by imprisonment not exceeding two years, or both, in the discretion of the court as provided in G.S. §§ 14-3 and 130A-25. Each violation shall constitute a separate and distinct offense.
(b) Violation of any of the provisions of this article in which it is found by the court that any dangerous animal has, when unprovoked, attacked, assaulted, wounded, bitten or otherwise injured or killed a human being, shall cause such finding to be considered an aggravating factor by the court in determination of penalty. Upon determination solely made by the Health Director that such an aggravating factor exists, the dangerous animal or potentially dangerous animal may be destroyed at the discretion of the Health Director, except for wild or exotic animals, which shall be destroyed and examined for rabies in accordance with existing rabies control law.
(c) A second aggravating factor in the determination by the court of penalty shall be the continued owning or keeping of a dangerous or potentially dangerous animal which has in the past attacked, assaulted, wounded, bitten, killed or otherwise injured a human being.
(d) If any dangerous or potentially dangerous animal shall, when unprovoked, kill, wound or worry or assist in killing or wounding any domestic animal or pet, while off of its owner’s or keeper’s property, such shall constitute a violation of this article punishable as set forth in subsection (a) above. Also, if the Health Director makes a sole determination that such has in fact occurred, the owner or keeper of the animal shall be subject to the possibility of the confiscation by the Health Director of the animal. The Health Director is therefore empowered, at his or her discretion, to confiscate; and, after the expiration of a waiting period of ten calendar days, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, may destroy the dangerous animal, an exception being wild or exotic animals, which shall be destroyed and examined for rabies in accordance with existing rabies control law.
(e) None of the penalties or remedies herein contained shall limit the authority of the Health Director to exercise any of the remedies otherwise provided for under G.S. §§ 130A-17 et seq.