North Carolina law prohibits dogs from running loose at night, and local communities usually have additional regulations that require dogs to be leashed when not on owner property. Here is a sampling of local pet laws in North Carolina.
Charlotte Pet Laws
Owners of Charlotte dogs must register dogs, cats and ferrets 4 months or older. Animals must also be vaccinated against rabies. The dog, cat and ferret license fee is $30 for fertile animals. Permit fees for dogs, cats and ferrets are $10 per year or $25 for three years for sterile animals. Pet owners age 62 and older with neutered animals can obtain free licenses.
Dogs in Charlotte must be leashed or contained within a fence, which could be a functional and marked invisible fence. You must also keep a dog on a leash in city parks, except for designated off-leash areas. An animal may be loose in its yard if an adult is near the animal and the animal responds to direct verbal commands.
Violators can be cited $50 for the first offense and up to $500 and permanent seizure of the animal for a fifth offense.
You cannot drive with your pet on your lap. If you break this law, you could be fined $100.
Any Charlotte resident with a dog deemed dangerous must install a privacy fence or secure fence with a top, carry liability insurance, muzzle the dog when off the property, tattoo the dog identifying it as dangerous, and post warning signs on the property.
Raleigh Pet Laws
You should vaccinate dogs and cats 4 months or older against rabies.
Raleigh dog owners cannot tie a dog outside for more than three hours in a 24-hour period. This includes using a rope, chain or other line to restrain a dog. The order is in place to prevent a dog from getting hurt or being left in harsh conditions without access to shelter, food and water.
You must pick up your dog’s feces when you are not on your property, unless you have permission from the property owner.
Animal Control may consider an animal a nuisance for the following reasons:
- Found repeatedly on the run
- Harmful property
- Causing unsanitary conditions of the enclosure or environment
- Air pollution with odors
- Habitual barking or loud noises
- Dangerous for public health
Greensboro Pet Laws
Pet owners in Greensboro should keep their dogs and cats 4 months or older up to date on their rabies vaccinations. If your dog or cat is not up to date with their vaccinations, you may need 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 loose, may result in a citation for the owner. Fines vary between $100 and $500, depending on the violation.
Guilford County considers it illegal to own an “inherently dangerous animal”. This includes lions, tigers, bears and wolves. Owners of exotic pets must obtain a permit to notify animal control of their whereabouts.
North Carolina has its share of natural disasters, including hurricanes. Greensboro officials recommend that you transport your pet in a carrier or leash it in case of an emergency. They also suggest you have an emergency kit and travel bag, including a recent photo of your pet, leashes and/or carriers, pet food, water, bowls, vet contact details, medical records, plastic bags and pet toys.
Related: Disaster Preparedness Guide for Pet Owners
Durham Pet Laws
Pet owners in County Durham must restrain their furry friends when they are not on their property. An exception are 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 that your dog has been vaccinated against rabies, distemper/parvo and bordetella, and have negative fecal test results.
Dog owners must pick up their pets on public property, public right-of-way and private property without the owner’s permission. Violators will be subject to a fine of $50 to $150, depending on the number of violations.
You cannot leave a pet unattended tied up in a yard or open space. If you do, animal services may contact you and recommend that you keep your pet indoors or in a fenced area. If you can’t afford a fence, you may be able to have one installed for free through community partners. Repeat offenders are subject to civil penalties and criminal prosecution.