Group to Petition Yancey Commissioners for Animal Ordinance

Yancey Animal  Advocacy, which is a  group of animal lovers in Yancey County, plans to petition the Yancey County commissioners at their October 14th meeting with a proposed ordinance  to provide basic humane care of animals. Yancey County is one of a few counties in the state that does not have any animal ordinances. There are NC state statues but they are limited in scope.  The group has petitions that they are asking Yancey County citizens to sign to show their support of the ordinance.  Petitions can be found at the Barkin’ Basement, Crazy Critters Pet Store,  Burnsville Veterinary Clinic and Cane River Wellness and Veterinary Clinic. The ordinance is also available for review at those locations.  The group is asking people to sign the petitions and/or come to the commissioners’ meeting. For more information go to the Yancey Animal Advocacy Facebook page.

Proposed Ordinance:





This Ordinance is adopted pursuant to the authority vested in Yancey County by the General Statutes of North Carolina, particularly N.C.G.S. 153A-121 General Ordinance making Power, and other applicable laws.



It is the purpose of this ordinance to prohibit certain acts, omissions and conditions which interfere with the health, safety and general welfare of the inhabitants of Yancey County; to make unlawful, the acts of animals that interfere with the enjoyment of property or the peace and safety of the community; to protect animals from abuse or other conditions harmful to their well-being; and to authorize the performance of any other duties authorized by applicable local and state laws.  These ordinances are meant to supplement N.C.G.S.A.§ 14-360 to 14-363; § 19A-1 – 70; § 19A-1 – 70; § 160A-182, § 14-177; § 153A-127, N.C.G.S.A. § 67-1 to 18; N.C.G.S.A. § N.C.G.S.A. § 14-81 to 82; N.C.G.S.A. § 19A-20 to 41; § 67-1 – 36; § 90-187.7; § 130A-184 to 201;§ 160A-186; § 160A-212; § 14-4.



Nothing in this ordinance is intended to be in conflict with the laws of the state regulating, restricting, authorizing or otherwise affecting dogs while used in hunting; but this exception applies only while the dogs are under the control of the owner or competent person and are lawfully being used for hunting or training for hunting in compliance with applicable statutes, regulations and ordinances.  This ordinance should be read and enforced consistent with any such law.


This Ordinance shall be known as the Yancey County Animal Ordinance.



The Yancey County Sheriff’s Office shall be in charge of enforcing this ordinance and state laws applicable to criminal welfare within all areas of Yancey County.  Law Enforcement Officers associated with a municipality may also enforce this Ordinance if the municipality has a resolution or ordinance adopting these Ordinances.



If any section, specific provision, or standard of this Ordinance is found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid for any reason, the decision of the court shall not affect the validity of any other section, provision or standard of this Ordinance which shall remain in full force and effect.


RELATION TO OTHER ORDINANCES This Ordinance is not intended to interfere with, abrogate or annul any other ordinances, rules, regulations or other provisions of law. If the provisions of this Ordinance conflict with provisions of any other validly enforceable ordinance(s) or laws, the most stringent provisions shall apply.




(a)    For the purpose of this ordinance, shall apply to dogs.


(1)       Abandon: To forsake, or give up a dog under the custody or possession of a person without having secured another owner or custodian or otherwise failing to make reasonable arrangements for adequate food, shelter and water as defined below.

(2)       Abuse: Willful injury to or mistreatment of a dog, but not to include the legal euthanization of a dog.

(3)       Adequate Food:  The provision at suitable intervals, at least every 24 hours, of a quantity of foodstuff suitable for the species, and sufficient to maintain the dogs’ health and well-being, provided in a sanitary manner.  Such foodstuff shall be provided in a receptacle, dish or other container.

a.       Adequate Shelter: A shelter which will keep a dog dry, out of the direct path of winds, rain and direct sun, and at a temperature level that is healthful for the animal.  The shelter shall be a windproof and moisture proof structure of suitable size to accommodate the animal and retention of body heat.  It shall include a roof and enclosures on all side, with an opening large enough to allow access to the animal, but placed in such a way as to keep the animal out of the direct path of winds and rain. Adequate bedding material should be provided when forecasted temperatures are below freezing.  The containment area shall be free of accumulated waste and debris so that the animal shall be free to walk or lie down without coming in contact with any such waste or debris, and a suitable method of draining shall be provided to rapidly eliminate excess water or moisture. The containment area shall be free of physical hazards or conditions detrimental to the health or general welfare of the animal.  The enclosure shall be ventilated and must have sufficient room for the dog(s) to move around freely and to lie down comfortably.  Examples of inadequate shelter, include, but are not limited to, the following:

i.      Underneath outside steps, decks and stoops.

ii.      Inside or underneath motor vehicles.

iii.      Inside cardboard boxes.

iv.      Inside temporary animal carriers or crates.

v.      Shelters surrounded by debris, obstructions or impediments that may endanger an animal.


(4)       Adequate Water:  Access to a supply of liquid, unfrozen water that is clean, fresh and visibly free of debris and organic material, provided in a sanitary manner.  Water containers must be of sufficient size and placed to prevent accidental spilling by weather conditions or animal activity.


(5)       At Large:  Any dog shall be deemed to be at large when it is off the property of its owner and not under the control of a competent person.

(6)       Bite: The act of a dog seizing the flesh with its teeth or jaws, so as to tear, pierce or injure the flesh.

(7)       Competent Person:  A person of suitable age and discretion to keep a dog under sufficient restraint and control in order to prevent harm to the dog and to persons, other animals, including but not limited to domesticated livestock or property.

(8)       Cruelty, Cruel Treatment, and Abuse: Every act, omission or neglect whereby unjustifiable physical pain, suffering or death is caused or permitted or attempted to be caused or permitted against a dog, as well as acts or attempted acts of teasing, molesting, baiting or trapping of a dog unlawfully. Such acts or omissions shall include but not be limited to beating, kicking, hanging, submerging under water, suffocating, poisoning, setting on fire, and depriving of food, water or medical treatment, or otherwise subjecting the dog to conditions detrimental to its health or general welfare.

(9)       Dangerous Canine Appeals Board: The board appointed by the Yancey County Commissioners to hear appeals from the determination by the Yancey County Sheriff that a dog is a Dangerous Animal or a Potentially Dangerous Animal.

(11)  Dog:  Any of various types or species of canine.

(12)  Enclosure: A pen or paddock with adequate and properly installed fencing.  It is recommended that fenced lots for dogs are to be no less than 100 square feet and must provide adequate shelter as defined in these ordinances.

(13)  Humane: Characterized by kindness, compassion, mercy, and inflicting the minimum amount of pain.

(14)  Imminent Peril: A danger that is certain, immediate, and impending, that threatens the safety or life of a dog.

(15) Keeper: Any person, acting in the capacity of the owner, or at the owner’s request, who is responsible for the care, welfare, and maintenance of the dog.

(16)  Lawful Hunt: A hunt for lawful game conducted on public or private property with the consent of the owner or custodian of the property by a person with a valid license (if required) during the lawful season for the game concerned using dogs customarily employed and suitable for such game.

(17)  Neglect: Failure of an owner/keeper of a dog to provide the dog with adequate food, water, shelter, or failure of an owner/keeper of a dog to obtain appropriate care and legally mandated vaccinations.

(18)  Owner: Any person, firm, corporation, or organization having custody, control, possession, or legal interest in a dog, including a dog’s keeper or caretaker.

(19)  Owner’s Property: That area described in a deed of conveyance or the area described in a lease.  In a situation involving townhomes or condominiums, animal control will treat the common areas as being owned by the homeowners’ association.  In a situation involving leased apartments, animal control will treat the common areas as being owned by the lessor.  A motor vehicle is not a part of the owner’s property unless it is physically located on the area described in a deed of conveyance or the area described in a lease.  A motor vehicle that is physically located in or on the common areas of townhomes, condominiums or leased apartments, or their public areas shall be treated as being off of the owner’s property.

(20)    Restraint:  A dog is under restraint within the meaning of this ordinance if it is controlled by means of a chain, leash, or other like device, under direct control of the owner/keeper and is obedient to that person or is within a secure enclosure.

(21)    Sanitary: Relating to health or the protection of health of dogs, areas should not have an excess of elements such as animal waste or pathogens that endanger health.

(22)    Stray: Any dog that is not on the property of its owner and is wandering at large, or is lost, or does not have any owner, or does not bear evidence of the identification of any owner, and is one that enters your property or residence or place of business.

(23)    Suitable Size:  Enough room for a dog to be able to stand up and turn around comfortably.

(24)    Tether:  A means by which a dog is fastened so that it can range within a reasonable radius.



MISTREATMENT OF ANIMALS; PROHIBITED ACTS. This section is to supplement N.C.G.S. 14-360, Cruelty to Animals.

(a)    All dogs in the possession of any person shall be kept and treated under sanitary and humane conditions, and it shall be unlawful for any person to subject, or cause to be subjected, any dog to cruel treatment. It shall likewise be unlawful for any person to deprive, or cause to be deprived, any dog of adequate food and water, necessary medical attention, legally required vaccinations and adequate shelter.

(b)   Adequate food, water and shelter shall be provided as follows:

b.      All dogs shall be given at suitable intervals, at least every 24 hours, a quantity of foodstuff suitable for the species, and sufficient to maintain the animal’s health and well-being, provided in a sanitary manner.  Such foodstuff shall be provided in a receptacle, dish or other container.

c.       All dogs shall have access to a supply of clean, fresh water.

d.      All dogs, shall be provided with adequate shelter from the weather and clean conditions at all times.

(2)                Every person who owns any pen, lot, kennel, shelter or other place where dogs are kept shall maintain the same in a reasonable sanitary manner.


(3)                It shall be unlawful to abandon a dog except to relinquish the animal to the animal shelter during normal business hours in accordance with policies and procedures then in effect at the animal shelter.


CRUELTY TO ANIMALS This section is to supplement N.C.G.S. 14-360, 14-361, 14-362 and 19A-23.

(a)    It shall be unlawful for any person to molest, torture, torment, deprive of necessary sustenance, cruelly beat or treat, needlessly mutilate or kill, wound, injure, poison, abandon or subject any dog to conditions detrimental to its health or general welfare or to procure any such actions to be inflicted upon any animal.

(1)    Examples of cruel treatment include, but are not limited to, the following a-i; Exemptions are noted in N.C.G.S – 19A-1.1.

a.       Allowing a collar, rope, wire, or chain to become embedded in or cause injury to a dog’s neck.

b.      Allowing any dog to be left outside in inclement weather or extreme temperatures without adequate shelter.

c.       Intentionally allowing dogs to engage in a fight.

d.      Allowing dogs to live in unsanitary conditions.

e.      Allowing dogs to live in crowded conditions. Dogs must have enough room to move freely within a reasonably clean enclosure.

f.        Failure to relinquish an injured or sick dog when an owner is unable or unwilling to provide medical treatment.

g.       Permitting any exhibit, function or activity where dogs are being cruelly treated or where animals run the risk of causing injury to the public or themselves.

h.       Restraining a dog using a chain, rope, or wire grossly in excess of the size necessary to restrain the dog.

i.         Abandoning a dog.


STANDARD FOR TETHERING. This section is to supplement N.C.G.S. 14-362.3, Restraining dogs in a cruel manner.

It shall be unlawful to tether a dog with the use of a tether as follows:

(a)    A tether used in an area containing obstacles so as to prevent the dog from having access to food, water and shelter.

(b)   A tether used in connection with a chain and choke collar.

(c)    A tether exceeding ten percent (10%) of the dog’s body weight.

(d)   A tether used without a collar or harness.



Notwithstanding any other provision of this Ordinance, any animal that is badly injured, wounded or diseased (not rabies suspect) and that has no identification shall be euthanized immediately in a humane manner. If the animal has identification, the Yancey County Animal Control Officer shall attempt expeditiously to notify the owner or keeper before euthanizing such animal, but if the owner cannot be reached readily and the animal is suffering, the Yancey County Animal Control Officer may cause the animal to be euthanized at his/her discretion in a humane manner. The Yancey County Sheriff’s Office, the Yancey County Humane Society or any attending veterinarian shall have no liability for euthanizing injured, wounded or diseased animals.



(a)    It shall be unlawful for an owner to permit a dog to run at large if such dog is reported as creating a public nuisance as defined in this section.

(b)    It shall be unlawful for the owner/keepers of any dog determined by the Yancey County Sheriff’s Office to be a nuisance, to allow that dog to run loose off the owner/keeper’s real property. In such cases the owner/keeper must correct the nuisance situation immediately by keeping the dog that has been found to be creating a public nuisance on his property at all times. For the purpose of this section, public nuisance includes, but is not limited to:

(1)  Maintaining a dog that chases, snaps at, attacks or otherwise harasses pedestrians, bicyclists, motor vehicles, farm stock or domestic animals;

(3)  Allowing or permitting a dog to damage or cause a nuisance to the property of anyone other than its owner/keeper;

(4)  Maintaining a dog that is diseased and dangerous to the public health;

(c)  Violation.

1.  Determining Violations.

(i)  Any Yancey County Animal Control Officer or law enforcement officer who observes a violation of this section shall provide the owner of the dog written notification of the nature of the violation in the form of an abatement order that shall indicate that unless the violations are abated and measures are taken to prevent their reoccurrence.

(ii)  Written Complaint.

(1)  Upon receipt of a written detailed and signed complaint alleging that any person is maintaining a public nuisance as defined in this ordinance, the Yancey County animal control officer may cause the owner of the dog in question to be notified that a complaint has been received and may cause the situation complained upon to be investigated and a written report thereon to be prepared.

(2)  If the written findings indicate that the complaint is justified the Yancey County Animal Control Officer shall provide the owner of the dog written notification of the nature of the violation in the form of an abatement order that shall indicate that unless the violation is abated and measures are taken to prevent their reoccurrence within 24 hours or such lesser time as designated in the notice, the owner shall be required to remove the dog from the county.

2.  Failure to abate violation.  If the public nuisance has not been abated after the time indicated in the abatement order then the Yancey County Animal Control Officer may notify the owner in writing that the dog may be impounded or a civil penalty may be issued and/or a criminal summons may be issued.



(a)    It shall be unlawful for any person to intentionally strike a dog with an automobile or other vehicle causing injury or death.

(b)   It shall be unlawful for any person who causes unintentional injury to a dog, including but not limited to, running over or hitting the animal with any vehicle, (excluding wildlife) to fail to immediately the Yancey County Sheriff’s Office.


FALSE REPORTS OR FRIVOLOUS COMPLAINTS.  This section is to supplement N.C.G.S. 14-196(a)(5).

(a)  It shall be unlawful for any person to file a false report with the Yancey County Sheriff’s Office or to knowingly provide false information to an animal control officer involving investigation of any reported violation of this Chapter.


DANGEROUS OR POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS DOGS.  This section is to supplement N.C.G.S., section 4.1-4.

(a)  If a dog is declared a dangerous dog pursuant to N.C.G.S 67-4.1, the owner shall have 15 days from the date of notification to comply with the requirements of NCGS 67-4.2.  During this time the dangerous dog shall be under constant restraint on the owner’s property or may be seized by animal control and held at owner’s expense until compliance with NCGS 67-4.2 is met.

(b)          The owner of a dangerous dog must, at his/her expense, comply with the following:

(1)  Meet all requirements for keeping any dog, including rabies inoculation.

(2)  Notify animal control of any changes in status of the dangerous dog within 24 hours, such as change of residence, if the dog escapes, or if the dog has died.

(3) The owner shall display a sign on his property warning that there is a dangerous dog on the property. The sign shall be clearly visible.

(4) If the owner of a dangerous dog is unwilling or unable to comply with the regulations set forth in this section for keeping such a dog, and if the owner is unable to transfer ownership or possession to another party pursuance to subsection (5) below, he must have the dog immediately and humanely euthanized by animal control or by a licensed veterinarian.

(5)  If the owner of a dangerous dog transfers ownership or possession of the dog to another person (as defined in G.S. 12-3(6)), the owner shall provide written notice to the Yancey County Sheriff’s Office stating the name and address of the new owner or possessor of the dog and the person taking ownership or possession of the dog, specifying the dog’s dangerous behavior and animal control’s determination.

(c) An owner of a dog declared dangerous and under appeal shall be under the same restrictions and penalties as a dangerous dog until the declaration is overturned.

(d)  If at any time the dangerous dog is not confined, as set forth in subsection (e) of this section, the owner shall be fined in accordance with N.C.G.S. 67-4.2(c).

(e)  Exemptions to this section are noted in N.C.G.S. section 67-4.1(b).



(a)    There is hereby created a Dangerous Canine Appeal Board, which shall consist of (5) five representatives appointed by the Yancey County Commissioners.  Members shall be appointed for (3) three-year terms.  Appeals shall be heard by a quorum.  The Board shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine all appeals from determinations made by the Yancey County Sheriff in accordance with Sections 7 and 19 of this ordinance.

(1)    Upon declaration that a dog is a dangerous dog, the Yancey County Sheriff’s Office must notify the owner, in writing, of the owner’s right to appeal. The owner then has three days to appeal, in writing, the decision made by the Sheriff to the Yancey County Manager. The Manager shall schedule a hearing with the Dangerous Canine Appeal Board within ten days of the filing for the appeal. Any appeal from the final decision of the Dangerous Canine Appeal Board shall be taken to the superior court by filing notice of appeal and a petition for review within ten days of the final decision of the Appellate Board. Appeals from rulings of the Appellate Board shall be heard in the superior court division. The appeal shall be heard de novo before a superior court judge sitting in the county in which the appellate board whose ruling is being appealed is located.

State Law reference— Counties may, by ordinance, regulate, restrict or prohibit the possession or harboring of dangerous animals within the county under N.C.G.S. 153A-131; further regulations concerning dangerous dogs, including the authority of a city or county to designate a person or board for the determination of a dangerous dog, are contained in N.C.G.S. 67-4.1.; nothing in the state dangerous dog law prevents a city or county from adopting or enforcing its own program for control of dangerous dogs, N.C.G.S. 67-4.5.



It shall be unlawful to allow a dog to be unleashed at any time while on County owned property such as public recreation parks, public campgrounds or public picnic areas.  Owners are required to retrieve and properly dispose of the animal’s waste.





(a)  Enforcement of these ordinances shall rest with Yancey County Sheriff’s Office and those governmental agencies and personnel authorized to exercise police powers by North Carolina statute to include, without limitation, the Yancey County Sheriff’s Department and the Police Departments of any municipality that by resolution or ordinance has adopted this Ordinance within its municipal boundaries.

(b)  Enforcement personnel are authorized to investigate suspected violations of this Ordinance and are empowered to go upon property to inspect the conditions of animals and their surrounding with reasonable suspicion or warrant, to issue citations, warning citations, or letters of warning when any of the provisions of this chapter have been violated. Citations shall be delivered by enforcement officials in person to the alleged violator or delivered by registered mail return receipt requested to the person so charged.

(c)   Where enforcement personnel determine that a violation is a first offense for the person charged, a written warning letter or citation may be issued at the discretion of the enforcement officer.

(d) In regards to livestock in roadway this will be turned over to the North Carolina Highway Patrol or to D.O.T., livestock abuse/neglect will be turned over to the Yancey County Sheriff’s Department.

(e) Where enforcement personnel determine an animal to be in imminent peril, all reasonable action shall be taken to secure the welfare of the animal including, but not limited to removal from the property and temporary placement and care within a shelter.  The owner may be responsible for cost of care while animal is under temporary placement. Should the owner not be present at the time of removal, a written warning or citation will be left at the residence on property. If the property has no residence, efforts will be made through reasonable means to notify the owner as immediately as possible by enforcement personnel.



The following penalties shall pertain to violation of this ordinance:

(a)  The violation of any provisions of this ordinance shall be a misdemeanor and any person convicted of such violation shall be punishable as provided in N.C.G.S. §14-4, or other applicable law.   Each days’ violation of this ordinance are a separate offense.  Payment of a fine imposed in criminal proceedings does not relieve a person of his liability for civil penalties imposed under this ordinance.

(b)  Enforcement of this ordinance may include any appropriate equitable remedy, injunction or order of abatement issuing from a court of competent jurisdiction pursuant to N.C.G.S. §153A-123(b)(e).

(c)  In addition to and independent of any criminal penalties and other sanctions provided in this ordinance a violation of this ordinance may also subject the offender to the following civil penalties.

(1)  The Yancey County Animal Control Officer may issue to the owner of any dog or to any other violator of the provisions of this ordinance a ticket or citation giving notice of the alleged violations and the civil penalty imposed.  Tickets or citations so issued may be delivered in person or mailed by first class mail to the person charged.  The following civil penalties shall be assessed for each violation.

(i)  a civil penalty of $50.00 shall be assessed for the first violation or offense of any section of this ordinance.

(ii)  a civil penalty of $100.00 shall be assessed for the second violation or offense of any section of this ordinance.

(iii)  a civil penalty of $300.00 shall be assessed for the third violation or offense of any section of this ordinance.

2)  This civil penalty shall be paid to the Yancey County Manager or her designee within fourteen (14) days of receipt.  This civil penalty is in addition to any other cost or fines imposed by this ordinance.

3)  In the event that the applicable civil penalty is not paid within the time period prescribed a civil action may be commenced to recover the penalty and cost associated with the collection of the penalty including a reasonable attorneys fee, and/or a criminal summons may be issued against the owner or other violator of this ordinance and upon conviction the owner shall be punished as provided by state law.  Failure on the part of the owner or alleged violator to pay the applicable civil penalty within the time period prescribed is unlawful and a violation of this ordinance unless otherwise provided the civil penalty for violation of this subsection is One Hundred Dollars ($100.00).

Section 20.  The foregoing Yancey County Animal Control Ordinance was adopted this the ____ day of _____________, 2019.