The City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County have laws that describe what constitutes animal abuse. The ordinance is written so that the laws pertain to anyone that owns, possesses, or harbors any animal. The townships within Mecklenburg County don't all have the same laws as the city or county. Click here to go to your town website.
Animals that are kept outside must have access to fresh water all the time. Food is not required to be left outside, as long as they are fed at least once a day.
Animals that appear to be sick, diseased, or injured must receive medical attention immediately. Animal Care & Control Officers will determine the condition of the animal based on its body condition and request the owner provides any and all paperwork as proof that the animal is receiving medical care. If the owner cannot provide this proof then they will be given 24-48 hours to seek medical attention and the AC&C Officer will conduct a follow-up review inspection.
Animals may not be kept in unsanitary or inhumane conditions at any time. This includes an environment where an animal's health and general welfare is threatened, along with raising the risk of transmitting disease. AC&C Officers may inspect the animal's living conditions to make sure their environment is clean and sanitary. (This also applies to suspicion of puppy mills.)
Animals must have an adequate shelter so that the animal can be protected from extremes of weather (heat, cold, rain, etc.) and able to remain dry and comfortable. An adequate shelter is defined as an enclosed area accessible by an animal, of sufficient size and nature so as to provide the animal with reasonable protection from adverse weather conditions. It is not required that the adequate shelter provided be kept warm/cool or insulated during the cold/hot seasons. Items that are not considered adequate shelter: airline crates, wire cages, or anything with holes other than the main opening.
Animals that are outside for an extended period of time, or live outside, must have a shaded location when sunlight is likely to cause overheating and discomfort. An adequate shelter should be placed in a shaded location for this reason.
Animals must be contained by fencing, proper tethering or a properly sized kennel. To learn more about this law, visit our Tethering page.
Animals may not be left in a structure, property, or motor vehicle that can be considered dangerous for the animals' health or well-being due to temperature, and/or lack of food or drink. If an animal is discovered in such a location, an AC&C Officer will come investigate the situation, attempt to make contact with the owner using all available resources, and, in exigent circumstances, may be removed for its own protection/safety.
In the case of an animal in a vehicle and determined to be under extreme distress, an AC&C Officer must have a CMPD Officer present to forcefully enter the vehicle to remove it. Signs of distress include: excessive panting, excessive drooling, and unable to get up or move.
When a call for service is placed for an AC&C Officer to respond, a call will be placed for service and an AC&C Officer will come to observe the following:
The animal is being fed appropriately based on its body condition and weight (keep in mind some dog breeds are bred to be thinner than others)
The animal has access to fresh water
The animal has adequate shelter
The tether/kennel is incompliance with the tethering law
In cases of suspect dog fighting, analyze the dogs wounds (To learn more about dog fighting visit our Dog Fighting page)
Make an attempt to contact the owners regarding observations and take appropriate action if necessary. If an owner cannot be contacted the AC&C Officer will conduct a follow-up inspection.
If there are any violations seen, or has a concern for an animal, please call 311.
If you find us on Facebook or Twitter please DO NOT send us a private message or tweet about a cruelty concern. 311 is how we capture our calls for service and all concerns must go through them.