There’s a certain breed of pet owners who don’t believe in leashing or vaccinating their animal brethren; fortunately for the rest of us, Raleigh’s Animal Control Officers share a different philosophy.
From the beginning of this year through the middle of June, a total of 105 individuals in Raleigh were cited for violating City Ordinance 12-3011 (a): Dogs At Large. Per the code, “It shall be unlawful for the owner of any dog to allow such animal to be at large in the City or on any City property.”
Interestingly enough, ten separate individuals were found to be in violation of City Ordinance 12-3007: Running at Large Prohibited. Here’s how that ordinance is defined: “It shall be unlawful for the owner of any domesticated animal to allow such animal to be at-large within the corporate limits of the City or on any City property.”
This can only be interpreted to mean that 10 Raleigh citizens were out casually walking their cats, alligators, roosters and other assorted exotic animals without a leash, since if they had a dog they would’ve been cited under 12-3011.
During that same six-month period, 103 individuals have been cited by Raleigh’s Animal Control Officers for violating City Ordinance 12-3008 (a): Inoculation of Dogs, Cats and Other. Per the ordinance, cats must be inoculated every 12 months, and dogs given “two inoculations one year apart and booster doses of rabies vaccine every three years thereafter.”
Failure to provide proof of inoculation is also a violation of State law, as described in NCGS §130A-185.
Interestingly enough, a greater number of total citations were issued for Inoculation violations, but since there were a greater number of repeat offenders or individuals cited for multiple animals at once, a higher number of individuals received off-leash citations.
Individuals found to be in violation of these and all other animal control ordinances laid out in the City Code could actually find themselves in some hot water, as the code states that “Any violation of this chapter is both a civil offense and a misdemeanor criminal offense. ”
“The first violation of this chapter shall subject the violator to a civil penalty of fifty dollars ($50.00); the second violation during a twelvemonth period shall be subject to a one hundred dollar ($100.00) penalty; the third and subsequent violations shall be subject to a one hundred fifty dollar ($150.00) penalty.”
However, the code also states that “the fine for a criminal violation of this chapter shall be up to five hundred dollars ($500.00) or larger if allowed by G.S. 14-4. Misdemeanor violations shall be enforced by the issuance of citations or by arrest according to the same procedures used for other criminal violations.”
Of the six different types of citations issued in 2016, the most serious was the violation of City Ordinance 12-3009 (a): Adequate Feed, Water and Shelter. A total of 12 individuals were cited for this offense, which is defined as a requirement that “All dogs and cats shall be given adequate feed, adequate water and adequate shelter. Adequate shelter is defined as an enclosure of at least three (3) sides, a roof and a floor. The enclosure shall be ventilated and must have sufficient room for the animal(s) to move around freely and to lie down comfortably.”
Among those shelters deemed insufficient by code are ones located “underneath outside steps, decks and stoops, or underneath or inside vehicles” and ones “inside metal or plastic barrels or cardboard boxes.”
Animal breeders are not required to be licensed under North Carolina Law, and as such we were unable to cross-check the individuals in violation of this ordinance with known breeders.
As the data we received for this piece only contained citations issued, not convictions, we will not be sharing the names of the individuals cited.
The next most egregious violation-type was for City Ordinance 12-3007 (b): Tethering Violation, for which 10 individuals were cited.
While “Tethering Violation” doesn’t sound as ominous as violating a requirement to provide food and shelter, the first line of the related code states that “No person shall tether a dog to a tree, fence, post, doghouse, or other stationary object for more than three (3) hours total in any twenty-four-hour period.”
However, individuals can also be cited under this ordinance for using a device less than 10 feet long to tether their animals and for the improper setup of a cable-trolley tethering system.
The final violation type for which a citation was issued between January and June of 2016 was related to City Ordinance 12-3008 (b): Failure To Keep Rabies Inoculation Tags Attached. Under this ordinance, dog owners are required to keep the rabies tag attached to their pet’s collars at all times, while cat owners are only required to “maintain the tag or the rabies vaccination certificates as written evidence to prove the cat has a current rabies inoculation.”
So the next time you’re out walking your cat — on a leash, of course — make sure you’ve got their rabies tags in your pocket.
While there are a number of other code violations animal enforcement officers can cite pet owners for — 12-3001 (b): Failure to Remove Feces From Public Place, 12-3012: Failure to Confine Female Dog in Heat, 12-3016(c): Keeping an Unlicensed Cat Over Fourth Months — it was only the six categories we listed above that have received violations this year.
Here’s a complete list of all those violations. We’ve removed the names of the offenders in order to protect the maybe-innocent. Discrepancies between the totals in the sheet and the ones listed above can be attributed to one individual receiving multiple violations.
Note: For some analysis on the laws surrounding pet ownership from an expert, we recommend checking out this blog entry from law firm Kurtz & Bloom.