Animal Control Complaints & Issues

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Deer Hunting with Dogs Information

Please review this guide to information about Hunting Deer with Dogs in Northern Orange County, including rights, responsibilities and reporting.

Nuisance Animals

Animals falling under the Nuisance Animal Ordinance, include:
  • animals at large
  • doing property damage
  • barking
  • being outside “in heat.” 
Nuisance animals should be reported by jurisdiction using the following numbers:
  • Chapel Hill Town limits - (919) 942-PETS (7387)
  • Carrboro Town limits - (919) 918-7397
  • Remaining County - (919) 942-PETS (7387)
  • After hours: 911

Making a Nuisance Complaint

For those making a complaint in Hillsborough or Unincorporated Orange County, include as much of the following information as possible:
  • plottingcattype of animal
  • description of animal
  • location of animal
  • animal owner information, if known
  • nuisance behavior
  • date and time of nuisance behavior
Complaint Form
Nuisance Ordinance

Cruelty Complaints & Concerns

Suspected cases of animal cruelty should be reported at the following numbers:
  • Chapel Hill Town limits - (919) 942-PETS (7387)
  • Carrboro Town limits - (919) 883-8398
  • Remaining County - (919) 942-PETS (7387)
Investigators may ask for the following information:
  • type of animal
  • description of animal
  • location of animal
  • animal owner information, if known
  • type of suspected abuse or neglect
  • date and time of suspected abuse or neglect
  • other details as needed
Complaints of abuse and neglect will be investigated as to their validity. When appropriate, legal action is taken by formally charging the violator.
Legal Definitions for cruelty can be found in the NC State Animal Cruelty Statute and the Orange County Animal Ordinance.

Anonymous Reporting

CheerioAWhile anonymous reporting is allowed, Animal Services encourages the self-identification to ensure any investigation can perform necessary follow-up. However, complainants' names are considered public records, subject to disclosure to the public upon request. This may prompt some persons to prefer to submit cruelty complaints anonymously.

Dangerous Dogs: Declarations and Appeal Process

  • Dogs and other animals may be declared dangerous under the county's ordinance and dogs may also be declared dangerous or potentially dangerous under North Carolina state laws
  • A declaration does not cause an animal to be euthanized (or destroyed); rather, it requires the animal to be managed more strictly to be sure that the animal does not cause harm in the future, e.g., they must be muzzled and on a sturdy leash when they are off the owner’s property.
  • All owners of animals that are declared a danger to the public are entitled to an appeal hearing and notified of these rights at the time they receive the declaration for their animal. Please see the Appeal Hearing FAQ that is provided to an owner whose animals are declared.
  • Appeals are heard by panels made up of individuals from the Animal Services Hearing Panel Pool which consists of county residents appointed by the Board of County Commissioners. Please review the bylaws for the Animal Services Hearing Panel Pool.
  • Hearing panels either affirm or reverse the declarations brought to them for appeal.
  • Appeal hearings are conducted in a "quasi-judicial manner," that is, they are like a court proceeding but not as formal. Please review the hearing procedures themselves.
  • Any decision made by a hearing panel may be further appealed by the animal owner or Orange County to Superior Court within 10 days of the appeal ruling. 


County Ordinance
The links below provide access to the Animal Control sections of the Code of Ordinances of Orange County.  They are not intended to serve as the official County Code for Orange County and may not include recent amendments to the County Code.  Current information is available from records in the County Clerk’s office in the official minutes of the Orange County Board of Commissioners.

Animal Control Ordinance (with November 2016 amendments)
Ordinance Prohibiting the Display of Wild and Exotic Animals
Ordinance Prohibiting the Keeping of Wild Animals Dangerous to Persons and Property
Chapel Hill and Carrboro Town Ordinances
Orange County's Tethering Ordinance

Civil Penalties and Fees

These fees will only affect pet owners who violate county animal ordinances.
Violation Amounts are as follows:
Failure to Vaccinate (Rabies) $200
Failure to License $200
Mistreatment $200
Public Nuisance Violations $50, $100, $200, $300, $400
Failure to wear rabies tag $50
Failure to permit kennel inspection $25
Failure to wear rabies tag $50

Other Fees:  Out-of-county Surrender fee:  $60
The fees are designed to encourage responsible pet ownership and improve the safety of not only the animals, but the community as a whole.

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Back to School Adoption Special
August 1-31
Our annual Back to School adoption special is underway for the month of August.  Adoption fees will be slashed to the following for the entire month!
Dogs: $65
Puppies: $70
Cats: $55
Kittens: $60

Orange County's Dog Swim
Sunday, September 10
12pm - 4pm
This year's dog swim will be held at the A.D. Clark Pool in Hargraves Community Center at 216 North Roberson Street in Chapel Hill. Orange County dogs $5, Dogs from other counties $10. Dogs must be leashed and current on vaccines to enter.

Two low-cost rabies vaccination and microchip clinics:

Thursday, September 28
5pm -7pm

This clinic will be held at the Farmer's Market in Hillsborough, located on Margaret Lane. 

Saturday, September 30
9am -12pm

This clinic will be held at the Animal Services Center in Chapel Hill, located on Eubanks Road.

BOTH clinics will offer one and three-year vaccinations for $10 (must have a previous rabies certification in hand to receive 3-year vaccine- tag is not sufficient). Microchips offered for $35. Please bring animals on leashes and in carriers.  
See details and other rabies clinic dates this year on our rabies page.

Spay/Neuter Day!
Sign up by August 11 (event on August 23)
Orange County residents may qualify to have their pets fixed for FREE at our next Spay/Neuter Day, coming up on August 23.  Call Sarah at 919-942-7387 extension 224 or Cooper at extension 223 to find out details about how to qualify and sign up for this event!

Margaret's Cantina Dinner Proceeds

Every 2nd Monday of the month
Eat dinner at Margaret's Cantina on the 2nd Monday of every month and 10% of proceeds will go to the Spay/Neuter Program at Animal Services.