Animal Services Unit


The mission of New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services Unit is to protect the public from the threat of rabies virus exposure, and to ensure proper animal care, through prevention, public perception, and education.
The Animal Services Unit is a unit of the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office. It is the responsibility of this unit to enforce all state laws and county health regulations pertaining to domestic animals and the county animal control ordinance. In addition, the Animal Services Unit will cooperate with any other law enforcement agency that may need assistance in handling any form of domestic animal.

Animals are available for adoption at the shelter at 180 Division Drive, Monday through Friday, from 11 am until 3:45 p.m. and Saturday 10-2 p.m. Animals may be viewed on our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/NHSOAnimalServices

Animal complaints may be called in to the main office at 910-798-7500 during the hours of 8:00 a.m. until 3:45 p.m., Monday through Friday. After-hours emergencies, such as an animal bite or injured animal, may be reported through the 911 Center.

Click here for:

What To Do With Your Pet During Emergencies

 

You may help the animals of NHC by sending a tax-deductible donation to the shelter at 180 Division Drive, Wilmington, NC 28401. You may also donate by clicking here:

Volunteers are needed and welcome at our facility for a variety of areas of interest. You must be at least eighteen years of age according to county policy. Follow this link or visit the shelter to complete your volunteer application.

Existing volunteers, follow this link to schedule yourself.

Deceased animals are picked up by Sanitation. Their numbers are as follows:
Sanitation, City – 910-341-7875
Sanitation, County – 910-341-0500
Sanitation, Carolina Beach – 910-458-2999

Please call Animal Services at 910-798-7500 to appeal civil citation and basic inquires or 911 to report complaints, abuse, neglect or any other priority calls.

Dogs, cats, and ferrets are required to have a current rabies vaccination starting at four months of age, which must be maintained for the duration of the pet’s life. The county registration serves as a means of ensuring that the rabies vaccination is kept current. Neutered animals cost a lower fee to register than intact animals, to encourage reduced pet overpopulation. (Specialty pet registrations are also available.)

Fees are as follows:

Cat/Dog/Ferret Under 1 Year of Age
1 Year License:
Spayed & Neutered: $10.00
Not Spayed or Neutered: $10.00

Cat/Dog/Ferret 1 Year of Age or Older
1 Year License:
Spayed & Neutered: $10.00
Not Spayed or Neutered: $20.00

Cat/Dog 1 Year of Age or Older
3 Year License:
Spayed & Neutered: $25.00
Not Spayed or Neutered: $50.00

*Any owner of a handicap helper dog, which is used for seeing or hearing purposes and can show proof of spay/neuter, shall receive a license free of charge.

 

Specialty Pet Registration

Cats / Dogs / Ferrets
05 – 10 animals: $45.00
11 – 20 animals: $70.00
21 or more animals: $100.00

 

Pet Kennel Registration

  • Any combination of dogs and cats
  • All must be neutered or spayed
  • Good for one year (renewable on date of purchase)

 

Show Kennel Registration

  • Either dogs or cats
  • Do not have to be neutered or spayed
  • Good for one year (renewable on date of purchase)
  • Kennel must participate in three AKC or UKC sanctioned events per year (proof to be shown) or equivalent for cats or six in three years

Hunter Kennel Registration

  • Dogs only
  • Do not have to be spayed or neutered
  • Good for one year (renewable on date of purchase)
  • Kennel must participate in three lawful or sanctioned events per year (proof when possible)
  • Proof of NC Hunting License

There is no refund due to death or loss of ownership of an animal.

The Animal Services Unit desires to provide the best possible homes for our available animals. Be sure you are ready for the responsibility of a new pet before you take one home. They deserve a family that will care for all their needs for as long as they live, which could be several decades in some cases. The adoption cost is a $60 non-refundable fee. * You must also pay the $10 County registration fee which is payable at the time of adoption

Animals may be adopted from the shelter between noon and 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday and on Saturday 10-2 p.m.

All animals have been spayed or neutered prior to being placed in our adoption area. They have also received routine vaccinations and deworming for hooks and rounds. Dogs are not tested for heartworms.

 

Are You Ready for a New Pet?

  • Do I have the extra time needed to properly care for an animal?
  • Can I afford the extra costs of being a pet owner such as vet bills, food, medication, toys, grooming and more?
  • Am I renting? If YES, am I aware of any animal restrictions, such as breed or weight? Will there be additional costs added to my lease?
  • Do I have any other pets? If so, will the animals get along with each other?
  • Will I be able to provide a stable and loving home for a pet for the next 10-20 years?

 

Available pets

 

Adoption Refund Policy

Refunds for adoptions may be granted if the following conditions are met:

  1. The adopted animal is returned
  2. The adopted animal is examined by a veterinarian within five working days from the adoption date and a health problem is noted.
  3. The adoptee produces either a handwritten note or a computer generated report from the veterinarian stating the findings and date examined.

The amount of refund will be the total of adoption fee and county license fee, if purchased and returned. The adoptee is responsible for any charges by the veterinarian.

For Registration Fees click on the Registration tab above.

Shelter
$10.00 per day
$15.00 per day bite animals/dangerous dogs

Adoption
Cats/Dogs/Ferrets $60.00
Other – Large $15.00
Other – Small $ 3.00

Redemption (all animals)
1st offense $20.00
2nd offense $60.00
3rd offense $100.00
4th offense $150.00
5th or more $250.00

Miscellaneous Fees
Euthanasia Fee $20.00
Breeder Permit $20.00
Owned Animal Pick-up $20.00
Collars/Leashes $5.00

Civil Citations
Click here to download PDF

 

 

 

ASU staff presents each case. The following information is excluded from the initial panel’s presentation: dog owner and victim identification, dog breed, and location of the incident. These are omitted to prevent any bias in the initial panel’s determination.

Dogs that are found to be in violation of any of the panel’s decisions or ordinance may be confiscated by ASU staff and their owner cited.

An owner who violates the stipulations in a willful or grossly negligent manner may be found by the panel to have forfeited all rights of ownership of the dog. Upon final determination of such violation, the dog may be humanely euthanized by ASU.
ASU receives numerous citizen complaint calls regarding many animal-related situations. The complaints should be handled in order of priority dependent upon public safety concerns and animal cruelty issues. Both areas are a major concern to the unit; however, human safety must take precedence over animal risk in every situation. Calls are received at the shelter Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:45 p.m. at 910-798-7500. After-hours calls may be received through the same number or by contacting the 911 center.

North Carolina enacted the dangerous/potentially dangerous dog law in October 1990 to ensure the safety of our citizens. New Hanover County adheres to this law by following these procedures:

 

Criteria for Investigation of a Dog

  1. Any dog bite may be investigated and submitted for evaluation, regardless of the dog’s location.
  2. A dog that inflicts severe injury (medical bill equal to or greater than $250 is required) or death to a domestic animal when not on the owner’s real property. Note: Fowl are excluded.
  3. A dog that approached a person when not on the owner’s real property in a vicious or terrorizing manner or an apparent attitude of attack.

 

Steps to an Initial Determination

  • An incident occurs according to criteria for determination. ASU staff verifies that a criterion meets these guidelines.
  • The victim(s) and any witnesses must complete a New Hanover County Dangerous Dog/Potentially Dangerous Dog Investigation Form. The form must be returned to ASU within five days of the incident. (Postmark by day five is acceptable.)
  • The owner of the dog in question is given an opportunity to respond to the complaint by completion of the form. They must also respond within five days of receipt of the document. Note: Failure of the owner to submit paperwork in a timely manner does not prohibit the case from being heard.
  • All paperwork is presented to the initial panel, composed of volunteers designated by the Sheriff’s Office.
  • ASU staff presents each case. The following information is excluded from the initial panel’s presentation: dog owner and victim identification, dog breed, and location of the incident. These are omitted to prevent any bias in the initial panel’s determination.
  • Panel decision letters are hand-delivered to the dog owner and mailed to the victim.
    Decision Appeals
  • If the dog owner is dissatisfied with the initial panel’s decision, the determination may be appealed in writing within ten working days of receipt of the decision letter. There is a nonrefundable fee to appeal, which must be paid at the time the appeal is submitted.
  • The dog must be maintained under the restrictions of the initial panel’s decision until the case is heard by the appellate board.
  • Appeals to the initial panel’s decision are heard before a panel of volunteers designated by the board of health. Meetings are generally held once monthly at the shelter.
  • Both parties must be present at the time of the appeal. The appeal is an open forum with witnesses, attorneys, expert witnesses, and any other admissible evidence the dog owner or victim wish to provide.
  • If either party fails to appear, the decision will be found in favor of the present party. For example, if the victim appears, and the dog owner is absent, the decision is upheld. If the dog owner appears, and the victim fails to appear, the decision will be reversed.
  • Appeals to decisions of the appellate board may be submitted to superior court by written request within ten business days of the appellate rendering.
  • These cases are heard by a superior court judge. Their decision is final. There is a fee to file
    Violations of Dangerous/Potentially Dangerous Dog Rulings
  • Dogs that are found to be in violation of any of the panel’s decisions or ordinance may be confiscated by ASU staff and their owner cited.
  • Any unaltered dog that is found in violation must be neutered at the owner’s expense before being returned to their household.
  • An owner who violates the stipulations in a willful or grossly negligent manner may be found by the panel to have forfeited all rights of ownership of the dog. Upon final determination of such violation, the dog may be humanely euthanized by ASU.
  • Determinations rendered for dogs in violation may be appealed by the same procedures as initial findings.

ASU receives numerous citizen complaint calls regarding many animal-related situations. The complaints should be handled in order of priority dependent upon public safety concerns and animal cruelty issues. Both areas are a major concern to the division; however, human safety must take precedence over animal risk in every situation. Calls are received at the shelter Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:45 p.m. at 910-798-7500. After-hours calls may be received through the same number or by contacting the 911 center.

Note: After-hours emergency response is limited to rabies exposure situations, such as an animal bite; injured or sick animals where no owner is present; or law enforcement assistance.

 

Animal-related complaints will be handled by Animal Control Officers in the following order:

  1. Rabies exposure situations, including animal bites or rabies vector contact.
  2. Injured and or sick animals.
  3. Law enforcement back up, including co-worker assistance.
  4. Domestic animals in high volume public areas, e.g. school yard.
  5. Dangerous/potentially dangerous (documented) and/or vicious (undocumented) dogs.
  6. Contained animal pick up, including traps.
  7. Animal cruelty or mistreatment, such as check conditions.
  8. Public assistance, including see caller and Complaint/Investigation Reports (e.g. barking dogs).
  9. Canvassing for rabies compliance.
  10. Routine or requested area patrols, including animals running-at-large.

All animal bites to a human must be reported to Animal Services Unit. Healthcare professionals are required by law to report animal bites to their area animal control agency.

The following procedures must be followed in confinement of dogs, cats, and ferrets:

  1. The ten days shall be calculated starting with the day of the bite as day one.
  2. Any animal with a current rabies vaccination (proof required) may be confined at the owner’s residence; provided they have a secure location to house their pet for the ten-day period and their pet was under control at the time of the bite.
  3. Any animal not properly vaccinated must be confined at the ASU shelter, a veterinary hospital, or an approved kennel, at the owner’s expense.
  4. Any animal running-at-large at the time of the incident must also be confined at the ASU shelter, a veterinary hospital, or an approved kennel, at the owner’s expense.
  5. No animal shall be rabies vaccinated prior to or during the confinement period.

Protect Yourself from Rabies

Rabies is a deadly viral disease that can be prevented but not cured.
Follow these guidelines to make sure you and your pets are protected:

  • Wash every wound to remove any saliva from yourself and/or your pet, which is how the virus is carried. (Be sure to wear protective gloves to handle exposed pets.)
  • Call Animal Control Services to report any exposure. Be sure to provide an accurate description of the attacking animal and the owner’s name and address, if known.
  • Contact your doctor and/or your pet’s veterinarian, even if the wound is minor.
  • Capture and isolate the attacking animal if possible. Keep children away from all animals involved.
  • If your currently vaccinated pet is exposed to a rabid or potentially rabid animal, you must re-vaccinate it within five days.
  • Keep your property free of garbage and pet food that may attract wildlife. Be sure to secure all trash container tops.

Rabies Clinic Schedule 2014

October 25, from 0900-1100 @ Animal Services

Clinic hours are from 9-11 Saturday on all above dates and will be held at our facility located at 180 Division Drive.

The owner must bring certificate from previous rabies vaccine in order to get a 3 year vaccine. (a rabies tag is not proof)

What happens to animals that Animal Services Unit (ASU) picks up?
Animals surrendered at the shelter or picked up in the field as strays are held at our facility for three or five working days, not including weekends or holidays.

The animals are held three working days, if the animal had no apparent owner.

The animals are held five working days if the animal seems to have had an owner, for example, a neutered male, a collar, recently clipped, etc.

Animals surrendered by the owner become the immediate property of NHC.

After the holding period, during which time the owner may redeem their pet, the animals become NHC property. At this point, shelter staff determines which ones may be placed for adoption. (See Breed Regulation.)

The animals are given a physical exam, vaccinated, dewormed, and checked for open wounds, which may have been inflicted by a potential rabies vector.

The ones who are adoptable are placed in our adoption area (no specified time limit), awaiting a new home. Unfortunately, far more animals are surrendered for placement than those seeking new companions.

Note: ASU will not attempt to adopt animals that have bitten or dogs that have been declared dangerous or potentially dangerous.

What do I do if I find a stray animal?
County ordinance requires that all stray animals be surrendered to ASU within 24 hours of capture. If the individual desires to keep the pet, they may advertise in the local newspaper with the largest circulation for five consecutive days. This advertisement must be started within 72 hours of claiming the pet. If the initial owner does not claim their pet after ten days, the individual who placed the advertisement shall be deemed the legal owner.

Do you adopt animals?
Yes, between the hours of noon and 4:45pm, Monday through Friday and Saturday 10-2 p.m. The adoption fee is $60.00, which includes pet neutering (mandatory), vaccinations including rabies (dog or cat), deworming for hooks and rounds, and a collar and a leash/cat-box. (See petharbor.com to view available pets.)

When does my pet need its rabies vaccination? County registration?
The first vaccination is done when your pet reach four month’s of age. This vaccination is good for one year. The next vaccination given is will be good for three years. You are required by NC State law to have this done, even if your pet never goes outside. You are also required by NHC Ordinance to pay a licensing fee every year. This fee is renewable along with your rabies vaccination. Kennel fees are available, if you meet the stipulations. (See Fee Schedule.)

Where do you have jurisdiction?
ASU has jurisdiction throughout New Hanover County, excluding Wrightsville Beach. Wilmington residents fall under the ordinance as well as county residents.

How many pets may I own?
You may own up to five pets inside city limits (enforced by county zoning). There are no restrictions on county residents.

What happens if my pet bites someone?
Your pet will need to be quarantined for ten days, because no vaccine is 100% effective. This is done for the victim’s protection, to allow ASU personnel to monitor the animal for symptoms of rabies.

Pets with a current rabies vaccination at the time of the bite may be confined at their home, if a suitable area is available. An Animal Services Officer will periodically check the pet until the confinement is over.

Pets without a current rabies vaccination at the time of the bite must be confined at ASU, a veterinary hospital, or an approved kennel. (Owner must pay all kenneling fees.)

Pets running loose at the time of the bite must be confined at ASU, a veterinary hospital, or an approved kennel, regardless of rabies vaccination status. (Owner must pay all kenneling fees.)

Pets with a current rabies vaccination at the time of the bite may be confined at their home, if a suitable area is available. An Animal Services Officer will periodically check the pet until the confinement is over.

Why are cats allowed to run loose?
Although cats are more difficult to keep contained than most dogs; they fall under the same ordinance restrictions as dogs. Responsible pet owners find appropriate methods to protect their pet’s welfare.

Is it okay to trap cats/dogs?
ASU provides cat and dog traps to NHC citizens for a deposit fee, which is refunded through County Finance when the trap is returned to the shelter (general timeframe is 30 days). It is a violation of the county ordinance to remove your pet from a trap. Only humane traps are utilized by NHC.

What about dogs running loose?
Dogs running loose are not allowed throughout the county. There is a county-wide leash law enforced, including the City of Wilmington. (See Ordinance.)

Why can’t I tie my dog out in my yard?
It is a violation of the county ordinance to keep your pet tied out in your yard, unless you are in the yard with it.

How is a dog declared dangerous/potentially dangerous?
There are three criteria that a dog may be declared under the law:

  1. Inflicted a bite on a person that resulted in broken bones or broken skin or required cosmetic surgery or hospitalization; or
  2. Killed or inflicted severe injury upon a domestic animal when not on the owner’s real property; or
  3. Approached a person when not on the owner’s real property in a vicious or terrorizing manner in an apparent attitude of attack.

Victims and dog owners should inquire at the office to complete paperwork for the Initial Panel to review in these determinations. (See Ordinance.)

What are the differences between ASU and the Humane Society?
ASU is a government agency for NHC. We have officers that are available to respond to customer complaints, even in emergency situations. We are required to accept all animals surrendered by NHC residents.

The Humane Society is a private group that operates an animal shelter and a public regional spay/neuter facility. They have the right to refuse animals, since they are a private organization. Call them at (910) 763-6692.

The two groups work together for the benefit of the animals in the county.

Where are you (ASU) located?
ASU is located at 180 Division Drive. Division Drive runs from Castle Hayne Road to 23rd Street just north of the entrance to the airport. (910) 798-7500.

Please call Animal Services at 910-798-7500 or 911 to report complaints, abuse, neglect or any other priority calls.

Animal Services Unit
180 Division Dr.
Wilmington, NC 28401
910-798-7500 main office
910-341-4349 fax

Hours of Operation
M-F 8-3:45
M-F 11:00 until 3:45pm for adoptions and Redemptions
Sat- 10-2pm

Sheriff's Office: 3950 Juvenile Center Road • Castle Hayne, NC 28429 • Phone 910-798-4200 • Fax 910-798-4212