University of Vermont AAHS

North Carolina Cruelty to Animals Statutes


NORTH CAROLINA STATUTES
CHAPTER 14. CRIMINAL LAW.
SUBCHAPTER XI. GENERAL POLICE REGULATIONS.
ARTICLE 47. CRUELTY TO ANIMALS.


14-360 Cruelty to animals; construction of section.

(a) If any person shall intentionally overdrive, overload, wound, injure, torment, kill, or deprive of necessary sustenance, or cause or procure to be overdriven, overloaded, wounded, injured, tormented, killed, or deprived of necessary sustenance, any animal, every such offender shall for every such offense be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

(b) If any person shall maliciously torture, mutilate, maim, cruelly beat, disfigure, poison, or kill, or cause or procure to be tortured, mutilated, maimed, cruelly beaten, disfigured, poisoned, or killed, any animal, every such offender shall for every such offense be guilty of a Class I felony. However, nothing in this section shall be construed to increase the penalty for cockfighting provided for in G.S. 14-362.

(c) As used in this section, the words "torture", "torment", and "cruelly" include or refer to any act, omission, or neglect causing or permitting unjustifiable pain, suffering, or death. As used in this section, the word "intentionally" refers to an act committed knowingly and without justifiable excuse, while the word "maliciously" means an act committed intentionally and with malice or bad motive. As used in this section, the term "animal" includes every living vertebrate in the classes Amphibia, Reptilia, Aves, and Mammalia except human beings. However, this section shall not apply to the following activities:
(1) The lawful taking of animals under the jurisdiction and regulation of the Wildlife Resources Commission, except that this section shall apply to those birds exempted by the Wildlife Resources Commission from its definition of "wild birds" pursuant to G.S. 113-129(15a).
(2) Lawful activities conducted for purposes of biomedical research or training or for purposes of production of livestock, poultry, or aquatic species.
(2a) Lawful activities conducted for the primary purpose of providing food for human or animal consumption.
(3) Activities conducted for lawful veterinary purposes.
(4) The lawful destruction of any animal for the purposes of protecting the public, other animals, property, or the public health.


14-361 Instigating or promoting cruelty to animals.

If any person shall willfully set on foot, or instigate, or move to, carry on, or promote, or engage in, or do any act towards the furtherance of any act of cruelty to any animal, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.


14-361.1 Abandonment of animals.

Any person being the owner or possessor, or having charge or custody of an animal, who willfully and without justifiable excuse abandons the animal is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.


14-363 Conveying animals in a cruel manner.

If any person shall carry or cause to be carried in or upon any vehicle or other conveyance, any animal in a cruel or inhuman manner, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Whenever an offender shall be taken into custody therefor by any officer, the officer may take charge of such vehicle or other conveyance and its contents, and deposit the same in some safe place of custody. The necessary expenses which may be incurred for taking charge of and keeping and sustaining the vehicle or other conveyance shall be a lien thereon, to be paid before the same can be lawfully reclaimed; or the said expenses, or any part thereof remaining unpaid, may be recovered by the person incurring the same of the owner of such animal in an action therefor.


14-363.2 Confiscation of cruelly treated animals.

Conviction of any offense contained in this Article may result in confiscation of cruelly treated animals belonging to the accused and it shall be proper for the court in its discretion to order a final determination of the custody of the confiscated animals.

 

CHAPTER 19A. PROTECTION OF ANIMALS.
ARTICLE 1. CIVIL REMEDY FOR PROTECTION OF ANIMALS.


19A-1 Definitions.

The following definitions apply in this Article: (1) The terms "animals" and "dumb animals" include every useful living creature.

(2) The terms "cruelty" and "cruel treatment" include every act, omission, or neglect whereby unjustifiable physical pain, suffering, or death is caused or permitted; but these terms shall not be construed to include lawful taking of animals under the jurisdiction and regulation of the Wildlife Resources Commission, lawful activities sponsored by agencies conducting biomedical research or training, lawful activities for sport, the production of livestock or poultry, or the lawful destruction of any animal for the purpose of protecting such livestock or poultry.

(3) The term "person" includes any persons, firm or corporation, including any nonprofit corporation, such as a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals.


19A-1 Definitions.

The following definitions apply in this Article:

(1) The terms "animals" and "dumb animals" include every useful living creature.

(2) The terms "cruelty" and "cruel treatment" include every act, omission, or neglect whereby unjustifiable physical pain, suffering, or death is caused or permitted; but these terms shall not be construed to include lawful taking of animals under the jurisdiction and regulation of the Wildlife Resources Commission, lawful activities sponsored by agencies conducting biomedical research or training, lawful activities for sport, the production of livestock or poultry, or the lawful destruction of any animal for the purpose of protecting such livestock or poultry.

(3) The term "person" includes any persons, firm or corporation, including any nonprofit corporation, such as a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals.


19A-2 Purpose.

It shall be the purpose of this Article to provide a civil remedy for the protection and humane treatment of animals in addition to any criminal remedies that are available and it shall be proper in any action to combine causes of action against one or more defendants for the protection of one or more animals. A real party in interest as plaintiff shall be held to include any "person" as hereinbefore defined even though such person does not have a possessory or ownership right in an animal; a real party in interest as defendant shall include any person who owns or has possession of an animal.


19A-3 Preliminary injunction.

Upon the filing of a verified complaint in the district court in the county in which cruelty to an animal has allegedly occurred, the judge may, in his discretion, issue a preliminary injunction in accordance with the procedures set forth in G.S. 1A-1, Rule 65. Every such preliminary injunction, if the complainant so requests, may give the complainant the right to provide suitable care for the animal. If it appears on the face of the complaint that the condition giving rise to the cruel treatment of an animal requires the animal to be removed from its owner or other person who possesses it, then it shall be proper for the court in the preliminary injunction to allow the complainant to take possession of the animal.


19A-4 Permanent injunction.

In accordance with G.S. 1A-1, Rule 65, a district court judge in the county in which the original action was brought shall determine the merits of the action by trial without a jury, and upon hearing such evidence as may be presented, shall enter orders as he deems appropriate, including a permanent injunction or final determination of the animal's custody.

 

ARTICLE 4. ANIMAL CRUELTY INVESTIGATORS.


19A-45 Appointment of animal cruelty investigators; term of office;

removal; badge; oath; bond. (a) The board of county commissioners is authorized to appoint one or more animal cruelty investigators to serve without any compensation or other employee benefits in his county. In making these appointments, the board may consider persons nominated by any society incorporated under North Carolina law for the prevention of cruelty to animals. Prior to making any such appointment, the board of county commissioners is authorized to enter into an agreement whereby any necessary expenses of caring for seized animals not collectable pursuant to G.S. 19A-47 may be paid by the animal cruelty investigator or by any society incorporated under North Carolina law for the prevention of cruelty to animals that is willing to bear such expense.

(b) Animal cruelty investigators shall serve a one-year term subject to removal for cause by the board of county commissioners. Animal cruelty investigators shall, while in the performance of their official duties, wear in plain view a badge of a design approved by the board identifying them as animal cruelty investigators, and provided at no cost to the county.

(c) Animal cruelty investigators shall take and subscribe the oath of office required of public officials. The oath shall be filed with the clerk of superior court. Animal cruelty investigators shall not be required to post any bond.

(d) Upon approval by the board of county commissioners, the animal cruelty investigator or investigators may be reimbursed for all necessary and actual expenses, to be paid by the county.


19A-46 Powers; magistrate's order; execution of order; petition; notice to owner.

(a) Whenever any animal is being cruelly treated as defined in G.S. 19A-1(2), an animal cruelty investigator may file with a magistrate a sworn complaint requesting an order allowing the investigator to provide suitable care for and take immediate custody of the animal. The magistrate shall issue the order only when he finds probable cause to believe that the animal is being cruelly treated and that it is necessary for the investigator to immediately take custody of it. Any magistrate's order issued under this section shall be valid for only 24 hours after its issuance. After he executes the order, the animal cruelty investigator shall return it with a written inventory of the animals seized to the clerk of court in the county where the order was issued.

(b) The animal cruelty investigator may request a law-enforcement officer or animal control officer to accompany him to help him seize the animal. An investigator may forcibly enter any premises or vehicle when necessary to execute the order only if he reasonably believes that the premises or vehicle is unoccupied by any person and that the animal is on the premises or in the vehicle. Forcible entry shall be used only when the animal cruelty investigator is accompanied by a law-enforcement officer. In any case, he must give notice of his identity and purpose to anyone who may be present before entering said premises. Forcible entry shall only be used during the daylight hours.

(c) When he has taken custody of such an animal, the animal cruelty investigator shall file a complaint pursuant to Article 1 of this Chapter as soon as possible. When he seizes the animal, he shall leave with the owner, if known, or affixed to the premises or vehicle a copy of the magistrate's order and a written notice of a description of the animal, the place where the animal will be taken, the reason for taking the animal, and the investigator's intent to file a complaint in district court requesting custody of the animal pursuant to Article 1 of this Chapter.

(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 7A-305(c), any person who commences a proceeding under this Article or Article 1 of this Chapter shall not be required to pay any court costs or fees prior to a final judicial determination as provided in G.S. 19A-4, at which time those costs shall be paid pursuant to the provisions of G.S. 6-18.

(e) Any judicial order authorizing forcible entry shall be issued by a district court judge.


19A-47 Care of seized animals.

The investigator must take any animal he seizes directly to some safe and secure place and provide suitable care for it. The necessary expenses of caring for seized animals, including necessary veterinary care, shall be a charge against the animal's owner and a lien on the animal to be enforced as provided by G.S. 44A-4.


19A-48 Interference unlawful.

It shall be a Class 1 misdemeanor, to interfere with an animal cruelty investigator in the performance of his official duties.


19A-49 Educational requirements.

Each animal cruelty investigator at his own expense must attend annually a course of at least six hours instruction offered by the North Carolina Humane Federation or some other agency. The course shall be designed to give the investigator expertise in the investigation of complaints relating to the care and treatment of animals. Failure to attend a course approved by the board of county commissioners shall be cause for removal from office.


Amended in 1999.
Reviewed by AAHS in September 2001.


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