Dog Laws in Raleigh, NC

Carolina North Forest trail | photo by @sheltieandshiba

In a previous RALtoday survey, 60% of readers identified themselves as “dog people”.

Even if you’re not among that 60%, we think it’s important to know the local laws that help keep our four-legged friends (and community) healthy + safe. Plus, while these laws are more so intended for dogs, they do pertain to cats as well. 

🐶 Tethering

A dog may not be tethered — defined as: tying or fastening a dog outdoors on a rope, chain, or other line — for more than three hours total in a 24-hour period. This is to prevent the possibility of accidental strangling, as well as minimize exposure to harsh weather conditions.

Ties used to tether a dog must be at least 10-feet long, weigh no more than 10% of the animal’s body weight + allow access to food and water.

🐶 Leash law

It is against the law for dogs (and cats) to run unrestrained within the city limits. Dogs are not allowed off-leash in Raleigh parks or playgrounds — unless otherwise designated

🐶 Adequate shelter

According to this City of Raleigh ordinance, dogs and cats must be provided with adequate food, water, and shelter. An adequate shelter must have at least three sides, a roof and floor, proper ventilation, and enough room for the animal to move around freely + lie down comfortably.

Adequate shelter does not constitute spaces underneath outdoor steps; decks and stoops; inside or underneath vehicles; metal or plastic barrels; cardboard boxes + rooms; or sheds and other buildings without windows. 

🐶 Rabies vaccine

State law requires that all dogs, cats, and ferrets — yes, ferrets— must be vaccinated against rabies by four months of age. Owners are then expected to keep the animal up-to-date against rabies at all times (usually with a yearly or once-every-three-years booster). Click here if you need to find a veterinarian

🐶 Pooper scooper law

The pooper scooper law states dog owners must remove any feces deposited by the dog from private property, unless the owner of the property has given permission to leave it.

Picking up your dog’s feces is not just common courtesy but actually an environmental necessity. Animal feces left on the ground can end up in stormwater drains + wind up in our creeks, streams and rivers — polluting our water supply.

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