Animal Control Unit

Handling matters involving wild and domesticated animals all over the city

Last updated Feb. 25, 2019 - 3:31 pm

Animal Control Officers are frequently called to handle vicious animal complaints, cruelty cases, problematic wildlife, injured animals, barking dogs, abandoned pets, and many other types of cases in which an animal needs help.

The unit works closely with Raleigh Police Department's patrol officers and detectives, who sometimes encounter mistreated, starving, or vicious animals when they respond to calls or serve search warrants. Animal Control Officers also check in with Wake County sheriff's deputies who find abandoned pets in Raleigh residences from which the tenants have been evicted.

For any animal related services, please contact Animal Control Dispatch at 919-831-6311.

Please be aware of the following city codes that apply to animals. If you want to read any animal ordinance, feel free to look up any city code.

Dog and Cat Tag Program Suspended

Effective July 1, 2012 The City no longer requires Dog and Cat tags.

Animal Food and Shelter

All dogs and cats should given adequate food, water and shelter. Adequate shelter is defined as an enclosure of at least three (3) sides, a roof and a floor. The enclosure needs to be ventilated and must have sufficient room for the animal(s) to move around freely and to lie down comfortably.

The following are not considered an adequate shelter:

  • underneath outside steps, decks and stoops;
  • inside of vehicles;
  • underneath vehicles;
  • inside metal or plastic barrels or cardboard boxes; or
  • rooms, sheds or other buildings without windows or proper ventilation.

Failure to comply with this ordinance is a class-one misdemeanor, punishable by fine and incarceration.

Animal Impoundment

The Animal Control Officers make every effort to find an animal's owner before they take pets to the Wake County Animal Center.

TriangleLostPets is intended to help reunite pets and their families in Wake and several other counties.

Wild animals caught by Animal Control officers are released back into the wild if healthy.

Dead/Dangerous Animals

Officers with bird

Nuisance Animals
According to the City of Raleigh Animal Control Ordinance, a nuisance animal is described as one that is:

  • Found repeatedly running at large
  • Damaging property
  • Fouling the air with odors
  • Habitually making loud noises or barking
  • Endangering the public health
  • Vicious
  • Causing unsanitary conditions of enclosure or surroundings
  • Offensive or dangerous to public health by virtue of number or type

Wild animals caught by Animal Control officers are released back into the wild if healthy. Sick animals are taken for treatment by a veterinarian or, if necessary, euthanized by the SPCA.

It is important to stay safe and remember a few of these warnings:

  • Keep away from stray animals
  • Avoid leaving pets alone outside
  • Don't break up fighting animals

Residents of Raleigh may contact Animal Control at 919-831-6311 to report animal complaints.

More information about rabies

Dead animals
Solid Waste Services will collect a dead animal that has been placed at the curbside. Residents may put the animal in a bag or a box if desired. Please do not place a dead animal in the garbage cart or recycling bin.

Call Customer Services at 919-996-3245 to arrange for collection of a dead animal prior to placing it at the curbside.

To report a dead animal in the public right of way or on a city street, call Customer Services at 919-996-3245 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. After hours and on weekends report the dead animal to 919-996-6311.

Please ensure your pets have proper identification in either a collar and tag or chip implant. Solid Waste Services attempts to contact owners of animals with identification. Owners may claim the remains or collar if still available.

Dog Tethering and Leash Law

The City has regulations regarding tethering dogs and leashes.

Learn more about Dog Tethering and Leash Law

"Pooper Scooper" Law

The person responsible for any dog must remove feces deposited by the dog from any private property unless the owner of the property has given permission allowing such use of the property. Removal of animal feces is not just a courtesy, it is an environmental necessity.

When animal feces are not removed as required by law, rain water carries it into the storm drains. The City's stormwater system is separate and does not treat water. This gravity-directed system merely carries stormwater complete with litter, including animal feces, on its natural path to the creeks and streams that feed into the Neuse River -- a source of drinking water for millions of North Carolinians.

The animal feces that you see going into that stormwater drain will wind up in our creeks, streams and the Neuse River. This pollution leads to the development of oxygen-robbing algae and other problem organism which can cause fish kills and human health threats.

Common Misconceptions

One misconception that the Animal Control Officers must battle every day is that all the animals they take into custody will be euthanized. The Animal Control Officers make every effort to find an animal's owner before they take it to the shelter, if they suspect it may be a pet, and they also work closely with rescue groups that attempt to find homes for the nearly 5,000 animals they pick up each year.

Unfortunately, some wild animals such as raccoons, bats, and foxes must be euthanized because they tend to carry rabies. However, the Animal Control Officers have contacts at rescue organizations where they can bring other injured wildlife to be treated and rehabilitated, as well as rescue groups that specialize in reptiles and other exotic pets.

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