North Carolina

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Kitchin ex rel. Kitchin v. Halifax County


In this North Carolina case, defendant dog owners appealed from a decision of the County Board of Health that ruled their dog could not be returned home because of the dog's potential exposure to rabies as result of attacking a raccoon (the dog was scheduled for euthanization). After the Board denied the owners' appeal, they filed a complaint against county which contained motions for preliminary and permanent injunctions to prevent dog's quarantine and for class certification. The Court of Appeals held that the owners' appeal of Board's decision to quarantine dog was moot because dog had already been returned home. The action against the animal control officers was dismissed because the officers were shielded by governmental immunity.

Justice for Animals, Inc. v. Robeson County


Non-profit and advocate challenged the improper treatment/euthanasia of animals and complaint was dismissed.  On appeal, the Court of Appeals held that the plaintiff's qualified as "aggrieved persons" within the statute, but that all administrative remedies were not sought.  Affirmed.

Justice for Animals, Inc. v. Lenoir County SPCA, Inc.


An animal control facility's practice of euthanizing feral cats without holding them for 72 hours was challenged by a non-profit organization.  The animal control facility's method for determining if a cat is feral consisted only of poking the animal and gaging its reaction.  The trial court dismissed the claim, but the Court of Appeals reversed the decision.

Jones v. Craddock


The plaintiff in

Jones v. Craddock

, 210 N.C. 429 (N.C. 1936), brought a cause of action for negligent injury to her dog. In this case of first impression, the court embraced, “. . . the modern view that ordinarily dogs constitute a species of property, subject to all the incidents of chattel and valuable domestic animals.” The court determined that plaintiff was entitled to a cause of action for negligence since defendant could have avoided running over plaintiff’s companion animal with a slight turn.

Holcomb v. Colonial Associates, L.L.C.


This North Carolina case involves the issue of whether a landlord can be held liable for negligence when his tenant's dogs injure a third party where a landlord has agreed by contract to remove "undesirable" dogs.  Under the terms of the lease, the tenant, Olson, could keep one Rottweiler dog on the property.  It was also stipulated that the landlord could require removal of any "undesirable" pets with 48-hour's notice.  The dogs in the instant action attacked a contractor who was making an estimate on some of the rental homes, and, according to testimony, had committed two prior attacks.  The court concluded that the Court of Appeals erred, in that the plaintiff was not required to show Colonial was an owner or keeper of the dogs in order to show Colonial was negligent; that requirement is limited only to strict liability actions.  As a result, the court found Colonial failed to use ordinary care by failing to require the defendant Olson to restrain his Rottweiler dogs, or remove them from the premises when the defendant knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known, from the dogs' past conduct, that they were likely, if not restrained, to do an act from which a reasonable person could foresee.  Of particular importance to the court, was the lease provision, which the court felt contractually obligated the landlord to retain control over defendant's dogs. 

Harris v. Barefoot


A mail carrier was attacked by two dogs, and sued the dogs’ owners for negligence. The Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for the defendants, holding that a dog owner is not liable unless there is evidence that the dog had a vicious propensity and that the owner knew or should have known that the dog was dangerous.

Hair v. Quail Corners Animal Hospital


Standard veterinary malpractice case for a show dog. Includes Interrogatories. Veterinarian negligently treated show dog after she was shot by a hunter. In addition, another vet then left a needle inside the dog. Vets failed to take the needle out, causing the dog's death.

Detailed Discussion of North Carolina Great Apes Laws The following article discusses Great Ape law in North Carolina. While the state of North Carolina does not prohibit the possession of great apes, the law does allow cities and counties to regulate possession of dangerous animals by law.North Carolina also indirectly regulates the possession of great apes by reference to the federal endangered species list. In addition, the state declares the unlawful sale, possession for sale, or buying of any wildlife a Class 2 misdemeanor. Like other states, North Carolina does not define great apes as “endangered,” either under its own endangered species law or accompanying regulations. Instead, it covers great apes by reference to federal law. Great apes are also covered under the state’s anti-cruelty law. Still, the law contains a number of exempt categories.
Clark v. Cardinal Animal Care This is a complaint for veterinary malpractice. The cat had been checked in for a routine flea treatment. The cat ended up with a severe problem, which the veterinarian lied to the owner about. The veterinarian performed an unauthorized surgery on the cat. The cat died.
Branks v. Kern (On Appeal)


On grant of appeal from

Branks v. Kern

, 348 S.E.2d 815 (N.C. 1986).  Cat owner brought negligence action against veterinarian and veterinary clinic after her hand was bitten while she held her own cat during a catheterization procedure. In reversing the Court of Appeals decision (348 S.E.2d 815 (N.C. App. 1986)), the Supreme Court held that defendants in the instant case have met their burden of showing that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law where the evidence showed that the danger was obvious to plaintiff and defendants only owed plaintiff a duty to exercise ordinary care.

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