In Edenton, North Carolina, it is unlawful to keep, harbor, own or possess any potentially vicious dog, which includes pit bulls, Rottweilers, and Chows. There are exceptions for dogs registered on the effective date, provided that the owner uses a leash and muzzle on the dog, keeps it properly confined, posts “Beware of Dog” signs, takes identification photographs, sterilizes the dog, and complies with reporting requirements. Failure to comply may result in seizure and impoundment of the dog.
§ 90.43 VICIOUS DOGS.
§ 10. 99 GENERAL PENALTY
(A) Prohibited. No person residing within the corporate limits of the town for a period of seven or more days shall keep, harbor, own or in any way possess any of the following dogs:
(1) Any unregistered potentially vicious dog. For the purposes of this section, a POTENTIALLY VICIOUS DOG is defined to mean:
(a) The bull terrier breed of dog;
(b) The Staffordshire bull terrier breed of dog;
(c) The American pit bull terrier breed of dog;
(d) The American Staffordshire terrier breed of dog;
(e) The Rottweiler breed of dog;
(f) The Chow Chow breed of dog;
(g) Any dog breed or mixed breed known by a commonly accepted derivative name of the above listed breeds, including without limitation, pit bulls, pit bull dogs, and pit bull terriers.
(h) Any dog that has the appearance or physical characteristics of being predominantly one of breeds of dogs listed above; or any combination thereof.
(i) Any owner, keeper, harborer or possessor of a dog, who is unsure whether it meets the definition of a potentially vicious dog as defined herein, shall follow provisions set forth in division (B)(10) to the determine of whether the dog must be registered.
(2) Any dog with a known propensity, tendency or disposition to initiate attack, to cause injury to, or to otherwise endanger the safety of, humans or other domestic animals; or
(3) Any dog that bites (to the extent of severely bruising or puncturing the skin), attacks, assaults, inflicts injury or otherwise harms, a human being or a domestic animal without provocation. PROVOCATION shall be defined to include: a person or domestic animal who, at the time of injury or damage, was committing a trespass or other tort upon the premises occupied by the owner, keeper, harborer or possessor of the dog; or a person was teasing, tormenting, abusing or assaulting the dog. PROVOCATION does not include a dog protecting or defending the premises occupied by the owner, keeper, harborer or possessor of the dog; or a dog protecting or defending a person within the immediate vicinity of the dog from an attack or assault.
(B) Keeping of registered potentially vicious dogs. Notwithstanding the provisions of division (A), no resident of the town shall be prohibited from keeping, harboring, owning or possessing a potentially vicious dog that has been registered with the town, subject to the following conditions:
( a) No owner, keeper, harborer or possessor of a registered potentially vicious dog shall fail to confine such dog in a manner required by division (B)(2), unless such dog is secured by a leash not more than four feet in length.
(b) No person shall permit a potentially vicious dog to be kept on a chain, rope or other type of leash outside its kennel or pen unless the person is in physical control of the leash and the dog is adequately restrained.
(c) Any person in control of a leashed and registered potentially vicious dog must be physically able to control/restrain the dog.
(d) No registered potentially vicious dog may be leashed to a stationary object, including without limitation, any tree, post or building.
(a) General requirement. All registered potentially vicious dogs shall be confined indoors and within the residence or house, or in a securely enclosed and locked pen or kennel, except as leashed in conformance with the requirements of division (B)(1).
(b) Pen, kennel or structure.
1. Any pen, kennel or structure in compliance with this division shall consist of four secure sides with a height of at least six feet, or if shorter have an enclosed top.
2. All structures used to confine registered potentially vicious dogs shall be locked with a key or combination lock during any time such animals are confined within the pen or kennel.
3. Such pen or kennel shall have a secure bottom or floor attached to the sides of the pen or kennel, or in the alternative, each side of the pen must be embedded in the ground to a depth of no less than two feet.
4. All pens or kennels shall adequately contain the dog and prevent escape.
5. All pens or kennels erected to house potentially vicious dogs shall comply with all zoning and buildings regulations of the town.
6. All pens or kennels shall be adequately lighted, ventilated and kept in a clean and sanitary condition.
(c) Confinement indoors.
1. A registered potentially vicious dog may be kept indoors, but may not be kept in a house or structure in which open windows or screen doors may provide the dog exit from the structure by the dog's own volition.
2. No registered potentially vicious dog may be kept in/on any structure attached to the house, such as a porch or patio, that allows a dog, by its own volition, an exit, and such structure must be secured by a locked gate or door suitable to prevent the dog from escaping.
(a) All owners, keepers, harborers or possessors of a registered potentially vicious dog within the town shall display in a prominent place on their premises, where anyone seeking to enter the property will see it, a sign easily readable by the public, displaying the words “Beware of Dog”.
(b) The sign shall also be posted on the pen or kennel of such animal.
(4) Identification photographs.
(a) All owners, keepers, harborers or possessors of registered potentially vicious dogs must, upon registration, provide to the Chief of Police with two color photographs of the registered animal, clearly demonstrating the animal's color and approximate size.
(b) The owner, keeper, harborer or possessor of any potentially vicious dog shall also provide satisfactory evidence to the Chief of Police that the dog has been implanted with a microchip identification marking.
(5) Reporting requirements. All owners, keepers, harborers or possessors of registered potentially vicious dogs must report the following information, in writing, to the Chief of Police within ten days of its occurrence:
(a) The death or removal from the town of a registered potentially vicious dog;
(b) The birth or offspring of a registered potentially vicious dog;
(c) The change of address of a registered potentially vicious dog moved to any location within the town corporate limits;
(d) Any attack involving a registered potentially vicious dog upon a human, which inflicts injury, including but not limited to, bruising, scratches and bites;
(e) Any attack involving the registered potentially vicious dog upon a domestic animal or pet.
(6) Sale or transfer of ownership prohibited. No person shall sell, barter or in any other way convey a registered potentially vicious dog to any person within the town, unless the recipient resides permanently in the same household and on the same premises as the registered owner of the dog; provided that the registered owner of a potentially vicious dog may sell, barter or otherwise convey a registered potentially vicious dog, or the offspring of a registered potentially vicious dog, to persons not residing within the town.
(7) Animals born of registered dogs. There shall be an irrebuttable presumption that any offspring born of a registered potentially vicious dog is, in fact, a potentially vicious dog that must be registered and kept in accordance with this section.
(8) Spay or neuter requirement.
(a) Any registered potentially vicious dog shall be spayed or neutered at the appropriate age as determined by a licensed veterinarian.
(b) The owner, keeper, harborer or possessor shall provide satisfactory evidence to the Chief of Police that any registered potentially vicious dog has been spayed or neutered.
(c) The Chief of Police or Chowan County Animal control may authorize the non-spaying or non-neutering of a registered potentially vicious dog for the purpose of breeding for the American Kennel Club, if such breeding takes place outside the town.
(9) Irrebuttable presumption.
(a) There shall be an irrebuttable presumption that any dog registered with the town as a potentially vicious dog, or capable of designation as a potentially vicious dog pursuant to division (A), is in fact a dog subject to the requirements of this section.
(b) Any registered potentially vicious dog that has been certified as a “seeing eye dog” or other human-handicapped-assistance dog, shall be exempt from the standards of this section, as long as such dog is being used for the certified assistance purposes.
(10) Application of section.
(a) If an owner, keeper, harborer or possessor of a dog is unsure if their dog meets the definition of a potentially vicious dog under division (A), they may make a formal request in writing to the Chief of Police for a determination on the classification of their dog.
(b) No action shall be taken against the owner, keeper, harborer or possessor of the dog while a determination is being made as to its classification.
(c) A written response shall be provided no later than three weeks after the request has been submitted to the Chief of Police.
(11) Failure to comply.
(a) It shall be unlawful for the owner, keeper, harborer or possessor of a potentially vicious dog registered with the town to fail to comply with the requirements and conditions set forth in this section.
(b) Any dog so kept may be subject to immediate seizure and impoundment, at the cost of the owner, keeper, harborer or possessor.
(c) Failure to comply with the requirements of this section will result in the revocation of any registration of such animal(s) and the immediate removal of the animal from the town.
(12) Violations and penalties. Any person violating or permitting the violating of any provision of this section shall be subject to all enforcement remedies as provided by G.S. § 160A-175 and G.S. § 14-4.
(13) Registration and fee.
(a) Registration of potentially vicious dogs will be conducted at the Police Department.
(b) The fee for registering a potentially vicious dog will be $25, to be paid at the time of registration.
(c) All registrations will be kept on file with the Police Department, with copies sent to the Chowan County Animal Control.
§ 10.99 GENERAL PENALTY. Any person, firm or corporation violating any of the provisions of any section of this code, or failing, neglecting or refusing to comply with this code, shall be, upon conviction, guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a fine not to exceed $50 or imprisonment not to exceed 30 days. Each day that any of the provisions of this code are violated shall constitute a separate offense.
Statutory reference: Enforcement of ordinances, see G.S. § 160A-175