New year brings new NC law to protect pets

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Submitted: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 10:05pm
Updated: Wed, 01/01/2014 - 6:36pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — With the new year comes new laws, including one designed to protect animals.

State leaders amended the existing law on animal shelters, in an effort to help owners find lost pets and relieve overcrowding at shelters among other things.

“Most of these changes are trying to get animal groups and animal services up to a certain level,” said Sgt. Jerry Brewer, spokesman for the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, which oversees the county’s Animal Services Unit.

The changes, some of which went into effect earlier this year and others that go into effect Wednesday, will allow animal control and animal cruelty investigators to take action when an animal locked in a car is in danger.

“Animal control officers, if they are dispatched to a scene or a situation if there is an animal in a car, after they have exhausted all their reasonable expectations for trying to find the owner, they can enter the car,” Brewer said.

Sgt. Brewer says this will help law enforcement save the lives of many animals.

“That really helps out us and helps the community, so if there was a dog or cat that’s in distress during our hot summers, which we all know about, you know, they can enter that car if need be,” Brewer said.

The changes also put a cap on the reimbursement amount available from the state spay and neuter program and requires a minimum holding period of 72 hours for all animals received by a shelter.

While these changes may affect certain parts of the state, Brewer says Sheriff Ed McMahon already sets the bar high for New Hanover County.

“For us, it didn’t really affect us too much here at Animal Services Unit, but it just goes to show you the level of expectations sheriff mcmahon is holding for animal services unit,” Brewer said.

Brewer also says most of their procedures and policies were already well above the new standards and in place before the changes even came about.


  • Beth Dimenstein says:

    Maybe I misunderstand this but the new law is saying if a cat or dog is in a car in miserably hot weather then we must search for the fool that has left them there before saving the animals life? I promise to dial 911 but within moments I will be breaking windows to save an animals life prior to worrying about anything but the animals well-being. Why is this even a question? Please if I am ever stupid enough to leave my pet in my car and in danger feel free to destroy my windows to save her life and then kick my butt!

    Beth Dimenstein
    Holden Beach

  • Rusty says:

    “Animal control officers, if they are dispatched to a scene or a situation if there is an animal in a car, after they have exhausted all their reasonable expectations for trying to find the owner, they can enter the car,” Brewer said.

    I would hope that means only a few minutes (unless the animal is is in obvious distress). Just a thought.. why aren’t babies/toddlers mentioned in this?

  • lonetraveler says:

    I witnessed a dog in distress in a parked car in the Walmart parking lot in Leland. When I arrived in the parking lot, I noticed people standing around a car parked in the parking lot. I approached and noticed a pit bull frantically barking in a vehicle with the windows up to within an inch from the top of the window. People had already called Walmart and asked that they page for the owner to come back to their car. Howeve, I called 911 and asked for police to come to aid the dog. I noticed that there was a police car with policeman inside at the end of the parking lot. I told 911 about this. The policeman never moved………… all. While waiting for help, the skanky owners approached and were very angry that people had called 911. Stated that they were only in the store for thirty minutes. People in the parking lot around the car had been there for at least 45 minutes before I arrived. These skanky women wanted to “whip” my butt for calling. I told them to bring it on. Police never came and Walmart was not willing to even page the owners. They were all willing to let a dog die a very horrible death. I was searching in my tool box in the back of my vehicle to find something to break the window when the skanky owners arrived. I’ll do it next time without calling the worthless police.

  • guest7969 says:

    Maybe because babies and toddlers aren’t dogs. .. just a guess

  • JanetGR says:

    I’m thinking that kids are covered under the child endangerment laws which have been around for quite some time.

  • John Jones says:

    Leave these matters to the police. Civillians breaking into cars no matter what is against the law. If a dog is locked in a hot car dial 911-and let the police handle it. What next?- shoot the owners of these dogs? I own a dog and was falsely accused of neglet- please stop taking the laws in your own hands!!

  • Beth says:

    I will gladly break a car window to save the life of an animal or child. I have ZERO qualms about this.

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