The New Hanover Animal Control now has more authority to protect animals. Yesterday, the New Hanover County Commissioners approved a new law that will allow animal control officers more authority to check on dog breeders. For years New Hanover County Animal Control officers have been receiving complaints from people who have purchased puppies from some local breeders. Jean McNeil of the Animal Control said, "People would go in to make a purchase, see the conditions of the animals, be very upset with it come back to us make a complaint." Under the old law, it was nearly impossible for Animal Control to help. "Within 48 hours we had to secure an affidavit request from the individual, which is a notarized statement, then go to the magistrate get a search and seizure warrant, and all this had to be done with in 48 hours." McNeil said. That is all about to change because a new law will require all breeders who produce four or more litters of puppies a year to obtain a kennel permit. Permitted kennels will be inspected annually, without notification. The permit is free from Animal Control, but non-compliance will lead to hefty fines. "If you don't have it and we find you in violation we'll be seeking a dollar amount of 500 dollars." McNeil said. Dr. McNeil hopes this new law will help control the pet population so puppies will have a real home, and not end up in the cages of Animal Control. The law will be enforced in a couple of months so breeders have time to get their permits. McNeil said the community can play a key role in helping make sure breeders are obeying the law by notifying them if the breeder won't let you see the conditions where the animal is kept.
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