Dangerous Dogs

Read the following procedures for how the County deals with dangerous dogs:

  • Dogs and other animals may be declared dangerous under the county's ordinance and dogs may also be declared dangerous or potentially dangerous under North Carolina state laws
  • A declaration does not cause an animal to be euthanized (or destroyed); rather, it requires the animal to be managed more strictly to be sure that the animal does not cause harm in the future, e.g., they must be muzzled and on a sturdy leash when they are off the owner’s property.
  • All owners of animals that are declared a danger to the public are entitled to an appeal hearing and notified of these rights at the time they receive the declaration for their animal. Please see the Appeal Hearing FAQ (PDF) that is provided to an owner whose animals are declared.
  • Appeals are heard by panels made up of individuals from the Animal Services Hearing Panel Pool which consists of county residents appointed by the Board of County Commissioners. Please review the bylaws for the Animal Services hearing panel pool (PDF).
  • Hearing panels either affirm or reverse the declarations brought to them for appeal.
  • Appeal hearings are conducted in a "quasi-judicial manner," that is, they are like a court proceeding but not as formal. Please review the hearing procedures (PDF) themselves.
  • Any decision made by a hearing panel may be further appealed by the animal owner or Orange County to Superior Court within 10 days of the appeal ruling.