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Veterinary Division: Animal Welfare Section
Phone: (919) 707-3280 | Email: agr.aws@ncagr.gov

Animal Welfare FAQs
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  • How do I obtain a license?

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If you offer boarding of dogs and/or cats out of your home for a fee you must obtain a boarding kennel license from the Animal Welfare Section. This includes providing boarding services advertised through online pet-service companies and other online lists. Operating a boarding facility without a valid license could result in up to a $5,000 civil penalty for each violation.  In addition, operation of a boarding kennel without a valid license is a Class 3 misdemeanor where each day of operation constitutes a separate offense.

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Fix your critter

dog and catAdditional Information: The 1977 North Carolina General Assembly enacted an "Animal Welfare Act" to ensure that animals, as items of commerce, are provided humane care and treatment by regulating the transportation, sale, purchase, housing, care, handling and treatment of animals by persons or organizations engaged in transporting, buying or selling them. This Act is intended to protect animals confined in pet shops, kennels, public and private animal shelters, and auction markets. For the purposes of this Act, "animal," as defined by General Statute 19A-23, includes only domestic dogs and cats. This should not be confused with county-operated animal shelters that are regulated by county governments and their officials. State issued certificates or licenses are required for animal shelters, pet shops, boarding kennels and dealers. Criminal penalties are provided for the operation of a pet shop, kennel, animal shelter, etc., without a license.

Pet Shops who sell "pocket pets" (hedgehogs, degus, spiny mice, prairie dogs, flying squirrels, jerboas, or short-tailed oppossums) need to be licensed with the USDA, APHIS. Not included on the list of "pocket pets" are rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, gophers, chinchilla, domestic ferrets. Click here for USDA, APHIS contact information.

Call the local sheriff's office or local animal control for cases of animal cruelty, stolen animals, animals running at large, in-home pet sitting services, private breeding kennels, or humane care of animals other than dogs and cats being sold commercially. Animal cruelty cases are handled at the local level, and may be reported to the N.C. Department of Justice's Animal Welfare Hotline by calling 1-855-290-6915 or by contacting your local sheriff's office, local police department, local animal control and/or your local animal cruelty investigator.

NCDA&CS Veterinary Division, Dr. R. Douglas Meckes - State Veterinarian
Mailing Address: 1030 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1030
Physical Address: 2 West Edenton Street, Raleigh, NC 27601
Phone: (919) 707-3250 Fax: (919) 733-2277


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