Article 47.

Cruelty to Animals.

14-360. Cruelty to animals; construction of section.

(a) If any person shall intentionally overdrive, overload, wound, injure, torment, kill, or deprive of necessary sustenance, or cause or procure to be overdriven, overloaded, wounded, injured, tormented, killed, or deprived of necessary sustenance, any animal, every such offender shall for every such offense be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

(a1) If any person shall maliciously kill, or cause or procure to be killed, any animal by intentional deprivation of necessary sustenance, that person shall be guilty of a Class H felony.

(b) If any person shall maliciously torture, mutilate, maim, cruelly beat, disfigure, poison, or kill, or cause or procure to be tortured, mutilated, maimed, cruelly beaten, disfigured, poisoned, or killed, any animal, every such offender shall for every such offense be guilty of a Class H felony. However, nothing in this section shall be construed to increase the penalty for cockfighting provided for in G.S. 14-362.

(c) As used in this section, the words "torture", "torment", and "cruelly" include or refer to any act, omission, or neglect causing or permitting unjustifiable pain, suffering, or death. As used in this section, the word "intentionally" refers to an act committed knowingly and without justifiable excuse, while the word "maliciously" means an act committed intentionally and with malice or bad motive. As used in this section, the term "animal" includes every living vertebrate in the classes Amphibia, Reptilia, Aves, and Mammalia except human beings. However, this section shall not apply to the following activities:

(1) The lawful taking of animals under the jurisdiction and regulation of the Wildlife Resources Commission, except that this section shall apply to those birds exempted by the Wildlife Resources Commission from its definition of "wild birds" pursuant to G.S. 113-129(15a).

(2) Lawful activities conducted for purposes of biomedical research or training or for purposes of production of livestock, poultry, or aquatic species.

(2a) Lawful activities conducted for the primary purpose of providing food for human or animal consumption.

(3) Activities conducted for lawful veterinary purposes.

(4) The lawful destruction of any animal for the purposes of protecting the public, other animals, property, or the public health.

(5) The physical alteration of livestock or poultry for the purpose of conforming with breed or show standards. (1881, c. 34, s. 1; c. 368, ss. 1, 15; Code, ss. 2482, 2490; 1891, c. 65; Rev., s. 3299; 1907, c. 42; C.S., s. 4483; 1969, c. 1224, s. 2; 1979, c. 641; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 967, s. 1; 1989, c. 670, s. 1; 1993, c. 539, s. 239; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 1998-212, s. 17.16(c); 1999-209, s. 8; 2007-211, ss. 1, 2; 2010-16, ss. 1, 2.)

 

14-360.1. Immunity for veterinarian reporting animal cruelty.

Any veterinarian licensed in this State who has reasonable cause to believe that an animal has been the subject of animal cruelty in violation of G.S. 14-360 and who makes a report of animal cruelty, or who participates in any investigation or testifies in any judicial proceeding that arises from a report of animal cruelty, shall be immune from civil liability, criminal liability, and liability from professional disciplinary action and shall not be in breach of any veterinarian-patient confidentiality, unless the veterinarian acted in bad faith or with a malicious purpose. It shall be a rebuttable presumption that the veterinarian acted in good faith. A failure by a veterinarian to make a report of animal cruelty shall not constitute grounds for disciplinary action under G.S. 90-187.8. (2007-232, s. 1.)

 

14-361. Instigating or promoting cruelty to animals.

If any person shall willfully set on foot, or instigate, or move to, carry on, or promote, or engage in, or do any act towards the furtherance of any act of cruelty to any animal, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. (1881, c. 368, s. 6; Code, s. 2487; 1891, c. 65; Rev., s. 3300; C.S., s. 4484; 1953, c. 857, s. 1; 1969, c. 1224, s. 3; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 967, s. 1; 1989, c. 670, s. 2; 1993, c. 539, s. 240; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)

 

14-361.1. Abandonment of animals.

Any person being the owner or possessor, or having charge or custody of an animal, who willfully and without justifiable excuse abandons the animal is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. (1979, c. 687; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 967, s. 2; 1989, c. 670, s. 3; 1993, c. 539, s. 241; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)

 

14-362. Cockfighting.

A person who instigates, promotes, conducts, is employed at, allows property under his ownership or control to be used for, participates as a spectator at, or profits from an exhibition featuring the fighting of a cock is guilty of a Class I felony. A lease of property that is used or is intended to be used for an exhibition featuring the fighting of a cock is void, and a lessor who knows this use is made or is intended to be made of his property is under a duty to evict the lessee immediately. (1881, c. 368, s. 2; Code, s. 2483; 1891, c. 65; Rev., s. 3301; C.S., s. 4485; 1953, c. 857, s. 2; 1969, c. 1224, s. 3; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 967, s. 3; 1993, c. 539, s. 242; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 2005-437, s. 1.)

 

14-362.1. Animal fights and baiting, other than cock fights, dog fights and dog baiting.

(a) A person who instigates, promotes, conducts, is employed at, provides an animal for, allows property under his ownership or control to be used for, or profits from an exhibition featuring the fighting or baiting of an animal, other than a cock or a dog, is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. A lease of property that is used or is intended to be used for an exhibition featuring the fighting or baiting of an animal, other than a cock or a dog, is void, and a lessor who knows this use is made or is intended to be made of his property is under a duty to evict the lessee immediately.

(b) A person who owns, possesses, or trains an animal, other than a cock or a dog, with the intent that the animal be used in an exhibition featuring the fighting or baiting of that animal or any other animal is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

(c) A person who participates as a spectator at an exhibition featuring the fighting or baiting of an animal, other than a cock or a dog, is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

(d) A person who commits an offense under subsection (a) within three years after being convicted of an offense under this section is guilty of a Class I felony.

(e) This section does not prohibit the lawful taking or training of animals under the jurisdiction and regulation of the Wildlife Resources Commission. (1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 967, s. 5; 1993, c. 539, ss. 243, 1236; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 1997-78, s. 2.)

 

14-362.2. Dog fighting and baiting.

(a) A person who instigates, promotes, conducts, is employed at, provides a dog for, allows property under the person's ownership or control to be used for, gambles on, or profits from an exhibition featuring the baiting of a dog or the fighting of a dog with another dog or with another animal is guilty of a Class H felony. A lease of property that is used or is intended to be used for an exhibition featuring the baiting of a dog or the fighting of a dog with another dog or with another animal is void, and a lessor who knows this use is made or is intended to be made of the lessor's property is under a duty to evict the lessee immediately.

(b) A person who owns, possesses, or trains a dog with the intent that the dog be used in an exhibition featuring the baiting of that dog or the fighting of that dog with another dog or with another animal is guilty of a Class H felony.

(c) A person who participates as a spectator at an exhibition featuring the baiting of a dog or the fighting of a dog with another dog or with another animal is guilty of a Class H felony.

(d) This section does not prohibit the use of dogs in the lawful taking of animals under the jurisdiction and regulation of the Wildlife Resources Commission.

(e) This section does not prohibit the use of dogs in earthdog trials that are sanctioned or sponsored by entities approved by the Commissioner of Agriculture that meet standards that protect the health and safety of the dogs. Quarry at an earthdog trial shall at all times be kept separate from the dogs by a sturdy barrier, such as a cage, and have access to food and water.

(f) This section does not apply to the use of herding dogs engaged in the working of domesticated livestock for agricultural, entertainment, or sporting purposes. (1997-78, s. 1; 2006-113, s. 3.1; 2006-259, s. 37; 2007-180, s. 1; 2007-181, s. 1.)

 

14-362.3. Restraining dogs in a cruel manner.

A person who maliciously restrains a dog using a chain or wire grossly in excess of the size necessary to restrain the dog safely is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. For purposes of this section, "maliciously" means the person imposed the restraint intentionally and with malice or bad motive. (2001-411, s. 2.)

 

14-363. Conveying animals in a cruel manner.

If any person shall carry or cause to be carried in or upon any vehicle or other conveyance, any animal in a cruel or inhuman manner, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Whenever an offender shall be taken into custody therefor by any officer, the officer may take charge of such vehicle or other conveyance and its contents, and deposit the same in some safe place of custody. The necessary expenses which may be incurred for taking charge of and keeping and sustaining the vehicle or other conveyance shall be a lien thereon, to be paid before the same can be lawfully reclaimed; or the said expenses, or any part thereof remaining unpaid, may be recovered by the person incurring the same of the owner of such animal in an action therefor. (1881, c. 368, s. 5; Code, s. 2486; 1891, c. 65; Rev., s. 3302; C.S., s. 4486; 1953, c. 857, s. 3; 1969, c. 1224, s. 4; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 967, s. 1; 1989, c. 670, s. 4; 1993, c. 539, s. 244; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)

 

14-363.1. Living baby chicks or other fowl, or rabbits under eight weeks of age; disposing of as pets or novelties forbidden.

If any person, firm or corporation shall sell, or offer for sale, barter or give away as premiums living baby chicks, ducklings, or other fowl or rabbits under eight weeks of age as pets or novelties, such person, firm or corporation shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor. Provided, that nothing contained in this section shall be construed to prohibit the sale of nondomesticated species of chicks, ducklings, or other fowl, or of other fowl from proper brooder facilities by hatcheries or stores engaged in the business of selling them for purposes other than for pets or novelties. (1973, c. 466, s. 1; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 967, s. 4; 1993, c. 539, s. 245; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)

 

14-363.2. Confiscation of cruelly treated animals.

Conviction of any offense contained in this Article may result in confiscation of cruelly treated animals belonging to the accused and it shall be proper for the court in its discretion to order a final determination of the custody of the confiscated animals. (1979, c. 640.)

 

14-363.3. Confinement of animals in motor vehicles.

(a) In order to protect the health and safety of an animal, any animal control officer, animal cruelty investigator appointed under G.S. 19A-45, law enforcement officer, firefighter, or rescue squad worker, who has probable cause to believe that an animal is confined in a motor vehicle under conditions that are likely to cause suffering, injury, or death to the animal due to heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, or under other endangering conditions, may enter the motor vehicle by any reasonable means under the circumstances after making a reasonable effort to locate the owner or other person responsible for the animal.

(b) Nothing in this section shall be construed to apply to the transportation of horses, cattle, sheep, swine, poultry, or other livestock. (2013-377, s. 6.)