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NC Update: Bill Assisting Shelters, Protecting Dogs Heads to Governor

(Monday, July 22, 2013)
On Friday, the North Carolina Senate unanimously approved the House amendments to Senate Bill 626, a bill that will assist shelters and improve the lives of dogs in North Carolina. The bill now goes to Governor McCrory.

Senate Bill 626 would help relieve overcrowding at shelters and reunite lost pets with their owners by making several positive changes, including improving enforcement by moving the regulations to the state’s animal welfare act.

In reviewing SB 626, a bill sponsored by North Carolina State Senators Floyd B. McKissick, Jr., Brent Jackson, Wesley Meredith and Mike Woodard, AKC Government Relations noticed that current North Carolina shelter law stated only that shelters that have access to microchip scanners “may” use them in order to help locate owners of animals taken into custody.

The American Kennel Club worked with several NC Senators who sponsored the bill to ensure that shelters that have access to microchip scanners are now required to scan a pet for a microchip and utilize that information to help reunite the animal with its owner. It would not require all shelters to have scanners, but simply require them to be used by those shelters that have one. Click here to view a copy of AKC’s letter requesting this amendment.

In support of the amendment, American Kennel Club Companion Animal Recovery (AKC CAR), has pledged up to 20 universal microchip scanners to public shelters in North Carolina that otherwise could not afford them.  In the last four years, AKC CAR has already donated more than 160 scanners to North Carolina shelters to help reunite lost dogs with their owners. North Carolina shelters interested in universal scanners can visit www.akccar.org/nccares to learn more.

The bill was further amended in the House of Representatives to allow animal control officers, firefighters, rescue squad workers, and state-appointed animal cruelty investigators to enter motor vehicles in circumstances where there is probable cause that the animal confined in the vehicle is in circumstances that are likely to endanger or cause injury, suffering, or death. A reasonable effort must first be made to locate the owner or person responsible for the animal.

The American Kennel Club is pleased to support this measure that benefits North Carolina’s shelters and dogs. Senate Bill 626 now goes back to the Senate for final approval. If you would like to contact Governor McCrory on this measure, complete an e-mail form or call his office at (919) 814-2000.