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Iredell County, NC, will be hosting an open meeting on August 25 to allow for public comment on the numerous proposed changes to the county’s animal control laws.  These proposals include the broad categorization of all dogs as solely companion animals, requirements on ear cropping, tail docking and dewclaw removal, and tethering regulations.


The county is proposing several changes to its animal control ordinance, including:

  • Broad categorization of all dogs as “companion animals” – The proposal defines a “companion animal” as “any animal kept primarily for pleasure, rather than utility, including, but not limited to, all domestic dogs…”  This definition does not acknowledge the many important roles that dogs may perform as working animals including livestock/guardian, hunting, guard, search and rescue, and service dogs.  This definition needs to be clarified.
  • Unreasonable outside enclosure requirements – Any outside enclosure for animals must be a minimum of 100 square feet plus an additional five square feet for each pound over 25 combined pounds for all the dogs in the enclosure.  The AKC agrees with current county law that requires outside enclosures must be large enough for a dog to sit, stand, and lie down.  We also agree that the enclosure should be kept clean and have proper drainage to eliminate moisture.  However, depending on the size of dog, 100 square feet is a very large space (particularly for very small breeds), and this is an excessive requirement.  Also, the needs and space requirements for a dog outside for a brief amount of time as opposed to one constantly outside would naturally be different.  Current law ensures that dogs have proper space without these arbitrary enclosure size requirements. 
  • Requirement that certain procedures only be performed by veterinarians – The proposal would require that all “surgical procedures”, including tail docking, ear cropping and dewclaw removal, be performed by a licensed veterinarian.  The AKC certainly believes that all procedures should be conducted with proper veterinary oversight, but other portions of this section and the accompanying memo indicate a misunderstanding of these procedures and their purpose.  The proposal refers to these procedures as “cosmetic” and the memo states that there is a desire “to have expensive and pure-bred animals meet the ‘breed standard’.”  Breeds that include these procedures in their standard do so for specific purposes to protect the dog’s safety or allow it to more adequately perform the functions for which they are bred. Most people select a purebred dog for their predictability in terms of temperament, health and conformation. 

These are just a few of the many changes in the proposed ordinance, which also includes new regulations for tethering (defined as when a dog is unattended and restrained by a chain or leash),  requiring that the radius of a tethering area must be at least 150 square feet and the tether be at least 10 feet in length.  Read the proposal in its entirety on the Iredell County website.

What You Can Do:

Iredell County, NC, will be hosting an open meeting on August 25 to allow for public comment on the numerous proposed changes to the county’s animal control laws. AKC has concerns regarding some of the proposals.