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October 2, 2019

The Robeson County Board of Commissioners is holding a public meeting on Wednesday, October 3, to get feedback on numerous proposed changes to the county’s animal control laws, which were originally written in 1990.

The proposed changes include limiting ownership to three dogs on a residential property (unless the dogs are kept for hunting wild game), and numerous requirements regarding those whose dogs meet the definitions of potentially dangerous or dangerous.

The Robeson County Board of Commissioners has set the hearing in order to receive feedback on the proposed ordinance.  They have also stated they are open to amendments based on comments received at the hearing.

Those who reside or participate in events in the county are strongly encouraged to attend the meeting and reach out to the Board of Commissioners with your comments (scroll down for hearing and contact information).


The proposed ordinance makes a number of changes to the county’s animal control laws.  Read the proposal in its entirety to see how it would impact you.

Highlights of changes include:

  • Dog Ownership Limit – The proposal would limit those who live in residential-zoned areas to only owning three dogs over 5 months of age. Exemptions are made for dogs used to hunt wild game (although it is unclear how this would be determined/proven), and all dogs listed with the Robeson County Tax Administrator for the annual privilege license for the calendar year 2019 (see next bullet point).The purpose is to prevent public nuisances and regulate irresponsible dog owners.  However, the AKC opposes limit laws, as they are arbitrary and do not accurately reflect whether someone is a responsible dog owner.  Visit the Limit Laws Key Issue page in the AKC’s Legislative Action Center for talking points and more information on this issue.
  • Mandatory Registration/Licensing of all Dogs and Cats – The county proposes a mandatory registration and license fee of $10 per each dog or cat over 4 months of age owned in the county. This is in addition to the rabies vaccination fee, and an additional $1 will be charged for each male dog and $2 for each female dog owned.  While only five licenses are permitted under the proposal, it also states that the license fee will be waived for each additional dog legally owned.  Again, if they are not registered in 2019, then the owner will be subject to the three-dog limit mentioned above.The license will be paid to the veterinarian at the time of the rabies vaccination.  A tag verifying the vaccination must be kept on the animal at all times.  If a dog is found at large without this tag, the dog may be seized and impounded.
  • New Definitions/Regulations for Potentially Dangerous and Dangerous Dogs – The proposal creates new definitions of “potentially dangerous” and “dangerous” dogs that address when a dog injures someone or inflicts severe injury on a domestic animal when unprovoked. Dogs determined to fall into these categories must be sterilized and the owners must comply with numerous requirements including obtaining liability insurance, meeting enclosure and tethering requirements, and other restrictions.AKC is asking for a clarification, however, as the definition listed for a potentially dangerous dog is significantly different than the list used to determine if a dog is potentially dangerous.

    All complaints regarding dogs that may be declared potentially dangerous or dangerous must be made in writing and the owner has the opportunity to appeal before a final determination is made.

What You Can Do:

  • Attend the September 5 public meeting and express your comments and concerns with the proposal. Be respectful and thank them for allowing the public the opportunity to weigh in before anything is finalized.  The meeting details are as follows:Robeson County Hearing on Proposed Dog Ordinance
    Thursday, October 3, 2019
    6:00 pm
    Robeson County Emergency Operations Center
    38 Legend Road
    Lumberton, North Carolina

    Contact the commissioners and express your comments and concerns.  All contact information may be found on the Robeson County website (scroll down for commissioner contact information).