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On Monday, October 14, a group of local residents is expected to present a proposed animal ordinance to the Yancey County (NC) Board of Commissioners.  The group has been asking local residents to sign a petition in support, as the county currently has no local animal control laws.  The goal is to establish some basic humane standards and provide the county sheriff’s office with the ability to address serious issues of cruelty and neglect when they arise.

Those who reside in Yancey County are encouraged to attend Monday’s meeting to listen to the discussion and provide respectful comments.  Should the county decide to proceed, the measure will likely be voted on at a later date (the commissioners meet once a month).


The proposal would establish the first animal ordinance in Yancey County and is meant to supplement state law.  It provides an exemption for dogs used in hunting, so long as the dogs are under the control of the owner or a competent person and are lawfully being used for hunting or training for hunting.

Highlights of the proposal include:

  • Guidelines on the care of animals – This includes providing access to clean, fresh water; giving a quantity of food at least every 24 hours that is suitable to maintain the animal’s health and well-being; providing adequate shelter from the weather at all times; and keeping any pens, kennels or shelters where dogs are kept in a reasonable sanitary manner. The proposal recommends that fenced areas be at least 100 square feet, although it is not required.  AKC is recommending that instead the owners be required to provide space for proper exercise, etc. as appropriate to the breed, age and physical condition of the dog.

    Owners are also required to provide proper medical treatment.  The proposal states that a person must relinquish an injured or sick dog when an owner is unable or unwilling to provide medical treatment.  AKC understands the intent and purpose of this requirement, but is reaching out to ask for an amendment clarifying that this would not include those owners, for example, who have an elderly or terminally ill dog and choose with their veterinarian’s oversight to make the dog comfortable instead of ongoing, expensive medical treatments.

  • Guidelines on tethering – Tethering (defined as a means by which a dog is fastened so that it can range within a reasonable radius) is permitted, so long as the collar, rope, wire, or chain does not cause injury or become imbedded in the dog’s neck. A tether may not be used with a chain and choke collar, or in an area with obstacles that prevents a dog from having access to food, water, and shelter.
  • Prohibition on certain events – The proposal reiterates the ban on dogfighting and prohibits any activity or event where dogs are cruelly treated. It further prohibits functions or activities where animals run the risk of causing injury to the public or themselves.  AKC fully understands and appreciates that humane, responsible hunting activities are exempt, and that this proposal is meant to prohibit dangerous and inhumane activities.  However, to ensure other humane events may continue, AKC is recommending that the county clarify this intent to avoid any misinterpretations in the future.  We are asking that the owner or handler be required to make reasonable efforts to ensure the dog’s safety, and for the county to prohibit activities where dogs are being cruelly treated and intentionally or negligently mistreated.

Read AKC’s letter to the Board of Commissioners to view our comments on this proposal. 

What You Can Do:

  • Attend the meeting and respectfully express any comments or questions you have during the public comment period:

    Yancey County Board of Commissioners Meeting
    Monday, October 14, 2019
    6:00 pm
    110 Town Square
    Burnsville, NC 28714

    Should you wish to speak, you must sign in prior to the beginning of the meeting.

  • Contact the county and respectfully convey your comments on this proposal:

    Jeff Whitson, Chairman –

Mark Ledford, Vice Chairman –
Jill Austin –

Johnny Riddle –

David Grindstaff –


AKC will provide updates as they are available.  For questions, contact AKC Government Relations at