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Are pet cats subject to the same animal control rules as dogs, or can they wander the neighborhood?

Vicky Eckenrode
StarNews

If Frisky’s a fugitive feline, he can be picked up by animal control officers just like Fido, local officials said.

The same restrictions cover cats and dogs when it comes to running around the neighborhood, said Jean McNeil, New Hanover County’s animal services manager.

“They are not supposed to be running at-large off the owner’s property,” she said.

Fines for owners start at $25 and can increase to $500 for repeat offenses.

Pender County has a similar restriction against letting cats and dogs run around when not controlled by chain, leash or electronic device or under voice control, according to the county’s ordinance. There is an exemption for dogs while they are hunting and under owner supervision.

Brunswick County is slightly stricter. Any animal that is off its owner’s property and not under some sort of physical restraint is considered to be at-large; voice command isn’t good enough.

If someone already has complained about an at-large animal, that pet is required to be restrained by a leash, chain, fence or enclosure – even when on the owner’s property.

New Hanover County’s McNeil said there are things owners can do to keep their outdoor cats from roaming. She pointed to special outside enclosures the Humane Society uses and special fencing that goes on top of regular yard fences to prevent cats from climbing over.

The original question asked whether someone could capture a neighbor’s cat and turn it over to authorities. Fred Michael, deputy health director for Brunswick County, said it is possible for people to trap an animal on their property to turn into animal control officials. He said people can call animal control to request a trap be put out if they are having problems with a nuisance animal, and workers will come back to check on it.

New Hanover County officials will actually loan residents traps if they are having problems with wayward animals on their property.

McNeil said animal control officers will drop off a trap, and the resident signs a trap agreement. The person has to pay a $45 deposit for a cat trap and $120 deposit for a dog trap. The money is refunded when the trap is returned undamaged.

We’re still checking about the trapping situation in Pender County and will update this post when we get the information.

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Nicholas

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