Animal Control

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The Cary Police Department employs four civilian animal control officers. They are responsible for investigating animal cruelty cases, reports of rabid animals, nuisance wild animals, and animal bites. The animal control officers also enforce the leash law and other Town ordinances regulating dogs, cats and other animals. In addition, they capture stray and lost animals, and maintain pet tag files.

View Chapter 6 of the Town Code.   


Animal Control works closely with other animal service organizations such as the Wake County Animal Care, Control and Adoption Center. You can reach them by calling (919) 212-PETS (7387). View the Center's frequently asked questions.

Animal Control Officers provide an important community service by appearing before school groups, senior citizen groups or other community groups to discuss animal control topics.

Hours of Operation

Animal Control officers are available seven days a week.

Spring/Summer Hours: 

Sunday - Saturday: 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

Fall/Winter Hours:

Sunday - Saturday: 8 a.m.-7 p.m.

Animal calls received at other hours or on holidays are handled by police officers.

Rabid Animals
If you see an animal that you believe may be rabid, call (919) 469-4012 to report the location of the animal. Do not try to touch or capture the animal because it may attempt to bite you. Animals with rabies usually show some type of behavioral change. They can be aggressive and excited or depressed and lethargic. They may be uncoordinated and unfocused on the presence of humans around them.

In Cary, the most common types of wildlife which may carry the rabies virus are raccoons, foxes and bats. These animals, which normally avoid humans, are nocturnal. Although it is unusual for them to be active during daylight hours, all of these animals are active during daylight hours at certain times of the year. If you see a raccoon, fox, bat, or other wildlife during daylight hours and it appears to be sick or is aggressive toward other animals or humans, move to a safe location and call immediately. The law requires that your dog or cat be vaccinated against rabies.

Nuisance Wildlife
Many species of wildlife do not cause damage in the traditional sense but can be considered nuisances merely by their presence in a particular location, such as residential settings. Wildlife that cross roads, nest and feed in and around homes, make noise, and leave their droppings are common occurrences which can often interrupt everyday life.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission offers tips for coexisting with wildlife, including coyotes, Canada geese, beavers, black bears and deer.

Trapping Wildlife
A license is required to trap wildlife. NC Wildlife Resources Commission provides a list of licensed trappers or can answer questions about trapping wildlife at (919) 786-4480. The Town of Cary is not licensed to provide trapping services.


Animal Bites
If you are bitten by a domesticated animal, North Carolina law requires that you report it to the police department. An animal control officer will investigate, and the animal’s owner will be required to show proof of rabies vaccination. In addition, any domesticated dog or cat which has bitten someone is required to undergo a 10 day quarantine at the owner’s home. If circumstances warrant, the animal may be quarantined at a local veterinary hospital or Wake County Animal Care, Control and Adoption Center at the owner’s expense.

Leash Law
One way to prevent your animal from biting a person or another animal is to obey the leash law. The Town of Cary requires that all dogs and cats be on a leash or lead if they are not on the owner’s property. The leash law also protects animals from injury.

Download our Leash Law Brochure (.pdf format).

On June 1, 2012, a new ordinance went into effect prohibiting the unattended tethering of dogs in the Town of Cary. Under this ordinance you may not leave a dog tethered (chained to a stationary object) without remaining outside and supervising your dog. Alternatives to tethering as a primary means of keeping your dog are to bring the dog into your home, fencing in your yard, or constructing a pen. There are some restrictions to pen size that are required by the ordinance. For a dog weighing less than 20 pounds the pen may be no smaller than 100 square feet. A dog weighing 20 pounds or more is required to have an enclosure no smaller than 200 square feet.

You should also take note of the basic requirements associated with keeping a pet in an outdoor enclosure. The pet must be provided clean water, food and proper shelter. Proper shelter is defined as having at least three solid sides, a roof and a floor with bedding, and must be ventilated and have sufficient room for an animal to move about freely and lie down comfortably.

The Cary Town Council recently passed a Resolution in support of privately funded Trap-Neuter-Return of feral cats programs. The Town believes that a successfully managed TNR program is a humane method of controlling the feral cat population and may actually reduce the number of feral cats in the community. Animal control officers are able to provide additional information on this program and refer citizens to private organizations that work on feral cat colony management.

Nuisance Animals
Sec. 6-71 of the ordinance addresses nuisance animals. One of the most frequent complaints that we hear surrounding animals is excessive barking. The ordinance is very specific on how you may work with our animal control officers to address this issue, and can be found in Sec. 6-71(f).

Nuisance Animal Complaint Form

Defecation on Streets and Private Property
Sec. 6-64 of the ordinance requires an animal owner to remove any feces deposited by his or her pet on the private property of another or on public property. The ordinance does not address urine. If you know who the owner of the offending animal is, Animal Control officers will be happy to work with you to address the issue.

For questions concerning animal control issues, please call (919) 319-4517.

Reclaiming Lost Animals

If your pet has been picked up by Animal Control, you may claim it at:

Wake County Animal Care, Control and Adoption Center
820 Beacon Lake Drive
Raleigh, NC 27610
(919) 212-PETS (7387)

Adoption Center Hours:

Monday - Friday: Noon - 6 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: Noon - 6 p.m.

Business Hours:
(During the Center's business hours you may search for a lost pet, turn in an animal and complete adoption paperwork)

Monday - Friday: 8:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: Noon - 6 p.m.

If you have lost an animal, call the Animal Control office at (919) 319-4517 and provide a description and the last known location of your animal.  If you find an animal, you should report it immediately to the Animal Control division so that the owner can be located promptly. In some cases, those that find/report lost animals may hold onto them if they desire until an owner is located.


Chuck Haggist
Animal Control Supervisor
Cary Police Department
(919) 319-4517

Beth Wilson
Animal Control Officer
Cary Police Department
(919) 319-4517

Rachael Wooten
Animal Control Officer
Cary Police Department
(919) 319-4517

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