Animal Control

Public & Animal SafetyAnimal Control Officer Truck

One of the side effects of increased growth and development in Nags Head is the increasing population of pets in the town. Due to this influx of four-legged friends, animal control management and enforcement has become much more important in our neighborhoods and on our beaches.

The safety and supervision of pets, as well as cleaning up after them, is the responsibility of the pet owner. Making sure that pet owners live up to their responsibilities is the Animal Control Officer's primary assignment.


Dogs are required to wear a collar and a Dare County identification (I.D.) tag with a current rabies vaccination tag attached. When a dog is off it’s owner’s property, a leash is required and the leash must be held by a person physically able to control the dog. When your dog is at home, it must be contained within a fence or restrained by some other physical means.

A dog is considered a public nuisance if it is:

  • Chasing People
  • Digging Up Flower Beds
  • Repeatedly Barking
  • Running at Large
  • Turning Over Garbage Cans

There is no provision in the Town Code of Ordinances for “neighborhood dogs” allowed to roam and run at-large.

The continued wholesome growth of our neighborhoods is also putting increased pressure on native wildlife. Sightings of fox, raccoon, possum and deer are becoming daily occurrences, as development encroaches further into the animals’ natural habitat. Wildlife can be beautiful and provide great learning opportunities for adults and children, but great care needs to be taken whenever we are around these wild animals.

Pet Owner’s Responsibilities in Nags Head

  1. A collar or harness with current rabies tag and ID tag is required to be worn at all times, unless the dog is enclosed on the owner’s property.
  2. The owner of any dog, over four months of age, must provide current inoculation against rabies for the dog and have the rabies tag attached to the dog’s collar.
  3. Any animal off the property of the owner must be restrained by a leash, cord or chain, not exceeding 10 feet, held by a person who is physically able to control the animal.
  4. It is unlawful to have, in a populated area, a dog that repeatedly barks to such extent that it is a public nuisance.
  5. It is unlawful to allow a dog to run at large.
  6. The owner/custodian of any dog, shall immediately remove and dispose of all feces deposited by a dog in a public place, sidewalk, parking lot, or on private property other than the owner / custodian’s.
  7. Any dog or cat found stray or running at large, or any dog not wearing a current valid rabies vaccination tag may be impounded and transported to the SPCA Shelter.
  8. If you have an emergency which is animal related, please contact Dare Central Communications at 252-473-3444.

Violations of these ordinances are enforceable by a civil and / or criminal penalty.