The long leash of the law

You may think it’s your pet, but both the city of Asheville and Buncombe County have ordinances regulating proper animal care and maintenance. Animal Services Supervisor Brenda Sears of Asheville offers the following advice on how to keep your pet on the right side of the law. (For details concerning the county ordinance, visit or call 253-1195.)

How can you tell if a city pet owner is in compliance with Asheville’s Animal Control Ordinance? A law-abiding dog will be:
• wearing a current city license tag;
• wearing a current rabies tag;
• either on the owner’s premises or on a hand-held leash no more than 8 feet long;
• spayed or neutered.

A law-abiding cat in the city will be spayed or neutered.

Potential Violations:

• A dog (or cat) left unattended in a parked vehicle in extreme temperatures.

• A dog causing a public nuisance by barking, howling, getting into garbage, etc.

• A cat causing a public nuisance by yowling, urinating on the neighbor’s doorstep, digging up flowers, etc.

• A female dog in heat left unattended in the yard.

• Pet food left outdoors to attract stray cats and wildlife.

• A dog tethered in a public place.

• Pets left unattended outdoors without access to shelter.

• Pets that don’t receive food and clean water daily.

• Any unaltered dog or cat 6 months or older that does not have a permit to remain unaltered.

• A dog permitted to defecate in public without prompt pickup of solid waste.

• A pet suffering from an injury or illness that has not received proper medical attention.

• Fowl or livestock kept without a permit.

• Cattle, sheep or hogs not kept on a bona fide farm.

• More than six pets (any combination of dogs, cats, etc.) kept without a permit.

• A dog living on a chain that is not at least 15 feet long.

If you have a concern about an animal within the city limits, call the Asheville Police Department’s nonemergency number (252-1110). If you have questions, visit the city’s Web page at or call Animal Services at 259-5872. The agency also makes presentations to school and community groups on responsible pet ownership and dog-bite prevention.

Animal Services tries to educate and encourage city residents to comply with the Animal Control Ordinance and help them avoid fines and needless impoundment of their pets. Citations cost $50 per violation for the first offense. Unaltered-pet citations cost $200 per violation.


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One thought on “The long leash of the law

  1. k. Gilliam

    A dog can not live on a chain in Asheville, that in itself is a violation. It can not be on a chain unless the owner is with it. There is also a law that any dog considered to be of a dangerous breed will be on a leash at all times .I called and asked. Also if your dog is not on a leash and mine is and your dog comes up to mine and mine attacks it, it is on you. Your dog must be on a leash unless it is on your property. If it leaves your property and comes up to a dog and that dog attacks it the medical is yours. I asked the people at the humane society as I have had more than one dog run up to mine unsupervised

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