Change to Charlotte pet owner law could help crowded animal shelters

Owners now have only 10 days to appeal having their pet taken following their seizure.
The new ordinance was passed at a time when shelters across the area have reached capacity.
Published: Dec. 4, 2022 at 9:29 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A city council vote to change an ordinance concerning pet owners may help animal shelters at capacity.

If an animal needs to be taken away from an owner because of neglect or abuse, an owner could previously appeal the decision within 30 days. This would leave the pet at the shelter for up to a month.

On Monday, Charlotte City Council voted to reduce that time to only 10 days.

It’s a move CMPD Animal Care & Control director Dr. Joshua Fisher said could help free up room in the shelter and improve the quality of their care.

“If somebody is going to appeal, we’re going to know they’re going to appeal and they’re going to be moving forward with that process within 10 days,” Fisher said. “If they’re not going to appeal, then why are we waiting a full month? Why are we having this animal languish in a kennel for a full month? And now, we’re not.”

With capacity being a growing problem at the shelter, and a euthanasia rate at 20% of animals that come in, Dr. Fisher said this could be a step in the right direction.

While Fisher says the change will only affect about 2% of their animals, he notes it will improve mental health for pets and staff.

In the future, Fisher added they are considering even bigger changes to deal with the problem of capacity.

Mainly, they’re in the early planning stages of a potential renovation or expansion that would let them house several more animals and alleviate the current pressure they’re feeling.

Related: Time reduced for petition to return seized animals in Charlotte