Breaking News
More () »

NC Shelters allow for 3 days minimum to allow people to claim their pets until they adopt them out

If your pet does get lost, she says to call them right away and report your animal lost.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Right now, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Care and Control is currently housing 175 dogs and 67 cats. The shelter is trying to get those animals adopted out. But what happens if you lost your dog or cat and now it's in the shelter? 

How much time do you have until you must claim your pet? 



"Here in North Carolina, there is a legal amount of hold time that we must hold stray dogs," Knicely said. 

According to that law, shelters in North Carolina have a minimum hold time of three days. 

"If an animal comes in and we do not have any identification on the dog, there is no collar tag, there is no microchip, we must hold that dog as a stray for 72 hours," Knicely said. 

For the latest breaking news, weather and traffic alerts, download the WCNC Charlotte mobile app.

Knicely tells WCNC that after those three days, CMPD Animal Care and Control can then begin putting the dog up for adoption. 

"Say a person comes in and adopts the dog, and it goes to its new home, and the very next day, a person comes to look for their animal, but it's now been adopted and is with a new family," Knicely said.  "Legally it now becomes a civil suit with a person that claims to be the owner and the new person that adopted it from us." 

RELATED: A 19-year-old dog was surrendered at a Texas shelter. These best friends took her in

If your pet does get lost, she says to call them right away and report your animal lost. 

"Go to your shelter in person and look through the kennels," Knicely said. 

If your dog or cat is on their website and you let them know, they can hold the animal for an additional ten days. 

You can stream WCNC Charlotte on Roku and Amazon Fire TV, just download the free app.

"We put a memo on that dog, and we put a hold on it, and it is a 10-day hold, so we give them ten more days to come and pick up that dog. Some come right away, some," Knicely said. 

When it comes to animals that are new arrivals, Knicely tells us the three-day minimum hold is there to continue to keep dogs and cats moving through the shelter. 

RELATED: ‘Stray to Foster’ aims at finding foster parents for stray animals

"Imagine if there was a ten-day hold on 250 dogs. We would be so full we wouldn't be able to bring any more dogs coming in," Knicely said. 

That's why it's important to have your pets microchipped or wearing a collar with owner information. That way, they can call you and hopefully reunite you with your lost dog. 

Contact Meghan Bragg at mbragg@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

VERIFY is dedicated to helping the public distinguish between true and false information. The VERIFY team, with help from questions submitted by the audience, tracks the spread of stories or claims that need clarification or correction. Have something you want VERIFIED? Text us at 704-329-3600 or visit VERIFY. 

Before You Leave, Check This Out