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VERIFY: No, there are no NC state laws against chaining dogs

Local governments like Mecklenburg County, regulate tethering laws. However, there are no state laws against tethering animals.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Last week, a new law took effect in Texas that will enforce penalties for people who regularly tie-up or chain their dogs outside. 

The law, which has been supported by animal rights groups, got many people wondering if North Carolina has a similar law. 


Are there state laws against tethering in North Carolina?

Our sources


No, there are no state laws against tethering in North Carolina but local governments can, and do, regulate the practice.

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There is no state law against tethering in North Carolina. However, local municipalities can create their own laws.

“They are not illegal, you can use them," Knicely said. "But if you use them, you have to follow a certain amount of rules.”

In Charlotte, a local ordinance states dogs may be tethered to a stationary object only if certain conditions are met.

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“A tether should be a minimum of 10 feet in length and shall be made of either metal chain or a coated steel cable and the tether shall be equipped with a swivel on both ends," Knicely said. 

Some other requirements:

  • the dog must be 4 months old, or older and only one dog is allowed to be attached to a single tether. 
  • The ordinance also states under no circumstances shall the tether be placed directly around a dog's neck.
  • The tether must always allow the dog a reasonable and unobstructed range of motion without the possibility of entanglement, strangulation or other injuries.

“What you don't want to do is wrap it around a tree and then put the dog onto it, because what's gonna happen is the dogs just going to go around the tree and around the tree and then be tangled,” Knicely said. 

The tether must also allow the dog access to adequate food, water, and shelter.

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

WCNC Charlotte is part of seven major media companies and other local institutions producing I Can’t Afford to Live Here, a collaborative reporting project focused on solutions to the affordable housing crisis in Charlotte. It is a project of the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative, which is supported by the Local Media Project, an initiative launched by the Solutions Journalism Network with support from the Knight Foundation to strengthen and reinvigorate local media ecosystems. See all of our reporting at charlottejournalism.org.