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shot dogPeople have a tendency to believe a rural and urban myth that shooting a loose animal on your property is okay. According to the Madison County Sheriff's Office this isn't true. Our pets can't speak for themselves, but there are laws in Madison County to keep them safe, and shooting an animal because it is on your property is more than a misdemeanor, it could be a felony. Animal cruelty is now a felony in all 50 states and Madison County Animal Services along with the Madison County

Sheriffs' Office define animal cruelty laws in the Animal Control Ordinance and the NC Cruelty to Animal Statutes. The purpose of the Ordinance is to make clear that animal cruelty is detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Madison County and the peace and dignity of Madison County; and it clearly defines and prohibits the cruel treatment, neglect and abuse of animals including but not limited to any domestic or feral cat or dog.

Cruelty, Cruel Treatment and Abuse: It shall be unlawful for any person to molest, torture, torment, deprive of necessary sustenance, cruelly beat or treat, needlessly mutilate or kill, wound, injure, poison, abandon or subject any animal to conditions detrimental to its health or general welfare or to procure any such actions to be inflicted upon any animal. These laws include every act, omission or neglect whereby unjustifiable physical pain, suffering or death is caused or permitted or attempted to be caused or permitted against animals, as well as acts or attempted acts of teasing, molesting, baiting or trapping of animals unlawfully.

The North Carolina Cruelty to Animals Statutes:

(a1)If any person shall maliciously kill, or cause or procure to be killed, any animal by intentional deprivation of necessary sustenance, that person shall be guilty of a Class H felony.

(b) If any person shall maliciously torture, mutilate, maim, cruelly beat, disfigure, poison, or kill, or cause or procure to be tortured, mutilated, maimed, cruelly beaten, disfigured, poisoned, or killed, any animal, every such offender shall for every such offense be guilty of a Class H felony.

(c)As used in this section, the words "torture", "torment", and "cruelly" include or refer to any act, omission, or neglect causing or permitting unjustifiable pain, suffering, or death. As used in this section, the word "intentionally" refers to an act committed knowingly and without justifiable excuse, while the word "maliciously" means an act committed intentionally and with malice or bad motive.

If you are aware of any instance of animal abuse, please call:

Madison County Sheriff's Department at 828-649-2721

Madison County Animal Shelter at 828-649-3190

Friends of Madison County Animals at 828-649-9798

For more information on Madison County Law, please go to: or visit and like their Facebook pages!