Many North Carolinians have a special love for animals.
Domestic animals are often considered to be members of our families and management of our wildlife is essential to our environment. This session, my colleagues and I passed several new laws to protect the animals we love and those that we need.
Thank you as always for the chance to share this information with you. Please let me know if I can assist you in any way.
Pet owners must now show proof of rabies vaccinations before the animals can be spayed or neutered through the state’s Spay and Neuter Program. The program provides money to counties to help defray the costs of spaying and neutering. The program will receive an additional 20 cents for each rabies vaccination tag sold to help support the costs. The new law (SB 684) is expected to help increase rabies vaccination rates and reduce pet owners’ costs for spaying and neutering.
We passed a new law (SB 1424) to allow earthdog trials provided that dogs are not harmed and the event is sanctioned or sponsored by entities approved by the Commissioner of Agriculture. Earthdog trials test dachshunds’ and small terriers’ working abilities and instincts. Earthdog trials in the United States may be sanctioned by the American Kennel Club and the American Working Terrier Association.
A new law (SB 21) exempts certain working dogs from the dog fighting and baiting law. The law does not apply to herding dogs working domesticated livestock for agricultural, entertainment or sporting purposes. It is a felony to take part in dog fighting or baiting.
Lawmakers passed a bill (HB 995) that increases the penalty for maliciously killing or starving animals to an A1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 150 days in jail.
Wildlife Resources Management
We made several changes to the state’s wildlife management laws. One of them (SB 1464) gives the Wildlife Resources Commission authority to adopt rules governing the use of emergency powers by the commission’s executive director. These emergency powers may be used to respond to a wildlife disease that threatens irreparable injury to wildlife or the public.
A new law (SB 50) directs the Wildlife Resources Commission to study the potential for agreements with other states to honor hunting and fishing licenses for the disabled.
Bears can no longer be baited with processed or modified food, including sugary products, in any area where the Wildlife Resources Commission has established an open season for taking black bear. The new law (SB 1246) does not apply to feeding livestock, domestic animals or birds.
We established a Mountain Heritage Trout Waters 3-Day Fishing License. Mountain heritage trout waters are waters that have been classified as public mountain trout waters by the Wildlife Resources Commission and run through or are adjacent to a city. The license established by the law (SB1303) will cost $10 and license holders are not required to hold a hook-and-line license.
Please remember that you can visit the General Assembly’s website to look up bills, view lawmaker biographies and access other information.
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Kay, Phillip, Matthew and I wish for you and your family a Merry Christmas and a New Year filled with peace, hope and happiness.
As I’ve said many times before, I hope you will continue to let me know how you feel about the issues that are being debated by the North Carolina Legislature and the challenges you and your family are facing each day.
By working together, we can make Northampton, Vance and Warren Counties and all regions of North Carolina a better place to live, work and raise a family.