North Carolina Department of Justiceskip to main content
North Carolina Department of Justice
North Carolina Department of Justice
Submit this request


Report Animal Cruelty

Cruelty toward animals is illegal under North Carolina law. You can report animals experiencing physical harm under the care of an individual, pet shop, kennel or animal shelter to the North Carolina Attorney General’s Animal Welfare Hotline.
 
Under North Carolina law, acts of animal cruelty include:
  • Wounding,
  • Tormenting,
  • Killing,
  • Depriving an animal of necessary nourishment,
  • Or causing any of these things to occur to an animal.

 
Animal Welfare Hotline
The Animal Welfare Hotline was created by state law to take complaints about possible mistreatment of animals. You can:
Complaints against Public and Private Animal Shelters, Boarding Kennels, Pet Shops and Public Auctions should be directed to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

What happens with your complaint
Our office will review your complaint to determine if the allegations involve animal cruelty.  If our office determines that it is animal cruelty, then we will refer the complaint to the appropriate county authority in which the animal is located. Depending on the details of the complaint, your local animal control office, local Sheriff, or the NC Department of Agriculture may have the authority to take action. Please note that we are not able to process anonymous complaints.The Attorney General's Office Does Not investigate animal cruelty complaints. Complaints are referred to the proper county authority for investigation. Please direct follow-up questions to the county animal control or law enforcement agency.
 
How to contact local authorities
You are also welcome to share your animal cruelty concerns directly with your city or county animal control or Sheriff’s Office.

Watch Attorney General Josh Stein's video about animal cruelty and how to report it. 

Local Ordinances
You can view local ordinances at the following link: https://www.ncvaw.org/north-carolina-laws