Animal Care & Enforcement

Gaston County Animal Care and Enforcement was established to provide for the health and safety of citizens and protect them from animals and the threat of animals. The mission of Animal Care and Enforcement is not only to enhance the safety of citizens, but also to ensure the proper care and treatment of animals. This is accomplished through animal-related services which reflect our professionalism and a concern for responsible pet ownership. Animal Care and Enforcement became a Division of the County Police Department on September 18, 1995.

Gaston County Animal Care and Enforcement Division was established in 1972 to enforce animal related North Carolina General Statutes and Gaston County Ordinances. Animal Care and Enforcement impounds and cares for stray, diseased, injured, and unwanted animals at the Animal Shelter. The animals are properly housed and cared for until owners either reclaim their pet, the animal is placed with a new owner through the Adoption-Medical Program, or until such designated time.

In addition to these duties, our department is responsible for the field operation, consisting of both sworn and non-sworn personnel, to investigate animal related complaints including nuisance, leash laws, animals on school grounds, rabies suspects, and reported cases of cruelty, abuse and neglect.

Required Responsibilities of Animal Ownership

Responsible animal ownership requires knowledge of animal-related laws and ordinances. If you are new to the area or to animal ownership, please read the following information:

Reclaiming Your Animal

If your family pet has been taken into the shelter, you may reclaim your pet. You must provide proof of ownership, such as veterinarian records, proof of rabies vaccination and payment of fines for violations of County ordinances and/or NC General Statutes are required to reclaim an animal. A list of fees and fines can be found on our website.

Rabies Prevention Tips

Animal Care and Enforcement also conducts, promotes, and sponsors educational and training seminars, sometimes through Gaston College, held at the college, the Agricultural Center, various schools and civic buildings, and the shelter itself. These workshops have been attended by personnel nationwide and the Gaston County Animal Care and Enforcement program has been recognized nationally by the National Association of Counties as being one of the best in the state.

Gaston County Animal Care and Enforcement uses lethal injection as the preferred method of euthanasia.