The Town of Oak Island's Animal Control officers are responsible for enforcing all North Carolina State Animal Control Laws and regulating and controlling dogs, cats, and other animals within the Town limits. Animal Control officers investigate and, when necessary, prosecute animal cruelty cases. They capture and dispose of sick animals, including some wildlife and observe animals kept under quarantine when rabies is suspected.
All dogs living in Town must be registered with the Town of Oak Island. There is no fee for registration, but dog owners must provide proof of rabies vaccination to get a dog tag. Registration is important so Town staff can easily and quickly return a wayward dog to its owner, avoiding a possible overnight stay in the Town's animal shelter in Airport Road and overnight impound fees.
Dogs are allowed off leash on the beach at limited times and under certain conditions:
Sec. 4-46. - Unrestrained dogs.
(a) It shall be the duty of the owner of the dog to be responsible for the dog on the premises of the owner. If any dog leaves the premises of the owner without a leash, it shall be deemed to be running at large. If any dog found at large cannot be safely taken up and impounded, any necessary action may be taken by the duly sworn officer. If any dog is found unrestrained, the dog's owner shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
(b) Subject to section 4-49, when signs are placed, erected or installed at public beach accesses giving notice thereof dogs may be on the beach from October 15 to March 15 from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. without a leash under the following conditions:
- Dog(s) shall not be left unattended;
- Dog(s) must be under visual and voice control at all times;
- Do not allow dog(s) to visit with other beach-goers or dogs without permission;
- If a dog exhibits aggression toward other dogs or beach-goers, the owner must put the dog on a leash and remove the dog from the beach immediately;
- Owners shall be solely responsible for any injury or damage caused by their dog(s); and
- Owners shall properly and promptly remove and dispose of all feces left by their dog(s).
If any dog is found unrestrained in violation of this subsection, the dog's owner shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and will be fined $75.00 per offense or criminally charged.
(c) It shall be unlawful for any dangerous or vicious dog, or dangerous animal to be kept, harbored, or otherwise maintained within the town without being restrained in accordance with the definition of restraint as spelled out in section 4-49. If any dangerous or vicious dog, or dangerous animal is found unrestrained, the owner shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.