Reporting Strays, Abuse & Neglect
Our SPCA is not part of Lenoir County Animal Control. We are a nonprofit agency and not authorized to investigate reports of animal abuse & neglect, nor are we authorized to go pick up stray animals.
City of Kinston has a leash law where owners should keep their pets safely on their property. However, Lenoir County has no leash law so pets are allowed to leave their yard and wander. During wandering, they can get into all sorts of trouble. They can cause traffic accidents or damage to vehicles, get into fights with other animals, get lost/injured/killed, produce unwanted litters (if not altered), damage neighbor's property, etc. It's much better if county citizens can keep their animals inside their homes or humanely on their property. Please contact us if you need ideas on how to keep your pets safely at home.
If you see any animal that appears lost, injured, hungry, sick, or otherwise in need of assistance, please report it immediately.
To Report Stray Animals or Suspected Animal Abuse/Neglect in Kinston or Lenoir County:
- Kinston City limits- Call 911 for emergencies, or the dispatch desk for non-emergencies: 252-559-6118
- Lenoir County (outside city limits):
- M-F during regular business hours: Lenoir County Health Department- follow the prompts to reach animal control: 252-526-4200
- Emergencies after hours: Call the Lenoir County Sheriff's office 252-559-6100
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is animal abuse or neglect? Animal abuse/neglect occurs when someone intentionally injures or harms an animal or when a person willfully deprives an animal of food, water or necessary medical care. Here are some signs that may indicate abuse or neglect:
- Tick or flea infestations
- Patches of missing hair
- Extremely thin, starving animal
- An owner hitting or otherwise physically abusing an animal
- Dogs who are repeatedly left alone without food and water, and often chained in a yard
- Animals who are not getting needed vet care
- Dogs who are kept outside without shelter in extreme weather conditions
- Animals who cower in fear or act aggressively when approached by their owners
- Evidence of intentional dog fighting
What if I think an animal is being abused or neglected but I'm not 100% sure...Will the person get in trouble if I make a report anyway? No, they will not. Many times the officer can talk to you and determine whether an investigation is needed. Even if an officer investigates a report of abuse/neglect and finds cause to remove an animal, it doesn't necessarily mean the owner will be charged with a crime or have to pay a fine.
What information should I give when I make a report of animal cruelty? A factual statement of what you observed—giving dates and approximate times whenever possible—to provide to the animal control officer:
- The correct address or correct directions to the location of the animal, and where the officer should look for the animal (behind the barn, in the house, etc.)
- Names and contact information of other people who have firsthand information about the abusive situation.
- Photos-If you have safely been able to obtain photos of the animal, you can ask the officer if you can forward them. Never put yourself at risk to obtain photos.
Can I remain anonymous when I file a complaint about animal cruelty? Yes, you can. However, it is better to give a phone number to the person taking the report so the officer can follow up with you if he/she has questions, can't locate the animal, etc. If you do not want to give your contact information, please clearly state to the person taking the report that you want to make an anonymous report.
If I file a report and give my contact information, can I be asked to testify if the person is charged with animal cruelty or neglect. Yes, you could be called as a witness if the person is charged with cruelty/neglect. However, this is an unlikely situation because individuals are rarely charged in Lenoir County.
If I report my suspicions that a neighbor is committing animal cruelty, and that person's animal is taken away and put in a shelter, isn't the animal worse off? Reporting cruelty is always the right thing to do. Because of the burden it places on the system, animal control officers do not want to remove an animal from a home unless necessary. If an animal is taken from his or her owner, there was a substantial problem. A seized animal will have the chance to get the help it needs. Also, you may have helped spare other animals in the household from the same abuse or neglect.
How should I follow up on my report of animal cruelty? When you report animal cruelty/neglect, it's fine to keep a record of which officer you spoke with and the date.This will make following up much easier if you need to do so later. If you provide your phone number, the officer may be able to call you with an update of the animal's status/disposition. If you have reasonable suspicion that an animal is being abused/neglected, and you have reported it to the animal control officer but nothing has changed about the animal's situation or you have new information that can help the officer, please call animal control to speak with the officer again.
(Adapted from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. www.aspca.org)