Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the most frequently asked questions regarding calls for service that go beyond the main list above.

I need to rehome my pets. What do I do?

First, have you tried every other option for finding your pet a new home like friends, family, co-workers, etc.? Have you contacted local Rescue Groups? Leave us as your final resort to surrendering. If you've tried these options and really need to surrender your pet head over to the Owner Surrenders page for details on what you need to do before surrendering your pet to us.

Second, never leave your pets abandoned at any animal business. Pet owners always feel that if they leave their pets at these locations they will be brought in and found a new home. These businesses cannot do this legally. When an animal is left at any of these locations they are required, by law, to have an ACC  Officer respond to their address and pick up that animal as a stray/abandoned. We will then hold on to them for 72 hours which is a great disservice to your pet.

If you've tried everything to rehome your pet, then please bring them to the shelter. We might be able to find them a new home within 24 hours rather than having them wait for 3 days in our stray kennels.

I found a dog in a yard with no food, water, or shelter. What can I do to report this?

Although food is not required to be left out 24/7, water and shelter are required at all times that the dog is outside. If a dog is not tethered properly according to the law, or a dog is seen without water and shelter, you can call 311 or 704-336-7600 and give the city representatives the address of where the dog is located. An officer will respond to investigate.

Also, dogs that are confined in kennels are not required to be walked on a regular basis. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg ordinance only requires the basic necessities for a dog in a kennel: water and proper shelter.

An animal has been left inside or outside of an apartment/house/condo/townhome and the owners appear to have moved out/been evicted. What should I do?

You can call 311 or 704-336-7600 to report this but understand that officers cannot go into the home unless the owner has been legally evicted.

If an animal has been left inside a home and there's no evidence of abandonment (ex: water shut off, no electricity, mail piled in the box, etc.) then officers are required to leave a 24 hour letter for the owner to contact them. If no contact is made, then the officer can legally remove the animal from the residence.

If an owner has been legally evicted the sheriff or apartment manager will contact us, provide proof of eviction, and let the officer into the home to pick up the animal.

If I call 311 requesting an officer respond to a concern or complaint, how long should I expect for them to arrive?

Charlotte Mecklenburg Animal Services Officers respond to calls throughout Mecklenburg County, Mint Hill and the City of Charlotte. ACC  has inter-local agreements with the towns of Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson, Matthews, and Pineville. CMAS provides services to these towns at the request of their individual police departments. ACC  uses a priority system to determine their field responses.

  • Priority 6: Emergency situation and officer should respond within 30 minutes. Can include the following calls:
    • Life threatening injuries (animals hit by cars), an animal that is severely wounded or dying, an animal in severe distress (ex: locked in a hot car), rabies exposure (ex: bat in a house), animal aggression or attack in progress, assisting other agencies (fire, medic, CMPD, or sheriff), farm animals in the road (horses or cows), animal fighting in progress, and stray animal running around at a school or daycare.
  • Priority 7: Officer should respond within 4 hours.
    Can include the following calls:
    • Confined wild animal (a squirrel in a home), confined stray companion animal, animal in a trap, animal safety concern or dog fighting concern, farm animals running loose, animal evictions or abandonments, animal cruelty, animal bites, stray dog running loose, and animal aggression or attack reports only.
  • Priority 8: Officer should respond within 8-10 hours.
    Can include the following calls:
    • Barking/noise, defecation, feline nuisance, and odor.

NOTE: If you run in to any of the above situations, DO NOT contact ACC  through social media or email as these sites are not consistently monitored to respond in a timely manner. You MUST make a call for service by calling 311 or 704-336-7600, in life or death emergencies, 911. This is how we track our calls and respond in a timely manner.

I've found an injured animal. What do I do?

If you've found an injured animal, call 311 or 704-336-7600 right away to have an officer come out to pick it up. Do NOT try to help the animal yourself as you are risking being bit and exposing yourself to the rabies virus and other diseases. Do NOT try to contact AC&C through social media or email as these sites are not consistently monitored to respond in a timely manner.

I found a dog (or other pet) inside of a car. It's extremely hot/extremely cold. Can I break the window to get the dog out?

NO! Unless that dog is in extreme distress (unable to lift their head, panting, foaming at the mouth, etc.) you cannot break the window on your own. You MUST call 311 or 911 for an officer to respond. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officers have the ability and legal right to break into the car to get to that dog. If you break the window you could be sued by the owner, regardless of the circumstances.

There are animals in my attic/crawl space and we need to get them out. Can an officer remove them?

No. Officers are not authorized to enter crawl spaces, attics, or go under sheds unless there is an immediate threat or an animal that is in extreme danger. ACC  Officers also do not climb trees to rescue cats.

If a cat is in a tree, place food at the base of the tree and wait at least 24 hours before taking the next step. The fire department might respond to get the cat out of the tree after 24 hours so contact your local fire department to see if they can help.

If there is an animal in a crawl space, attic or under a shed, you can set a trap to capture them. If it is a wild animal in either of these locations be sure to have a permit. You can find out more at NC Wildlife.

There's an animal in a storm drain. Can you help?

Generally speaking, animals that are roaming around in storm drains found their way in and will be able to find their way out. However, certain animals in storm drains may not be able to get back out (such as kittens or baby ducks). There are also injured animals that might be found in that storm drain. If there is an animal that is too young, sick, or injured to find its way out on its own, you can call 311 or 704-336-7600 for an officer to respond. Otherwise, please wait 24 hours before calling.

I have to call AC&C to report an issue/concern during the times 311 is closed. What do I do?

Go to the 311 page to get the new operating schedule.

If it is in the case of an emergency you CAN call 911. Examples: animal severely injured, near death, hit by car, aggression, etc.

If it is in a case where you see a concern that is NOT an emergency, STILL CALL 311 and it will direct you to the Non-Emergency Police Services, a live person will answer, and they will create a call for service. Examples: leash law, stray animals, no shelter/water, etc.

If there is a concern that is not an issue that needs immediate attention try to wait and call during 311 operating hours. Examples: check on rabies/license, nuisance complaints such as odors/feral cats/owners not picking up feces, etc.