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State Pet Shop Laws: North Carolina

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  • Adequate feed: the provision at intervals not to exceed 24 hours of a quantity of wholesome food suitable for the species and age, sufficient to maintain a reasonable level of nutrition in each animal. Must be served in a sanitized dish. (N.C. GEN. STAT. § 19A-23)
  • Adequate water: constant access to a supply of clean, fresh, potable water provided in a sanitary manner or provided at intervals not to exceed 24 hours. (N.C. GEN. STAT. § 19A-23)
  • Animal: domestic dog or cat. (N.C. GEN. STAT. § 19A-23)
  • Pet shop: a person or establishment that acquires for the purposes of resale animals bred by others whether as owner, agent, or on consignment, and that sells or trades such animals to the general public at retail or wholesale. (N.C. GEN. STAT. § 19A-23)

Vet Care:

  • N/A


  • N/A

Lemon Laws:

  • N/A

Food and Water:

  • Pet shops must “adequately” feed and water animals in their custody. (Penalty: class 3 misdemeanor, seizure of animals, max $5,000 civil fine, and license revocation) (N.C. GEN. STAT. § 19A-35, N.C. GEN. STAT. § 19A-40, N.C. GEN. STAT. § 19A-30, N.C. GEN. STAT. § 19A-23)

Sanitary Conditions:

  • N/A

Unweaned Animals:

  • Prohibits anyone from selling rabbits or fowl under 8 weeks old as pets. Exception: hatcheries. (Penalty: class 3 misdemeanor) (N.C. GEN. STAT. § 14-363.1)

Miscellaneous Provisions:

  • License required for pet shops. (Penalty: class 3 misdemeanor) (N.C. GEN. STAT. § 19A-27, N.C. GEN. STAT. § 19A-33, N.C. GEN. STAT. § 19A-30, N.C. GEN. STAT. § 19A-31)
  • Dealers of animals must be licensed. (N.C. GEN. STAT. § 19A-29)
  • Agriculture department has enforcement authority. (N.C. GEN. STAT. § 19A-24, N.C. GEN. STAT. § 19A-25)


  1. Where “adequate space” is not defined the state has not established a definition for the term.
  2. The definition of “animal” may actually be broadly written while the types of animals covered by the law (e.g., veterinary care, sanitation, food and water) may be more narrowly drafted.

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