Pick it up, it's the Law!

Starting September 14, 2016 dog owners who do not clean-up after their animals can be fined $50-$150. This law applies to any public property, public right-of-way or private property without the permission of a private property owner.

This ordinance does not apply to a guide dog, service dog or hearing dog accompanying any person with a disability.

Why should I clean up my dog’s waste?

Having a dog is both a pleasure and a responsibility. Not only do dog owners have a responsibility for the care, feeding and general welfare of their dogs, they have a responsibility for protecting their community as well. That responsibility includes proper disposal of dog waste. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers dog waste a pollutant of water bodies and it is most often introduced into receiving waters by way of storm water runoff. Everyone must do their part to protect the quality of our storm water runoff. 

Dog waste left on the ground increases exposure of you, your neighbors, and our community to bacteria, viruses and parasites.  Those particularly at risk are other pets and children who play outside. Some of these bacteria, viruses and parasites are:

  • Fecal coliform - bacteria;
  • Salmonella - bacteria;
  • Hookworms, roundworms & tapeworms - parasites; and,
  • Toxoplasma gondii - virus.

What should I do?

  • Put dog waste in a plastic bag, seal it, and throw it in the garbage!

What if dog waste isn’t picked up?

It’s bad for your health, our waterways, and potentially your pocketbook! There are laws in Durham County to protect our health and our environment which require dog waste to be picked up and disposed of properly.

FAQ's About the New Law

When does the new ordinance go into effect?

The new ordinance was passed by the Board of County Commissioners on March 7, 2016.  The Board declared an educational period until September 14, 2016, at which time enforcement may begin on this ordinance.

Who can enforce this new ordinance?

As this ordinance is a non-criminal offense, the only enforcement action can be administered by the Durham County Sheriff’s Office.

What are the fines associated with this ordinance?

The fines will fall within the guidelines established under Article I, Sec. 4-9 which are as follows:

  1. A civil penalty of $50.00 shall be assessed for the first violation.
  2. A civil penalty of $100.00 shall be assessed for the second violation.
  3. A civil penalty of $150.00 shall be assess for habitual violations.

Who do I call to report a violation of this ordinance?

Call the Durham County Sheriff’s Office Communications Center at 919-560-0900.

What is the criteria needed to prove a violation of this ordinance?

The determination of whether there’s a violation of the ordinance is at the discretion of the deputy who responds to the call for service. The decision of whether a violation has occurred, and whether there is sufficient evidence to identity the responsible party is determined on a case-by-case basis following an evaluation of all of the facts available.

What options do I have to refute a civil penalty?

A civil penalty can only be appealed during the process for collecting it.

Where do you pay a civil penalty?

There are two options for paying a civil penalty:

  1. You can pay the civil penalty to Durham County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services Division located at 3005 Glenn Road, Durham, NC 27704
  2. Or you can go to the Durham County Tax Collector located at 200 East Main Street, Durham, NC 27701.


Watch our video to learn more about the new ordinance:


For more information, please contact the County Manager's Office at (919) 560-0000


Related Links

Click Here to Read the Ordinance  (Sec. 4-140. - Removal of Canine Waste)


Congratulations to Siri Oehler! She is the winner of our Canine Waste Student Artwork Contest!