Reporting Strays, Abuse & Neglect

Our animal shelter 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. Please contact the agencies below for assistance. 

Wandering animals in the county: City of Kinston requires 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, become lost or injured/killed, produce unwanted litters if not altered, etc. It's much better if county citizens 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 that county's animal control department or law enforcement agency. 

  • 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 business hours: Call Lenoir County Health Department at 252-526-4200 & follow prompts for animal control

    • Emergencies after hours: Call Lenoir County Sheriff's office- 252-559-6100 


Frequently Asked Questions:

1.  What is animal abuse or neglect? Animal abuse/neglect occurs when someone intentionally injures or harms an animal or when an animal is deprived of food, water or medical care. Some signs that may indicate abuse or neglect:

  • Tick or flea infestations

  • Wounds, patches of missing hair

  • Extremely thin, hungry animal

  • Animal not receiving needed vet care

  • A person hitting or otherwise physically abusing an animal

  • Dogs who are repeatedly left alone without food and water

  • Dogs tethered outside without adequate shelter

  • Animals who cower in fear or act aggressively when approached by their owners

  • Evidence of intentional dog fighting

2.  What if I think an animal is being abused or neglected but I'm not sure...Will the person get in trouble if I make a report anyway? Not usually, unless there is a serious issue. Even if an officer investigates 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.

3.  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.

  • The correct address or accurate directions to find 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 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. 

4.  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.  

5.  If I report animal cruelty/neglect, 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. Animal control officers do not want to remove an animal from a home unless necessary. 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.

6.  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. 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 oryou 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.