Elizabeth City, NC - Running after a skateboarder or even the mailman may seem like typical dog behavior, but in Elizabeth City, chasing is a punishable offense. Under a new city ordinance, your dog chasing a jogger could be detained and labeled "potentially dangerous."
"It's really bad I think," one Elizabeth City woman says, who did not want to be named.
She agrees with the new law. Her neighbors, she says, walk in fear.
"A lot of people don't carry canes,” she explains. “They carry sticks in their hands just in case."
Unlike Pasquotank County, there is a leash law in Elizabeth City. However, the sheriff's office says the dog chasing got so bad that something needed to be done.
"There’s a lot of people that are not only walking, but people that jog or ride bicycles and they're being chased by dogs," says Lt. Travis Jackson.
Jackson says to get their dog back, owners have to appeal within 5 days. They then have to go in front of an animal control board and prove their dog is in fact not dangerous. If their appeal is denied, Jackson says there's still a chance, but only if owners comply with a laundry list of regulations.
"They would have to have special signage in their yard stating that they have a potentially dangerous dog, they have to have special insurance, they have to have a computer chip embedded into the animal, and fencing around their yards," he says.
Lt. Jackson says the law does not apply to dogs protecting their owners' property, only unprovoked chasing.
The SPCA of Northeastern North Carolina says they have 5 dogs locked up with the "potentially dangerous" label.