The City of Southport

Animal Protective Services & Code Enforcement

City of Southport Animal Protective Services and Code Enforcement is a combined position under the direct supervision of the City Manager.

Contact Us

Kate Marshall
Animal Protective Services
Code Enforcement
Cell: (910) 477-1486
Office: (910) 457-7957
[email protected]

Prevent Dog Bites

Dog Bite Prevention Week takes place during the second full week of April each year, and focuses on educating people about preventing dog bites.

Learn how to prevent bites in four simple steps.

Welcome to DocuPet Pet Licensing!

The City of Southport has partnered with DocuPet to provide an enhanced dog licensing experience. DocuPet specializes in creating and managing pet licensing programs. It’s our job to ensure that every dog in the community is licensed. Once compliant, our program offers additional value to guardians through our HomeSafe™ and Pet Perks Programs.

City of Southport pet tags can now be purchased online via the DocuPet Platform at, over the phone with a DocuPet customer service representative, via mailed in form, or in person at Southport City Hall.

Please click here for more information.

Other animal related resources:

Wildlife questions/concerns please contact:

Wild bird questions/concerns please contact:
Found a Bird that Needs Help?

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Animal Services & Latest News


Bird Sanctuary Islands

The two uninhabited islands we see from our water front looking towards Bald Head Island are Striking Island and Battery Island. Both small islands are part of the 19 Audubon bird sanctuary islands located along the NC coast. They are not recreation…

Is my pet at risk from the COVID-19 coronavirus?

Is my pet at risk from the COVID-19 coronavirus, or will my pet infect me? The CDC says that, at present, there is no evidence to suggest that dogs or cats will become a source of infection of COVID-19. Your pet is NOT A RISK to you and…

The Waffles Story

Original Facebook post on February 10th @ 9:37am Reshared on Missing/Found Pets Oak Island/Southport on February 10th 10:50am Anyone in Southport missing a cat? I think the Male cat may be between 8-10 years old and is visually impaired/blind.…

Coyotes as Neighbors

The Coyotes as Neighbors video right on the home page is full of factual information about coyote behavior and how humans should react to them. This information could be helpful to our citizens. It’s especially relevant to those who have dogs…

Animal Protective Services

    • The mission of Animal Protective Services is to promote an environment of responsible pet ownership by protecting the safety and welfare of Southport’s animals and citizens.
    • Animal Protective Services strives to provide quality service and education to all residents and visitors while ensuring the humane treatment of animals. We strive to foster an improved human-animal bond through progressive animal welfare initiatives, community outreach and humane education in a culture of compassion and integrity.

The Southport Animal Protective Services include:

  • Enforcing the City of Southport’s Animal Welfare Ordinance
  • Enforcing the State of North Carolina rabies laws
  • Investigating animal cruelty complaints
  • Investigating animal bites

Animal Protective Services can also provide education and classes to the public:

  • Dog Bite Prevention and Animal Safety Programs
  • Community Cat Programs
  • Responsible Pet Ownership Classes

Animal Protective Services provides information on Pet Safety:

  • Summer Safety for your pets
  • Golf cart safety
  • Hurricane checklists and disaster preparedness

Concerns/Questions/Complaints or to report Animal Cruelty:

Contact the Animal Protective Services Officer 910-477-1486

If you have an animal emergency or you need to report an injured animal, please call 911.
The appropriate authority will be contacted immediately.

FAQ’s City of Southport Animal Welfare Ordinances

1. Are my pets required to have vaccinations?
YES. All dogs, cats or ferrets over the age of four (4) months must be vaccinated against Rabies by a licensed Veterinarian or NC certified rabies vaccinator.

2. Are my pets required to be licensed in Southport?
YES. All dogs and cats within the city limits are required to be licensed annually. You can conveniently license your dog online at
Cost is: $15.00 altered $25.00 unaltered

3. Are dogs required to be on a leash?
YES. All dogs must always be under control using proper restraint. Voice commands do not count as under restraint. They are not allowed to run at-large on any street, sidewalk, beach area or park without a leash.

4. What local beaches allow dogs off-leash?
Southport beaches do not allow dogs off-leash at any time.
Oak Island beaches allow dogs off-leash between October 16 and March 15 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. where signage allows.

5. Can my dog ride in my golf cart?
YES. Dogs can ride in golf carts, however for the safety of your pet, it must be secured by a harness, leash or animal carrier to prevent it from falling, jumping or being thrown from the golf cart.

6. Can I tie my dog up outside all day?
NO. Tethering (tying) your dog outside can only be temporary in nature, and while you are home and within eyesight of your dog. You must provide water and protection from the elements while your dog is outside.

7. Can I leave my dog in the car while I shop, even if I crack open the windows?
NO. You should NEVER leave a dog alone in the car, even with the windows cracked. The inside of a vehicle parked in 70-degree weather can reach 100 degrees in just 20 minutes. On very hot days, temperatures inside parked cars can climb to 140 degrees Fahrenheit in less than one hour. Cracking a window changes these figures very little.

8. I found a stray dog, what should I do?
Contact Southport Animal Protective Services at 910-477-1486 or Southport Police Department at 910-457-7911 to report a stray dog. We will respond and attempt to locate the owners.

9. Do I have to pick up my dog’s waste when I walk my dog?
YES. Anytime your dog that defecates off your property it must be cleaned up immediately. Dog waste stations are located throughout the city for your convenience.

10. Are cats allowed to be outside in Southport?
YES. The City of Southport supports the Community Cat Program. A Community Cat is an outdoor cat that is abandoned, stray or feral and cared for by a community cat caregiver. This program also includes Trap/Neuter/Return, so these cats are spayed/neutered and vaccinated for Feline Distemper and Rabies. You may notice these cats have one ear “tipped” to identify them as being fixed.

Code Enforcement

  • The City of Southport believes the everyone should enjoy a safe and healthy environment to live in which enhances their quality of life.
  • Code Enforcement has the main responsibility of enforcing several divisions within the Southport General Code of Ordinances that promotes the general overall health and welfare of its residents, and to promote education for responsible citizenship.

Code Enforcement Officer can assist you with the following matters:

Chapter 9 – Health and Sanitation

  • Includes weed control/overgrown lots
  • Mosquito Control
  • Junk/nuisance vehicles
  • Chapter 15 – Solid Waste Violations
  • Bulk Items
  • Illegal dumping
  • All complaints must be made in writing so they may be investigated properly.
  • While many people think complaint can be handled with just one visit to the resident, please be aware that all complaints require due process, which may include registered mail and coordination with other departments.  These steps take time, so complaints may not be resolved quickly.

Health/Sanitation Division

The Southport Code of Ordinances addresses health and sanitation matters in chapter 9 of the city code. The Code Enforcement Officer has several programs that coincide with health and sanitation matters.

The Board of Alderman of the City of Southport has vested the code enforcement officer the authority to enforce this chapter. Health and Sanitation violations bring safety concerns to the community due to the inhabitation of mice, rats, snakes, or vermin of any kind which is dangerous to the public. The City wants everyone to have a safe environment to live in and to be free from unnecessary health and sanitation matters.

The Code Enforcement officer can assist you with the following matters pertaining to health and sanitation concerns:

  • Solid Waste Violations
  • Weed Control/Overgrown Lots
  • Abandon/Junked Motor Vehicles
  • Spring & Fall Clean-ups

Solid Waste Division

Section 15 of the Southport Code of Ordinances deals specifically with Solid Waste. The Code Enforcement Officer has enforcement rights of this code.

The City of Southport no longer picks up garbage or yard debris. A County wide contract is held with Waste Industries Inc. Any refuse placed in front of a residence will result in a citation with a fine. Arrangements must be made with Waste Industries Inc for special pickup of white goods, brown goods, or large amounts of yard debris.

Illegal dump sites in the City are being monitored by the Code Enforcement Officer and the Southport Police Department. Violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Any having any information in regards to illegal dumping or solid waste violations may call the code enforcement officer at (910) 477-1486 or 910-457-7935.

To arrange for special garbage pick up call:
Waste Industries Inc
1-(800) 814-4544