(cell) 910-477-1486 | (office) 910-457-7957


  • I’d like to welcome you to the Animal Protective Services Department. Southport is a very pet-friendly city, and we take pride in our reputation for strong animal welfare initiatives and community resources. In addition to household pets, Southport’s beautiful waterfront brings a diverse variety of wildlife to our city. My calls for service can be unique, and I strive to help any animal in need. My focus is to educate both residents and visitors on local animal ordinances to ensure their pets remain safe and are humanely treated. If you have any questions or concerns regarding animals, please contact me and I will do my best to assist you.

Kate Marshall, Animal Protective Services

Mission Statement

  • 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 southport.docupet.com
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 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.


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 southport.docupet.com, 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.

Have you started your holiday shopping list yet? Get a head start with a DocuPet designer tag for your furry pal! Until December 15th, you can get any tag from DocuPet’s “Happy Howlidays” collection for only $5. Remember, your pet’s designer tag doubles as their official City of Southport license! 




Donate pet food at Indian Trail Meeting Hall!
Located at 113 W Moore St, Southport, NC 28461


I was bitten by a dog/cat/ferret. What happens now?

  1. All dog/cat/ferret bites that are treated at a Healthcare Facility are required by NC law to be reported to the local Health Department, Animal Protective Services or Law Enforcement.
  2. An attempt will be made to locate the animal that bit you. If the animal can be located, the rabies status of the animal will be determined, and a mandatory 10-day quarantine period will begin (regardless of the rabies status).
  3. Health Department guidelines will determine where the animal will be quarantined.
  4. After the 10-day quarantine period, you will be contacted with the status of the animal.
  5. Always be sure to follow your physicians’ instructions and the recommendations of the local Health Department.

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.

My pet bit someone. What happens now?

  1. All dog/cat/ferret bites that are treated at a Healthcare Facility are required by NC law to be reported to the local Health Department, Animal Protective Services, or Law Enforcement.
  2. If your animal has been identified as the animal that caused the bite, you will need to provide proof of current Rabies vaccination.

North Carolina rabies law requires that all owned dogs, cats, and ferrets must be vaccinated against rabies by four months of age (NCGS 130A-185)

  1. A mandatory 10-day quarantine period will begin (regardless of the rabies status).
  2. Health Department guidelines will determine where your animal will be quarantined. If it is current on the Rabies vaccine, a home quarantine can be considered if all requirements are met. If it is not current, you will be required to board your pet at a Veterinary Facility that can accommodate a quarantine, or it will be transported to the Brunswick County APS. All charges for the 10-day quarantine period will be at the owner’s expense.
  3. After the 10-day quarantine period, the animal’s health will be evaluated, and you will be contacted with the status of the animal.
  4. Citations may be issued for any violations that occurred.


Wildlife Questions & Concerns

Animal Protective Services will respond to Wildlife calls for service and follows NC Wildlife Resources Commission guidelines for interacting with local wildlife.

Human-wildlife interactions are becoming more common with the rise of human populations and development of natural areas. There are many techniques that humans can utilize on their property to maintain positive interactions with wildlife. The information below provides general techniques and preventative measures for N.C. residents to prevent and alleviate issues with wildlife. Keep in mind that wild animals are in search of food, water, shelter and safety. Eliminating these needs on your property can greatly reduce wildlife problems.

Do not feed wildlife

Feeding wildlife can cause animals to lose their fear of people and become accustomed to human presence. This can lead to animals becoming aggressive and can increase the spread of wildlife diseases. Additionally, human food is not healthy for wild animals, and they do not need food from humans to survive.

NC Wildlife Resources Commission: Preventing Wildlife Conflicts (ncwildlife.org) or Call 866-318-2401. The Wildlife Helpline is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Found a Bird that Needs Help? Visit Sea Biscuit Wildlife Shelter or Call Sea Biscuit Wildlife Shelter’s injured/sick bird line at (910) 294-2555.


  1. Who picks up dead animals?
    Property owners are responsible for disposing of dead animals on their property. The animal can be buried or left to decompose naturally. The City of Southport Public Works department may remove dead animals on city-maintained roadways if it is causing traffic concerns.
  2. If a wild animal is out during the day. Does it have rabies?
    NO. Simply seeing an animal out during the day does not mean it has rabies. Some animals in urban/suburban locations will come out during the day due to the lack of threats posed by people and the abundance of food available. However, if the animal shows signs of rabies- such as aggression, stumbling, unresponsiveness, or foaming at the mouth- call the APS department.
  3. Will APS or NC Wildlife Resource Commission remove a wild animal from my yard or neighborhood?
    APS and NC WRC do not provide any trapping or wildlife removal services. If the animal is causing property damage, you should contact a Wildlife Control Agent. Wildlife Control Agents are trained professionals that can assess the problem and obtain a Wildlife Depredation Permit if warranted.
  4. Can I trap animals on my property?
    NO. The Animal Welfare Ordinance Sec. 3-4. – Permit required—Unlawful to trap animals does not allow trapping without a permit.
  5. What should I do if I find injured wildlife?
    Animals will often be more aggressive if they are injured. Be extremely cautious when approaching any potentially injured wildlife. If an injured animal is found, please call APS for assistance.
  6. I found a baby animal, what should I do?
    If you have found a juvenile animal by itself, it is very important to first determine whether it truly is orphaned. Many animals will be left alone during the day so that predators are not alerted to their presence. If the animal does not have any visible wounds and appears active and alert, chances are it is not truly orphaned, and the parents are close by keeping an eye on things. It is always best to leave the animal alone. If it is still there in 24 hours, call APS for assistance.
  7. If I touch a baby bird will the mother abandon it?
    Birds do not readily abandon nests because they “smell humans”. However, if a nest is repeatedly disturbed by humans (especially before the eggs hatch) a mother bird may choose to abandon the nest if she believes the area is no longer safe. If you find a young bird on the ground that is featherless or fuzzy and has closed eyes, try to locate the nest and gently place the bird back inside the nest. If the bird has feathers, has open eyes, and appears alert it has likely fledged the nest and is being cared for by its parents on the ground.


Southport City Hall, 1029 N Howe St, Southport, NC 28461

(cell) 910-477-1486 | (office) 910-457-7957

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