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Summary of Key Ordinances:
The following summary briefly describes some of the most popular issues regulated by the Town’s Code of Ordinances.   It is provided as a quick reference and not a complete statement of all nuances and details of the ordinance.  In situations where the summary is unclear, incomplete, or fails to address a specific issue, the complete Code of Ordinances on record at Town Hall will be considered the governing document. For additional information regarding the animal control ordinance, call the Police Department at (828) 287-3520; for other ordinances,  call the Code Enforcement / Zoning Administrator at (828) 287-3520.

Animal Control Ordinance 
Animals shall be under sufficient physical restraint (leash, cage, fence, etc) at all times.  An animal is exempt from being under physical restraint if a responsible adult (18 years old or older) is physically outdoors and directly adjacent to the animal on the land where the owner of the animal resides, and the animal is obedient to that person’s commands.   (Section 8-2031).  First offense is a $50 fine; second offense - $75; third offense - $150 and animal must be placed continually in a proper enclosure); fourth offense $150 and seizure of the animal.

An animal is considered to be a public nuisance even if it is properly restrained if it has dangerous or destructive propensities; habitual barking or other noisemaking; or interferes with the use of public streets, sidewalks, or other public areas. (Section 8-2022).

Animals in heat shall be confined in an enclosure that will not allow the animal to come in contact with or attract other animals (Section 8-2015).

Animals over four months old shall be vaccinated against rabies and wear a collar with a vaccination tag and the owner’s name and address are displayed.  $50 fine.

To report violations:
Call the Rutherfordton Police Department at 828-287-3520 if any of the following conditions exist:

  • An animal is unrestrained and running at large and the owner is known.
  • An animal is destroying property or exhibiting dangerous behavior (such as injuring another animal).
  • An animal is interfering with the use of public streets, sidewalks, or other public areas or exhibits other nuisance type behavior such as habitual barking.
  • Cruelty to an animal is suspected or an animal has been abandoned.
  • An animal is injured, wounded, or diseased and suffering (after hours call 911).
  • An individual is bitten by an animal (after hours call 911). 

Ordinances are applicable ONLY to domesticated animals. For problems involving a wild animal, please contact North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Enforcement Division at 919-707-0030.

Noise Ordinance
It is unlawful for person or persons to make, permit, continue, or cause to be made any unreasonably loud and disturbing noises inside the Town limits, particularly between the hours of 11 pm and 7 am.  A list of acts (although not an all-inclusive list) is included in the complete text of the ordinance.  To view the complete ordinance, click here (link to noise ordinance).

Swimming Pool Enclosures
In-ground swimming pools constructed after May 4, 2004 are required to be surrounded by a barrier at least 48 inches high.  In-ground pools are defined as having 75% of the intended water impoundment below the surface level of the ground on all sides of the structure.  This does not apply to structures less than 24 inches deep and a water service area of 200 square feet or less, above-ground pools, hot tubs, or spas. To view the complete ordinance, click here (link to swimming pool ordinance).  For additional information or zoning inspection, call the Code Enforcement / Zoning Administrator at 828-287-3520.

Sidewalk Ordinance
No structures, merchandise, equipment, or other objects of any kind may be placed on or upon public sidewalks except as specifically permitted by the town as set forth in a duly executed encroachment agreement.  Encroachment agreements must be approved by the Town Manager and are only granted for the beautification of the town or for the reasonable benefit and use of pedestrians and if the encroachment can be allowed without detriment to the health, safety, and welfare of the general public.  Awnings, overhangs, and signage are also subject to this ordinance.   No person shall ride or operate a bicycle, skateboard, scooter, skates, or similar apparatus upon the sidewalks within the central business district and on the sidewalk on Charlotte Rd between 221 S. and highway 74.  To view the entire ordinance, click here (link to sidewalk ordinance)

Sign Ordinance
The Town’s sign ordinance specifies the number, types, sizes, heights, and locations of signs which are permitted within different areas of the Town.  There are regulations that cover permanent signs for businesses as well as temporary signs for special events.  To view the complete ordinance, click here (link to sign ordinance).  The Zoning Administrator must issue a permit for a sign before it can be erected.