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Citizen Advocate Center

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world."® 
- Margaret Mead®

Everyday there are animals that need our help. Whether it's the pet next door or the pet suffering in the puppy mill in a distant state, you can make a difference. This primer provides resources to help you familiarize yourself with the laws, get involved in the legislative process, and think about the animals in your daily life that may need your help.

Be a voice for the animals - send email, write letters, make calls, attend meetings, help the stray on the corner or the chained dog next door! Get involved today!


Helping the Pet Next Door

Helping Pets at the Government Level


Helping the Pet Next Door
Everyday there are pets in our neighborhoods, near our workplaces, outside our schools, who need our help. Once we've opened our eyes to the need, we find that there are many opportunities to help the pet next door. From carrying an extra leash to help the stray dog that we encounter on our morning walk to talking to a neighbor about spaying their cat, we can make a difference. To help, the SPCA of Wake County would like to provide you with some resources. We hope they help.

~ Part 1 in the Helping the Pet Next Door series (SPCA Critter Chatter 2007 Issue #1)
Defining Cruelty: Knowing When To Call the Police or When To Leave a Letter ~ Ever Wonder How To Make a Difference To the Pet Next Door? So Do We. ~ Tear-Out Letter to Use

~ Part 2 in the Helping the Pet Next Door series (SPCA Critter Chatter 2007 Issue #2)
Love Your Pet: Leave Them at Home Campaign (Don't Leave Pets in Hot Cars) ~ Tear-Out Flyer to Us

~ Part 3 in the Helping the Pet Next Door series (SPCA Critter Chatter 2007 Issue #3)
How Do I Help an Animal on the Side of the Road?

~ Helping the Pet Next Door series (SPCA Critter Chatter 2009 Issue #2)
Raleigh Dog Tethering Ordinance Tear-Out Letter to Use
      > Additional information about the Raleigh Dog Tethering Ordinance
      > Coalition to Unchain Dogs: Local group that unchains dogs by building fences
      > People United for Pets: Local group working to unchain dogs



Helping Pets at the Government Level

How does the county system work?
Wake County is governed by a seven-member Board of Commissioners who set policies and ordinances for local governance. They also have final approval on the county budget.

The Wake County Animal Control, Care & Adoption Center is under the Department of Environmental Services.  The Director of Environmental Services reports to the County Manager who oversees the county’s day-to-day operations and reports to the Board of Commissioners. One of the County Manager’s main responsibilities is presenting an annual budget to the commissioners.

Why does this matter to me?
You vote for the county commissioners; therefore, they are in office to serve you; and, ultimately, the County Manager and the Director of Environmental Services are accountable to them.

What is my election district?
In Wake County your election district is determined by your precinct.  You can find your election districts in several ways:

1) It may be as simple as looking at a map. The Board of Commissioners website provides a map of the districts.
Look on the back of your Voter Registration card.
3) Call the Board of Elections at 856-6240 and they will look it up for you.
4) Visit the Board of Elections website and click on “Check your voter registration & polling place.”  Using the search engine, search for your
information (type in your FIRST NAME first and LAST NAME second).

Who are my elected officials?
The Wake County Board of Elections provides all of the information that you need to find your elected officials at the federal, state, county, and municipal levels.  Use the index to identify the correct people along with their terms. 

Who is my county commissioner?
Once you have determined your district, you can use the Board of Commissioners page to obtain your county commissioner’s contact information based on your county commissioner district.

How do I become a voice for the animals?
1) Write, call, and email the county commissioner for your district. Always include your name, address, and zip code. 

a. Phone 919-856-6160
b. Email all the Commissioners
c. Email the Clerk to the Board, Susan Banks
d. Contact your commissioner by visiting Board of Commissioners page to obtain individual contact information.
e. Write a letter to:
          Wake County Board of Commissioners
          P.O. Box 550, Suite 1100
          Raleigh, North Carolina 27602

2) Attend the Board of Commissioner meetings.  The Board of Commissioners meetings take place on the first and third Monday of the month at the Wake County Courthouse, 7th floor, room 700 at 2:00pm with a public comment time from 3:00-3:30pm.

Additional Resources:


  • Wake County consists of 12 municipalities. Some municipalities may have their own town/city ordinances concerning pets. These links will either take you to the home page for the municipality or directly to the municipality page concerning animal ordinances:
Apex                   Morrisville
Cary Raleigh
Fuquay-Varina Rolesville
Garner Wake Forest
Holly Springs Wendell
Knightdale Zebulon
  • Wake County Municipalities
    Each municipality has its own town/city council and town/city manager. This page provides links to each town/city website where you can find contact information for these representatives and decision-makers.
  • is a private company that publishes municipal codes. provides an online library of municipal codes with a search feature. When you select the desired municipality, you can use search terms to find codes relating to animals. 




  • ASPCA: Lobby for Animals
    This organization is not affiliated with the SPCA of Wake County or any other SPCA or humane society. They provide education, action, advocacy, and lobbying at the national level. Their "Lobby for Animals" web pages provide tons of resources to keep you informed about upcoming and ongoing legislation at the state and national level.
  • Humane Society of the United States
    This organization is not affiliated with the SPCA of Wake County or any other SPCA or humane society. They provide education, action, advocacy and lobbying at the national level. They offer a primer on how to lobby at the state and federal levels.

    The term MARGARET MEAD® and the slogan NEVER DOUBT THAT A SMALL GROUP OF THOUGHTFUL COMMITTED CITIZENS CAN CHANGE THE WORLD® are registered marks under United States Trademark Law. For trademark information contact The Institute for Intercultural Studies, Inc.