Unless you are a sworn officer with general jurisdiction enforcement, larceny will not be a report you would routinely respond too.
However, investigating animal larceny is an area of animal services that can support law enforcement investigations.
Read Chapter 6 subchapter Stolen Goods, Larceny of Animals.
Theft and larceny at one time had numerous criminal distinctions based on the value of the property stolen. Today the classification of value is simplified.
§14-84. Animals subject to larceny.
As animals are considered property, all animals are subject to larceny. North Carolina has also enacted specific legislation regarding specific animals; horses, mules, swine or cattle larceny is classified as Class H felony; Larceny of a dog is classified as a lower Class I felony.
Punishments for larceny are based on the value of the property:
Under $1000 Class 1 misdemeanor
Sentences are determined based on the value of goods or property.
$1000 and above Class H felony
The convicted may also be ordered to compensate the victims for damages and the property used in the crime forfeited.
Elements of larceny:
possession receiving carry it away without consent to permanently deprive and knowing that it was not theirs Animal larceny is fairly commonplace and sporadic in nature. Popular small animal breeds are stolen from pet shops and out of yards for sale, breeding and used in acts of cruelty. Livestock are stolen for sale and/or butchered. Exotic animals are taken from zoos, teaching facilities and exhibitions for novelty pets and sales. More animals are stolen from animal shelters than people may realize. Most animal shelter thefts are a result of a avoidance of fees or criminal charges (evidence) and as a result of the speculation the animal will be euthanized.
Reasons people steal animals:
Sale and sale of progeny
Fighters or bait in dog-fighting (various species are used)
Animal officers can minimize risk of animal larceny by encouraging permanent identification of animals, spaying and neutering and education and enforcement of confinement or leash laws.
There is no case law available regarding §14-82. Taking horses, mules, or dogs for temporary purposes but one may surmise that one reason for the temporary taking of an animal may apply to animals taken before shows, competitions or other events denying the owner of profit, prize or other benefits.
§14-85. Pursuing or injuring livestock with intent to steal. A statutory anti rustling law with applicability today. The criminal pursuit of, injuring or killing of certain livestock species with the intent to convert the animals is also a Class H felony.
Convert/Conversion: Where one converts another's property to his/her own use, including treating another's goods as one's own, holding property which comes into the taker's hands, or purposely giving the impression the property belongs to the converter.
The United States Code (USC) addresses livestock conversion when used in commerce.
18 USC §667. Theft of livestock. Whoever obtains or uses the property of another which has a value of $10,000 or more in connection with the marketing of livestock in interstate or foreign commerce with intent to deprive the other of a right to the property or a benefit of the property or to appropriate the property to his own use or the use of another shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. The term “livestock” has the meaning set forth in section 2311 of this title.
Livestock larceny and conversion crimes are associated with western states, however North Carolina is not exempt from this crime.
Victims of animal larceny crimes can also suffer other damages. Types of damage that can occur during the act of animal larceny:
Barns, other structures
Injury to animals
When responding to a report of suspected animal larceny, recommend to the animal owner to take pictures of the site, collect all animal related paperwork and contact law enforcement.
Larceny of horses. goats and other livestock considered pets are more likely to be reported to your office rather than feed cattle and conversion is the most common report.
There is no public collection of data or statistics regarding animal theft. There are however, private organizations and private detectives whose mission is to recover stolen animals. One national organization works nationally to recover stolen horses.
§14-102. Obtaining property by false representation of pedigree of animals.
False pedigrees for dogs and cats are fairly easy to obtain via the internet and are rarely reported to an animal services office. However, one should never say never. As a fraud crime local law enforcement should be contacted. You can assist the investigation by referring to registration resources such as the:
American Kennel Club (AKC) The Cat Fanciers Association
Click on the image to visit the websites.
There are several organizations that register horses, goats and other animals kept for breeding purposes. Your local Cooperative Extension Livestock agent can provide a wealth of information regarding registrations, pedigrees and more to build your network and knowledge base.
§14-401.17. Unlawful removal or destruction of electronic dog collars.
As a result of the actions of concerned animal advocates and the theft of expensive equipment, this statute in effect in 2005 classifies the removal or destruction of an electronic dog collar as a Class 3 misdemeanor and upon second conviction, a Class 2 misdemeanor. Sworn law enforcement officers and wildlife officers enforce the statute. There will be times you will receive a dog with an electronic collar, generally an electronic tracking collar and removal for the animal's safety while impounded is acceptable and you may see, from time to time, hunters drive through the shelter parking lot searching for a signal to locate their dog. There are many manufacturers of electronic collars and some offer a registration process which may help you in locating a dog owner.
Here is a brief news release regarding the removal of electronic dog collars in North Carolina.
North Carolina Laws - Animal Control - Animal Protection - Public Health