Animal control says the weapon is needed to solve a critical public safety issue, but animal lovers say it's inhumane and leaves too much room for error.
Dr. John Lauby, the director of Cumberland County Animal Services, says the problem is serious.
"These are not cuddly, friendly pets you let sit on your lap," Lauby explained. "If you try to corner them at all they'll try to attack you."
It's his job to stop what he calls an epidemic of wild dogs running through the city.
"Something should be done, but not with crossbows," animal lover Arturo Margez said.
But nothing else has worked.
"We've put traps out. We've baited. We've tranquilized," Lauby said.
That's why Lauby says animal control will resort to using a crossbow if necessary.
"We've had people attacked and killed in Cumberland County by dogs," he said. "Introducing the crossbow was to bring something that had lethal force, that is silent so that pack wouldn't scatter."
Some animal lovers are furious.
"Bows are a very inhumane weapon," animal lover Jim Stolz said.
Lauby and two other officers are trained to use the crossbow, but haven't needed to use it yet.
"It really, really upsets me to know that," Margez said.
Animal control has one crossbow that stays at Lauby's house, and it isn't used without his permission and is a last case scenario.
The Humane Society of the United States also has gotten involved. North Carolina's state director called Lauby Tuesday afternoon in hope of finding a more humane solution.
"The people who are condemning this are not dealing with packs of wild dogs," Lauby said.
Lauby says he is open to suggestions and just wants to get the wild dogs out of Cumberland County.