UPDATE: Cecil County, MD to Discuss Harsh Hobby Licensing/Inspections Requirements

UPDATE: Cecil County, MD to Discuss Harsh Hobby Licensing/Inspections Requirements

The Cecil County (MD) Board of County Commissioners will conduct a work session on November 15 at 1:00 pm to discuss numerous changes to its animal care statutes, including licensing and inspections for anyone who participates in hunting, tracking, performance events, field or obedience trials. 

The work session information is as follows:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011
1:00 pm
Perryville Room
County Administration Building
200 Chesapeake Blvd
Elkton, MD 21921

Although no public comment will be permitted at this session, it is essential that the commissioners hear from local responsible dog owners, exhibitors and breeders and ask them to not proceed with the proposal as currently written.  Constituents are encouraged to attend the hearing to listen to comments, and it is expected that a public hearing will be scheduled in the next few weeks.


Current law requires that anyone “engaged in the business of breeding, buying, selling, boarding, grooming or training” five or more “customary household pets” over four months of age obtain a kennel license and individual dog licenses. 

The AKC is concerned that the latest proposal submitted by the Animal Care and Control Task Force would significantly broaden these requirements and create numerous new problematic mandates, including: 

  • Licensing and Inspection for Hobbyists – Anyone who owns a dog and participates in hunting, field trial, performance, tracking or obedience trials would be required to obtain individual dog licenses and a kennel license, as well be subjected to a mandatory annual inspection and unannounced inspections at any time. They must also have a program of veterinary care and exercise plan displayed in a prominent place and made available to an inspector upon request.  Previous language expanding this definition to all who participate in “dog shows” has been removed, with the exception of obedience and performance events.
  • Extensive Requirements for Breeders - Those who breed over two litters in a year will be considered “commercial kennels” and must, in addition to purchasing a commercial kennel license and complying with the requirements for hobby kennels, obtain a business license and comply with county zoning regulations. 

    A fine of $250 per animal will be assessed for any animal sold by a commercial kennel licensee that is determined to have a genetic or congenital defect within the first year.  In addition, all commercial breeder licensees must state in their contracts that they will take back any animal at any point in its life if the new owner is unable to keep it.
  • Differential Licensing – The proposal would implement several different costs of individual dog licenses, depending on whether the dog is intact and/or microchipped. An intact dog license would cost four times more than one for a dog that is sterilized and microchipped.

Numerous other troubling elements are included in this measure, including the provision of allowing only 48 hours for licensees to correct any deficiencies found in an inspection. Failure to correct even minor deficiencies within 48 hours would place the licensee at the risk of losing the license and being required to “humanely dispose” of all dogs within 10 days. 

The AKC strongly supports the humane treatment of dogs, and believes that all dogs deserve to live in safe, healthy environments.  This can be achieved, however, without imposing unnecessary, expensive and arbitrary requirements on responsible dog owners.

How You Can Help:

Cecil County residents are encouraged to contact the County Commission and ask that they not proceed with expensive, burdensome regulations that would violate the rights of responsible dog owners, breeders and hobbyists.  The contact information is as follows:

Contact information for all commissioners:
200 Chesapeake Blvd., Suite 2100
Elkton, MD 21921
Phone: (410) 996-5201
Fax: (410) 996-1014

Commission President Jim Mullin (1st District)
E-mail: jmullin@ccgov.org

Vice President Diana Broomell (4th District)
E-mail: dbroomell@ccgov.org

Commissioner Michael Dunn (3rd District)
E-mail: mdunn@ccgov.org

Commissioner Robert Hodge (5th District)
E-mail: rhodge@ccgov.org

Commissioner Tari Moore (2nd District)
E-mail: tmoore@ccgov.org 

The AKC Government Relations Department will continue to monitor this proposal closely and will provide further information as it becomes available. For more information, contact AKC Government Relations at (919) 816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org.