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Cecil County (MD) to Consider Restrictive Dog Regulations TOMORROW (10/16)

(Monday, October 15, 2012)

The Cecil County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, October 16, regarding proposed amendments to a recently-enacted animal control law. The existing law, which went into effect on October 1, 2012, established onerous requirements for dog owners, hobby breeders, and those who keep dogs for participation in dog events, hunting, and other “practical purposes.” Among other provisions, the current law requires anyone who has between 10 and 20 dogs of any age to obtain a hobby kennel license and allow their premises to be inspected “at any reasonable time.”

The proposed amendments would exempt owners of other animals so that many problematic requirements of the law will only apply to dog owners. This current action to amend the ordinance offers the opportunity to readdress the restrictive provisions of the recently-enacted law. It is essential for responsible dog owners and hobbyists to attend tomorrow’s meeting and to contact the board.

Ask the county commissioners to replace the current law with reasonable regulations that help protect all animals without imposing unreasonable restrictions on responsible dog owners.

Summary:

As currently written, this law and the proposed amendments contain numerous onerous requirements for dog owners and hobbyists, including:

Provisions for Hobby Breeders
The law defines a hobby breeder as someone who keeps 10-20 dogs over 4 months of age “for any practical purpose, including but not limited to hunting and tracking.” It is believed that this includes keeping dogs for participation in dog events, as working dogs, etc. This threshold includes both intact and sterilized dogs.

Those who meet this definition are limited to breeding and selling 2 litters per year. They are also required, among other provisions, to purchase an annual hobby breeder license (after an initial inspection), to purchase individual dog licenses for each dog owned, and to be subject to an annual inspection. This inspection is in addition to allowing the Animal Care and Control Authority to inspect a mother and puppies, or the hobbyists’ premises in general, at any time.

Provisions for “Commercial Kennels”
A “commercial kennel” is defined as one that breeds three or more litters per year. Those who meet this definition must, among other provisions, obtain a state business license and commercial kennel license. They must first submit the application to the Office of Planning and Zoning, and then to the Animal Care and Control Authority “for further review.” They must also schedule an initial inspection and annual inspections, and allow other inspections at any time.

All hobby and commercial kennel licensees must display their inspection reports and veterinary-approved exercise plans in a prominent place. Anyone found operating a hobby or commercial kennel without proper licensing may be fined $500 per dog.

In addition to licensing provisions, the law also includes extensive regulations for anyone who keeps dogs outdoors.

How You Can Help:

  • Contact Cecil County Commissioners and respectfully ask them to review and replace the existing law so that the rights of responsible dog owners and breeders are protected.
  • Attend the Cecil Council Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, October 16 to express your concerns.

Cecil County Board of Commissioners Public Hearing
Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Cecil County Administration Building, Elk Room, 200 Chesapeake Blvd., Elkton, MD

Contact information - Cecil County Board of Commissioners:

Alfred C. Wein, Jr. (County Administrator)
Phone: (410) 996-8301
E-mail: awein@ccgov.org

Phone number for all other commissioners: (410) 996-5201

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

Commissioner 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

For questions or more information on this proposal, contact AKC Government Relations at (919) 816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org
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