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The American Kennel Club (AKC) has learned that the Barnstable, Massachusetts, Department of Animal Control held an October 18 public hearing on changes to its dog regulations.  The proposal would:

  • Establish a new “multiple dog licenses” category for a private residence maintaining four to six dogs or for breeding dogs for show or sport which sells dogs from two or less litters per year, in lieu of obtaining a kennel license.
  • Expand the kennel license category to include businesses providing day and/or night boarding of dogs, grooming of dogs, or selling dogs born on the premises from more than two litters per year.
  • Require all kennel license applicants secure site plan review and zoning board approval as a commercial use.
  • Decrease the number of residents required to submit a written petition, from 25 to 15, to prompt the town manager to host a public hearing and determine if a public nuisance exists that would warrant a license revocation or suspension.

AKC and a resident AKC breeder met with town officials on November 7 to discuss points where the draft is confusing and raises concerns. The town manager is accepting comments until November 17.

Barnstable residents are encouraged to review the proposal and contact the town manager at to share your concerns.  Please consider the following talking points:

  1. In chapter 403-6 for inspections and regulations, a clear distinction must be made between hobby breeders with a multiple dog license and commercial kennel licensees.
  2. To prevent harassment, state law requires 25 residents submit in writing that neighboring dogs pose a nuisance, not 15.
  3. Breeding dogs is not an exact science, and the law should provide an exemption from the two litter per year limit, to address health implications and other unforeseen events.

AKC Government Relations (GR) will continue to provide updates on this bill and other Massachusetts legislation as developments warrant.  For more information on this or other legislative issues in Massachusetts, contact AKC GR at 919-816-3720 or; or the Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners at