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February 28, 2019

The Caswell County (North Carolina) Board of Commissioners is considering a proposal on Monday, March 4, that would license and regulate those deemed commercial breeders or “high-volume private kennels”.

Those who reside in Caswell County are encouraged to contact the committee prior to the hearing, or consider attending the hearing on March 4 to express your comments and concerns. (Scroll down for contact and hearing information).


Caswell County is establishing a series of licenses and regulations in an effort to prevent what they perceive to be “puppy mills” from being established in the county.  Proposed licenses and requirements include the following:

“Commercial Breeder” – A $150/year license would be required for anyone who has 7 or more intact females over the age of 6 months kept for the primary purpose of breeding and selling offspring or who keeps and sells 20+ dogs or cats in a year.  The proposal exempts those who keep dogs exclusively for farm, guardian, show, performance, hunting, field or obedience trials unless there are 20 or more dogs and/or cats on the premises.  It is unclear what is meant by the “primary purpose” of breeding; how the proposed exemptions would be documented or proven; and how this would impact dogs that may not be currently used for these purposes but may in the future (or have been in the past).

The AKC believes that any regulation of a “commercial” entity should be based on actual commerce and not based on the number of animals and how they may be perceived to be used.  This ensures that the definition applies to those who are truly engaged in commercial activity and not those who simply keep intact animals on their property.  It also is easier to enforce and creates a clearer, enforceable law.

“High-Volume Private Kennel”– A $50/year license is required for anyone who has 20 or more dogs on their premises for any non-commercial use.  Animal shelters inspected by the state are not included in this definition.

Inspections and Standards of Care:

Those who meet these definitions must apply for an annual license and be inspected both at the time of application and at least once unannounced during the year.  Unannounced inspections are also required upon a complaint unless the county knows the complaint was not made in good faith (It is unclear how this would be determined). Inspections will ensure that licensees are complying with record-keeping and kennel standards.

These standards include requiring that all enclosures be 12 inches higher than the head of the tallest animal, and have enough solid surface to lie down in a natural position.  Each enclosure must also allow for a “retreat area or den” with a solid floor and visual barrier to “allow rest and retreat.”  Dogs must also have access at least once per day to an outdoor area four times the size of the primary enclosure.  Other flooring is permitted, so long as the animal’s paw cannot fall through.  Kennels must be kept at an appropriate temperature for the animals’ health and comfort, and thermometers are required both outside and inside the kennel.  Also, among other requirements, water must be fresh and free of debris, and kennels must be cleaned every day.

No outdoor facilities, including kennels and exercise areas, may be within 50 feet of the property line.  AKC is recommending that instead it be within 50 feet of another residence, since property lines can extend far beyond where a residence is located.

In addition, all dogs must have a “hands-on” veterinary examination at least once a year, and if a dog is sold that is sick or diseased, that must be fully disclosed.

While the majority of the kennel and animal care requirements are reasonable, the AKC is concerned about mandating the licensing and unannounced inspections of those who may not truly be commercial kennels.  The definitions should be based solely on actual commercial activity (sales), rather than just the number of animals someone keeps on their property and how it is perceived they are being used.

What You Can Do:

AKC is reaching out to county commissioners to offer alternative recommendations to address their concerns.  We encourage you to get involved too.

Those who reside in Caswell County are encouraged to reach out to the commission in one of the following ways:

  • Attend the March 4 hearing and express comments during the public comment period. The hearing information is as follows:Caswell County Board of Commissioners Meeting
    Monday, March 4, 2019
    9:00 am
    Historic Courthouse
    144 Court Square
    Yanceyville, NC
  • Contact the County Board of Commissioners prior to the hearing:

    Commissioner Rick McVey, Chairman
    (336) 694-5351

Commissioner Jeremiah Jefferies, Vice Chairman

Commissioner Sterling Carter
(336) 694-3604

Commissioner William E. Carter
(336) 694-4736

Commissioner Nathanial Hall
(336) 932-5240

Commissioner Steve Oestreicher
(336) 562-5083

Commissioner David Owen
(336) 514-6666

AKC Government Relations continues to monitor this proposal and will provide more information as it becomes available.  For more information, contact AKC GR at