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Last week, Rockingham County (VA) Board of Supervisors unexpectedly acted without notice nor listing on the public meeting agenda on a proposed Commercial Dog Kennel Ordinance that it had tabled after a public hearing on September 28, 2022.

As approved, the ordinance could impact local hobby kennels, but also contains several positive changes requested by the AKC and local clubs and breeders.  The final ordinance includes the following changes:

New Definition of “Commercial Dog Breeder” – The original proposal limited ownership to four intact adult female dogs.  As approved, the proposal instead limits a Commercial Breeding Kennel to three (3) litters per calendar year. While AKC appreciates the removal of the ownership limit from the original proposal, we remained concerned with the restrictions.  In addition, this threshold is lower than  Commonwealth of Virginia Code Section 3.2-6500, which defines a “Commercial dog breeder” as “any person who, during any 12-month period, maintains 30 or more adult female dogs for the primary purpose of the sale of their offspring…

Modified Requirements for those producing three litters in a year – New requirements include stating that no female dog shall be bred more than one (1) time per calendar year.  The ordinance also contains  requirements for dog runs, containment areas, cages, and pens.  Additionally, there are new regulations for inspections, recordkeeping, waste management, and customers.

AKC would like to thank the Board of Supervisors for removing language related to temperature, exercise, and socialization requirements as well as the lot size requirement contained in the original proposal.

Properties on which no more than two (2) litters per calendar year are produced/kept for commercial purposes are exempt from all Ordinance requirements.

It remains uncertain as to how this ordinance will apply to existing kennel operations or those small hobby and residential breeders who utilize their current residence and produce three litters per year.  As such, local breeders are encouraged to be mindful of the requirements and monitor the enforcement of those requirements to determine if there is a need to review the ordinance for further amendment or repeal.

AKC Government Relations continues to closely monitor proposals in Virginia that could impact dog owners and breeders.  For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at