Search Menu

On Wednesday, September 28, 2022, at 6:00pm, the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing and possible vote on a proposed Dog Kennel Ordinance that could impact local hobby kennels.

The original version of the proposed ordinance was first presented and tabled by the Planning Commission on July 6, 2022 (See previous alert).   After much contact with the County, AKC GR was able to get the Board of Supervisors to hold a work session on the ordinance.  Although some positive changes have been made to the proposal, it still contains issues that either need to be more appropriately addressed or clarified.

It is important for local residents to contact the Board of Supervisors as soon as possible or attend the hearing and urge the Board of Supervisors to postpone action on the ordinance.  Using the information below, respectfully ask them to postpone action on the ordinance and encourage the Board to work with the AKC, the local Shenandoah Valley Kennel Club, and breeders to ensure that the final ordinance Rockingham County enacts is in the best interest of dogs, enforceable, and absent of any unintended circumstances that negatively impact responsible dog breeders.

Proposal Summary and Background:

Even though the Commonwealth of Virginia Code Section 3.2-6500 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…,  the Rockingham County proposal would limit breeders to between four (4) – eight (8) litters per calendar year or no more than five (5) litters in two consecutive calendar years, depending on which option Supervisors choose.  Further, it limits such kennels to appropriately-zoned parcels containing no less than five acres.

AKC does not support arbitrary limits, but instead continues to encourage the county to work with AKC and local club members and breeders to develop reasonable standards regardless of the number of litters whelped on a premises.  We do, however, appreciate that the definition no longer restricts ownership to 4 intact females.

The latest proposal also exempts properties on which no more than two litters are bred for commercial purposes per two consecutive calendar years or calendar year (whichever option Supervisors choose) from the requirements.  However, the ordinance does not define “commercial purposes”, so it is unclear as to the applicability to hobby/home-based breeders.

AKC also greatly appreciates that many of the proposed standards for kennels, including spacing requirements, size, floor type, exercise area, and temperature requirements have been amended at the request of AKC and local club members and breeders.  However, some concerns still remain (including limiting the number of litters a female may whelp in a year, which AKC believes should be a decision made in conjunction with a veterinarian and not subject to arbitrary laws).  Much of the remaining language is taken directly from the proposed federal “Puppy Protection Act” and is not in line with currently accepted and approved practices and standards.

The entire proposal is available beginning on page 27 of the upcoming Board of Supervisors meeting agenda.

What You Can Do:

Local breeders and hobbyists are encouraged to attend the public hearing (Administration Center, 20 East Gay Street, Harrisonburg, VA) and sign up to comment per the instructions included with the meeting agenda or contact the Board of Supervisor prior to the September 28, 2022, meeting.

Rockingham County Board of Supervisors Contact Information:

Use the links below to contact the members of the commission:

Sallie Wolfe-Garrison

Dewey Ritchie

Rick Chandler

William Kyger

Michael Breeden                                       

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