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At its recent meeting, the Rockingham County Planning Commission (Harrisonburg, VA) tabled a proposed Dog Kennel Ordinance that could impact local hobby kennels.  As a result, the proposal now goes to the Board of Supervisors for possible enactment.

The ordinance is not currently listed on the agenda for the 6:00pm meeting on Wednesday, July 27.  However, it can be considered at any time.  It is important for local residents to contact the Board of Supervisors as soon as possible.  Using the information below, respectfully ask them to postpone action on the ordinance until the Board receives input from local dog clubs and breeders.

Proposal Summary and Background:

Even though the Commonwealth of Virginia Code Section 3.2-6500 provides the following definition: “Commercial dog breeder” means 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…, under the Rockingham County proposal, commercial breeding kennels would include some hobbyists and small kennels.  The proposal limits kennels to no more than four adult breeding females on the premises during any rolling 12-month period and limits the kennels to zoned parcels containing no less than five acres.

In addition, many of the proposed standards for kennels, including spacing requirements, size, floor type, exercise area, and temperature requirements, are taken directly from the proposed federal “Puppy Protection Act” and are not in line with currently accepted and approved practices and standards.

Finally, the proposal seeks to dictate who the intended customer of a puppy can be and requires the breeder to keep records of their good faith efforts in vetting the customer to include personal and private information of the buyer.

The entire proposal is available beginning on page 16 of the previous Planning Commission meeting agenda.

As mentioned in a previous alert, a review of the proposal and email exchanges contained in the official meeting packet for the recent Planning Commission meeting indicates much of the language in the proposal was provided from one viewpoint with little or no input from other stakeholders, specifically, local dog breeders who would be most impacted by the proposal.

What You Can Do:

Local breeders and hobbyists are encouraged to contact the Board of Supervisor prior to the July 27, 2022, meeting.  Request that any further action on the proposal be delayed until such a time that input from other stakeholders like local breeders, area dog clubs (the Shenandoah Valley Kennel Club meets in Harrisonburg), the Virginia Federation of Dog Clubs and Breeders, and the American Kennel Club is considered.

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 would like to thank Supervisor William Kyger for taking the time to discuss this proposal and his willingness to encourage his fellow Supervisors to delay action on the proposal until such a time that additional input from local dog clubs, breeders, and the American Kennel Club can be considered.

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