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Following a Public Hearing at a recent County Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board of Supervisors voted to approve Zoning Ordinance Amendments that changes the definition of “Kennel” and its use in certain zoning districts.

It should be noted that existing kennels, and kennels as a secondary use in conjunction with a dwelling (home occupation) will not be impacted by these proposed changes.

Prior to the vote, Board Chair Jesse Rutherford said, “… the board would amend again if it found the change was affecting kennel owners.”


As mentioned in a previous alert, the County received two separate inquiries regarding permitting for a commercial kennel and a service dog facility as the primary use of property.  According to the County Planning Department, under the old definition of kennel, the requestors could not even apply because the County did not have a use for what they were requesting.

As a result of the Supervisors action, a “kennel” in Nelson County will now be defined as “a place where the primary use is to house, board, breed, handle, groom, train, or otherwise keep or care for dogs, cats, or similar small animals for sale or in return for compensation.” The amendments also state that the definition may include additional facilities “necessary to support the operation including but not limited to office space, meeting space, and temporary lodging accommodations exclusive to those clients training with the animals.”

As a result of the change in definition, the existing by-right use in areas zoned for Agriculture or Service Enterprise will now require a “Special Use Permit” and “kennel” is now a by-right use in areas zoned for Business.

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