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The West Virginia Legislature has passed Senate Bill 437, which will regulate those who own 11 or more intact dogs over one year of age “for the exclusive purpose of actively breeding.” The bill now goes to the governor for his signature.

Those who keep or breed dogs “for the purpose of herding or guarding livestock animals, hunting, tracking or exhibiting in dog shows, performance events or field and obedience trials” are exempt from the bill. While the AKC is disappointed that some of the changes we requested were not included in the final version of the bill, we appreciate that several positive changes have been made, including:

  • Removing the ownership limit – the 50-dog ownership limit is no longer in the bill
  • Allowing judges to provide breeders up to one year to correct deficiencies before being charged with a misdemeanor and forced to pay a large fine. Previously there was no opportunity for correction prior to the misdemeanor being charged.
  • Removing specific primary enclosure sizes, breeding ages, and kennel temperature requirements that existed in this bill in previous years.


Senate Bill 437 includes other new requirements, such as obtaining an annual permit and business license if you meet the definition of commercial breeder. No primary enclosures or cages may be stacked, and they must have solid flooring. Commercial breeders will be subject to inspections twice each year.


The AKC greatly appreciates the many responsible dog owners and breeders in West Virginia who took the time to contact their legislators on this important issue. If this bill is signed by the Governor, we encourage you to continue communicating with your legislators on how the law is implemented and any questions or concerns that you have.

Governor Tomblin must now decide whether to sign or veto Senate Bill 437. To contact his office, call (304) 558-2000 or (888) 438-2731. You may also submit comments online.

The West Virginia Legislature has passed Senate Bill 437, which will regulate those who own 11 or…