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Dear Licensed: The difference between a "commercial" kennel and a "hobby" or sporting kennel has always raised confusion even when looking at the state statutes. Let's look at the types of "kennels" that are regulated by law.

Published: September 10, 2004 at 12:00 am

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Dear Licensed: The difference between a “commercial” kennel and a “hobby” or sporting kennel has always raised confusion even when looking at the state statutes. Let’s look at the types of “kennels” that are regulated by law.

The most common and regulated “commercial” kennel is the boarding kennel. This business accept dogs to keep overnight for its owners. Traditionally, this is the type of kennel that requires specific zoning approval. Such as what zone they may operate in, whether they need city sewer or water, how many acres for how many dogs, what type of fencing, parking, etc. The state doesn’t issue a “kennel license” to them but the boarding company (or kennel) may be required to be “licensed” by the state, just like a plumber or dog groomer. The town clerk doesn’t issue anything to this type of kennel.


The next type of kennel would be a “breeding” kennel for show, sport or sale of puppies. These can be larger operations where wholesale breeders, hunters who breed hunting stock for sale, or show breeders who sell puppies directly to the public operate as a legitimate business. In my opinion, the term “commercial” means you are in it to make money and report sales to the state, collect sales tax and report taxable income. The individual dogs you keep to run this type of business, according to state law, must be licensed just like the family pet.


The third type of kennel is what is usually referred to as a “hobby” kennel. Dog fanciers who show or hunt and breed on a limited basis to replenish personal breeding or hunting stock may sell remaining puppies directly to the public. These kennels aren’t run as a business, collect no sales tax and report no income from sale of puppies. It is a hobby, like stamp collecting, all out of pocket expenses are paid by the hobbyist and not deducted. Most hobby breeders can tell you that profit is rarely realized in such a kennel.


According to the state statues, as you have quoted, either a commercial breeding or hobby kennel can apply for a “kennel license” from the town clerk. No approval from zoning is required to obtain such a license. Basically, the kennel license is nothing more than a bundle of 10 individual dog tags, sold at a discount, and used at the discretion of the kennel owner. The town clerk must issue this type of license if requested. It’s the law. Where you run into trouble is if you get a kennel license and have 10 dogs and local zoning acreage requirements only allows five dogs, then you are in violation of zoning laws but not the kennel license statute. The two are not related. You could apply for a kennel license, be issued 10 tags and only use five tags. Then you would be in compliance for zoning as well.


Lisa’s Pick of the Litter


Based on thousands of reported ill side effects and more than 500 canine deaths, Fort Dodge Animal Health, announced this week that it will voluntarily comply with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine’s request to temporarily cease production and recall ProHeart6.


This time-released preventative given to dogs to control the spread of heartworm disease is being pulled from the market until the FDA’s questions regarding safety are resolved.


Check with your vet for an alternative heartworm medication if your dog has been using ProHeart6.


Lisa Peterson, a breeder and exhibitor of Norwegian Elkhounds, is a Delegate to the American Kennel Club. Reach her at ask@lisa-peterson.com or Dogma Publishing, P.O. Box 307, Newtown, CT 06470.


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