H. B. 4333
(By Delegates Mahan, Beach, Flesichauer,
February 4, 2010
; referred to the
Committee on Agriculture then the Judiciary.]
Overington, Guthrie, D. Poling)
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by
adding thereto a new section, designated §19-20-26, relating
to protect dogs by creating regulations for commercial dog
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended
by adding thereto a new section, designated §19-20-26, to read as
ARTICLE 20. DOGS AND CATS.
§19-20-26. Commercial dog breeding operations.
(a) As used in this section:
(1) "Advertisement" means any media used to promote the sale
of dogs including but not limited to the Internet, newspapers,
flyers, magazines, radio, bulletins and signs.
(2) "Commercial dog breeder" means any person who maintains
twenty or more unsterilized dogs over the age of one year and is engaged in the business of breeding animals for direct or indirect
sale or for exchange in return for consideration, except that any
person who holds an occupational permit and has registered a
greyhound kennel name with the West Virginia Racing Commission is
not considered a commercial dog breeder under this article.
(3) "Companion animal" means any domestic or feral dog under
the care, custody or ownership of a person.
(b) No commercial dog breeder may breed dogs in the state
without a valid business license issued by any locality, where
(c) A commercial dog breeder shall:
(1) Obtain a permit annually to operate as required by the
county in which the commercial dog breeding operation is located.
The county commission of the county is authorized to set a fee and
deposit fees collected in the county revenue account in accordance
with the following:
(A) Class I-Maintain fifteen to forty unsterilized dogs over
the age of one year at any one time;
(B) Class II-Maintain more than forty unsterilized dogs over
the age of one year at any time;
(C) The fee for a Class I commercial dog breeding permit shall
be an amount determined by the county assessor, not to exceed $250
per year. The fee for a Class II commercial dog breeding permit
shall be in an amount determined by the county commission, not to
exceed $500 per year.
(2) A commercial dog breeder shall breed female dogs only if
the dog is between the age of eighteen months and eight years of
age and after annual certification by a licensed veterinarian that
the dog is in suitable health for breeding;
(3) Dispose of dogs only by gift, sale, transfer, barter or
euthanasia by a licensed euthanasia technician;
(4) Dispose of deceased dogs by cremation or burial in
accordance with local, state and federal laws and regulations;
(5) Dispose of dog waste in accordance with state and federal
laws and regulations;
(6) Maintain current, valid rabies certificates for every dog
over the age of four months;
(7) Include the breeder's annual permit number on any
advertisement for the sale of a dog;
(8) If selling directly to the public, post a conspicuous
notice containing the breeder's name, address and annual permit
number on each cage; and
(9) Provide for the humane treatment of dogs in accordance
with section nineteen, article eight, chapter sixty-one.
(A) Maintain adequate housing facilities and primary
enclosures that meet the following requirements at a minimum:
(i) Housing facilities and primary enclosures must be kept in
a sanitary condition and in good repair. Housing facilities where
dogs are kept must be sufficiently ventilated at all times to
minimize odors, drafts, ammonia levels and to prevent moisture condensation. Housing facilities must have a means of fire
suppression, such as functioning fire extinguishers or sprinkler
system on the premises and must have sufficient lighting to allow
for observation of the dogs at any time of day or night;
(ii) Housing facilities must enable all dogs to remain dry and
(iii) Housing facilities must provide shelter and protection
from extreme temperatures and weather conditions that may be
uncomfortable or hazardous to the dogs;
(iv) Housing facilities must provide sufficient shade to
shelter all the dogs housed in the primary enclosure at one time;
(v) A primary enclosure must have solid floors that are
constructed in a manner that protects the dogs' feet and legs from
(vi) Primary enclosures must be placed no higher than
forty-two inches above the floor and may not be placed over or
stacked on top of another cage or primary enclosure;
(vii) Feces, hair, dirt, debris and food waste must be removed
from primary enclosures at least daily or more often if necessary
to prevent accumulation and to reduce disease hazards, insects,
pests and odors;
(viii) All dogs in the same enclosure at the same time must be
compatible, as determined by observation. Breeding females in heat
may not be in the same enclosure at the same time with sexually
mature males, except for breeding purposes. Breeding females and their litters may not be in the same enclosure at the same time
with other adult dogs. Puppies under twelve weeks may not be in
the same enclosure at the same time with other adult dogs, other
than the dam or foster dam unless under immediate supervision; and
(ix) Sick dogs shall be isolated sufficiently so as to not to
endanger the health of other dogs.
(B) Provide dogs with easy and convenient access to adequate
amounts of clean food and water. Food and water receptacles must
be regularly cleaned and sanitized. All enclosures must contain
potable water that is not frozen, is substantially free from
debris, and is readily accessible to all dogs in the enclosure at
(C) Provide veterinary care without delay when necessary.
(d) A commercial dog breeder shall not possess, control or
otherwise own or maintain more than fifty unsterilized dogs over
the age of one year for the primary purpose of breeding and selling
the offspring as household pets. A commercial dog breeder who is
required to reduce the number of dogs to comply with this section
shall spay or neuter, sell, transfer or relinquish the excess
dog(s) within thirty days following notification of the violation.
(e) Any commercial dog breeder who is the subject of an
investigation shall cooperate with authorities.
(f) Commercial dog breeding locations may be subject to
inspection by animal control officers or law enforcement at least
twice annually, in addition to inspections arising under subdivision one of this subsection, to ensure compliance with state
animal care laws and regulations. Before an inspection is to take
place, animal control or law-enforcement officers shall give the
commercial breeder notice of the upcoming inspection, five business
day prior to said inspection.
(g) It is unlawful for a commercial dog breeder to operate if
he or she has been convicted of animal cruelty in any local, state
or federal jurisdiction.
(h) Any commercial dog breeder who violates any provision of
this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction
thereof, shall be fined not more than $1,000 or confined in jail
not more than one year, or both fined and confined.
(i) All dogs in a commercial breeding operation must be
registered and a tax paid in accordance with the provisions of
section two, article twenty, chapter nineteen of this code through
section nine, article twenty, chapter nineteen of this code.
(j) Nothing in this section exempts a facility licensed by the
United States Department of Agriculture from compliance.
(k) Nothing in this section prevents any local, state or
federal law-enforcement agency from investigating animal cruelty in
commercial dog breeding operations.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to protect dogs by creating
regulations for commercial dog breeding operations.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from
the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would