Local animal advocates thrilled with Rockingham County’s new dog kennel ordinance

Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 6:48 PM EST
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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - Animal rights advocates in the valley are celebrating the commercial dog kennel ordinance that was unanimously adopted by the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors last week.

The ordinance limits commercial dog breeders to three litters a year and makes it so a female dog can only be bred once in a calendar year.

“It’s huge because it’s taken so many baby steps of people going to these Board of Supervisors meetings and advocating and talking and sometimes going two steps forward, five steps back,” said Tara Langston, a member of Advocates for Valley Animals.

The ordinance also sets higher standards for the condition of dog cages like ensuring they are double the length and height of the dog in the cage and making sure dogs have ample space to move around.

“It’s not okay for these dogs to be in cages where they can only turn around and they’re not allowed out of those cages until they’re done with them,” said Langston.

It also requires kennel owners to keep dogs inside from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.

“That’s great too because these poor dogs out in those kennels when it’s so cold and freezing and then when it’s so hot in the summer they suffer terribly,” said Pam Miller, another member of Advocates for Valley Animals.

The main goal of the new ordinance is to prevent puppy mills from operating in the county.

“We just don’t want puppy mills here and this is going to help that, not have them. I firsthand know how it is to have a puppy mill dog, it’s very sad. I mean he was scared to death when we adopted him, he’s still not a normal dog, and he never will be a normal dog,” said Miller.

Tara Langston said that the ordinance is a big step because unfortunately, many breeders neglect their dogs in favor of making as much money as possible.

“They have no ethics toward how they treat these animals so they’re going to breed them as much as they can. They don’t care about the health quality of the animal and the impact that overbreeding has on that mother,” she said.

Langston said that she has gone undercover to puppy mills before and seen the horrible conditions dogs live in, in some cases she said they are never let out of their cages.

“The nails were embedded back into their paws, they have green teeth, you can’t see their face, they aren’t groomed or anything, they urinate in the house, their feet never touch the grass,” she said.

Advocates for Valley Animals said that it is also important to be aware that many pet shops sell dogs from puppy mills and often try to mislead customers about it.

“They will tell you and be very sincere about it, ‘We know where these dogs come from, we would never ever get our dogs from puppy mills’ and it’s a big fat lie because that’s where they get them. So it’s a money thing, it’s all about money,” said Langston.