CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Members of the Kanawha County Commission will ask county planning officials to hold public hearings to determine whether the county should regulate commercial dog breeders.
Officials for the Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association Animal Shelter told county commissioners Kent Carper, Dave Hardy and Hoppy Shores at a regular meeting Tuesday that state lawmakers recently enacted a new law allowing county commissions to require commercial dog breeders to register their businesses with the county, pay an annual fee and be subject to biannual inspections of their facilities.
Animal shelter officials don't know how many commercial dog breeders there might be in Kanawha County because they've never been regulated before. But they suspect there probably aren't very many.
Under the law, a commercial breeder is defined as one who has more than 11 dogs older than 1 year that are used primarily for breeding purposes. County officials suspect there aren't many people in the county who are breeding that many dogs.
Still, county officials think there's a valid reason to regulate commercial breeders.
"It's called a puppy mill," said Carper. He said the new law could help curb breeders raising a lot of dogs in cramped, unsanitary conditions and could help cut back on overbred female dogs and animals with genetic defects.
"I think it's worth at least a look," Carper said.
County commissioners voted to turn a proposed dog-breeding ordinance over to the Kanawha County Planning Commission, and to have public hearings to decide if citizens think regulation is a good idea.
Also Tuesday, commissioners voted to juggle several county employees around to cover the job of Deputy County Manager and Chief Financial Officer Dave Fontalbert, who is leaving to take another job.