House Bill 2843 History
H. B. 2843
(By Delegates D. Poling, Mahan,
Guthrie, Givens and Azinger)
[Introduced February 26, 2009; referred to the
Committee on Agriculture then the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by
adding thereto a new section, designated §19-20-26, relating
to commercial dog breeding operations; definitions; commercial
dog breeder required to have a valid business license;
requirements for maintaining a commercial dog breeding
operation; cooperation with inspections by animal control
officers to ensure compliance with state and federal animal
care laws; and criminal penalties.
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) "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.
(2) "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) Maintain no more than forty unsterilized dogs over the age
of one year at any time;
(2) Breed female dogs only:
(A) After annual certification by a licensed veterinarian that
the dog is in suitable health for breeding;
(B) After the dog has reached the age of eighteen months; and
(C) If the dog has not yet reached the age of eight years;
(3) Dispose of dogs only by gift, sale, transfer, barter or
euthanasia by a licensed veterinarian;
(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
(6) Maintain, and make available on demand, accurate records
for at least five years including:
(A) The person from whom the animal was purchased or obtained,
including the address and telephone number of the person and the
date obtained, or the date the animal was born in the operation,
identification of sire and dame, and description of animal;
(B) The person to whom the animal was sold, transferred, given
or bartered, including the address and telephone number of the
person and the date of transfer;
(C) A description of the animal, including the species, color,
breed, sex and approximate age and weight;
(D) Any tattoo, microchip number or other identification
number carried by or appearing on the animal;
(E) Each date that puppies were born to the animal and the
number of puppies;
(F) Description and date given of all medical care,
medications and vaccinations provided to the animal;
(G) The disposition of each animal and the date.
(d) (1) The commissioner, his or her designated employees, any
consulting veterinarians as appointed by the commissioner under
section three, article nine, chapter nineteen of this code or his
or her assistant, any animal control officer, any humane officer,
any county dog warden or any public health or safety official
employed by the locality where a commercial dog breeder resides or
maintains breeding operations shall, upon receiving a complaint or
upon his or her own motion, investigate any violation of the
provisions of this section. The person conducting the inspection
is authorized to enter any premises where animals may be bred or
maintained during daytime hours. The investigation may include:
(A) The inspection of books and records of any commercial dog
(B) The inspection of any companion animal owned by the
commercial dog breeder; and
(C) The inspection of any place where animals are bred or
(2) Any commercial dog breeder who is the subject of an
investigation shall cooperate with authorities.
(3) Commercial dog breeding locations may be subject to
inspection by animal control officers at least twice annually, in
addition to inspections arising under subdivision one of this
subsection, to ensure compliance with state animal care laws and
(e) It is unlawful for a commercial dog breeder to operate or
maintain a controlling interest in any pound, animal shelter,
humane society, animal welfare organization, society for the
prevention of cruelty to animals or other similar entity or
home-based rescue, that releases companion animals for adoption.
(f) 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.
(g) 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 $2,500 or confined in jail
not more than one year, or both fined and confined.
(h) 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.
(i) Nothing in this section exempts a facility licensed by the
United States Department of Agriculture from compliance.
(j) 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 define a commercial dog
breeder as any person who maintains twenty or more adult dogs for
the purpose of the sale of their offspring as companion animals.
The bill requires a commercial dog breeder to obtain a valid
business license. The bill provides limitations for how many dogs
a commercial dog breeder can maintain; when a commercial dog
breeder may breed female dogs; how a commercial dog breeder may
dispose of dogs; requires them to maintain records of animal sales,
purchases, breeding history and veterinary care. The bill further
provides that the Commissioner of Agriculture, any consulting
veterinarians or any animal control officer may inspect the
facilities of a commercial dog breeder. The bill also provides
that any violation of this section is a misdemeanor subject to a
fine of not more than $2,500 or a jail term of not more than one
year or both.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from
the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would