Sunday, October 15, 2017

On-Site Number of Dogs and Nature of Use of those Dogs are Different!

by Steve Reiss (

Do you have a kennel of any type on your premises? Are you running certain types of animal businesses?

You should always check with the local (e.g., city or county) laws of your jurisdiction to determine how many dogs you may have or the nature of your business before you need to start jumping through the local hoops?

In the US, the regulation of dogs and cats is a local issue; meaning this is left to the individual states to regulate as they see fit. The regulation of dogs are cats is not a federal issue; though dog regulation may collaterally come under federal oversight through the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Furthermore, while state law usually sets dog policy for the state, state law usually allows for incorporated cities and counties having a population over a certain amount (e.g., 300,000) can set dog policy and regulation within their jurisdiction so long as consistent with state law.

So, for example, in California, the number of dogs someone may have on their premises can be regulated at the county or city level. Thus, in unincorporated portions of Orange County, this is 3 dogs before special site licensing is required (see Orange County 4-1-76). At the city level, in Santa Ana, the seat of Orange County, the same scheme applies, where to have more than 3 dogs, special site licensing is required. Santa Ana Municipal Code 5-50. In a more elaborate system, in Fullerton, on lots of 20,000 square feet in size or less, three dogs are allowed and on lots in excess of 20,000 square feet, four dogs are allowed. Persons who live in apartments, condominiums, duplexes or mobile homes are allowed a maximum of two adult dogs, subject to a management or homeowners’ association agreement or regulation regarding the keeping of animals.See Fullerton City Code 15.17.030(J).

Note that this is merely for folks having 4 dogs. If you are also running a kennel, vet, or other business, a second license may be required. See OC 5-1-29. This 5-1-29 license does not state a minimum number of animals. So, for example, being a dog broker, where you have 1 dog on premises, may require the license for brokering business.

In summary, always consider:

1. Nature of use of property; and
2. Number of animals on property (regardless of whether used in business or as pets).

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