How to Get a Kennel License in California

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In California, kennel licenses are subject to county and municipal regulations, rather than state statutes. Start out by visiting your town's website or paying a visit to the municipal offices. First stop -- the zoning department, where you can find out if a kennel is a permitted use on your property and if you have sufficient acreage. If that's the case, contact your county department of animal services for a license application.

Tip

  • You may not require a kennel license just to open a commercial boarding operation. In Sacramento County, for example, you need a kennel permit if you have more than four dogs.

License Application

If your zoning conforms to local kennel requirements, you can file a form for a kennel license with the county animal services department. This form includes:

  • Your name and address
  • Address of the kennel, if it differs from yours
  • Description of the proposed kennel
  • Number of proposed dogs to be housed on the property.

Your town may have additional requirements. For example, in Newport Beach you must submit the application to the chief of police, who conducts an investigation. Information typically required on a municipal level includes:

  • Proof of zoning compliance
  • Name of commercial kennel
  • Hours of operation
  • Name of the property owner, or landlord if the kennel site is not owned by the applicant.

Kennel Requirements

Although the requirements for kennels vary by location, counties have basic codes which apply to all such operations. These include:

  • Keeping the inside and outside of kennels in good repair
  • Keeping the property in a clean and sanitary condition
  • Kennel setbacks, as required by municipal ordinances.

Kennel construction materials vary according to local laws. Your town's ordinance may include fencing regulations to prevent loose dogs from escaping the premises. Heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting requirements are spelled out in the local statutes, as are the sizes of individual runs.

Revocation or Suspension

A kennel license may be revoked or suspended for various reasons. These may include:

  • Failure to maintain the premises in a sanitary and safe condition
  • Canine abuse or cruelty
  • Animal neglect
  • Public nuisance relating to the kennel
  • Violation of local zoning, safety or health codes
  • Conviction for violating California penal code section 597 by any owner or employee.
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