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Planning and Development Services

Director: Dale Pernula

DOG AND CAT KENNEL REGULATIONS

On May 6, 2008, the Skagit County Commissioners adopted a new dog and cat kennel ordinance. The ordinance (O20080004) changes the zoning regulations for dog and cat kennels within unincorporated Skagit County, imposes new operational requirements for kennels, and lifted the moratorium on new kennels in effect since July 2007.

Are You a Kennel?

If you keep dogs and cats for a commercial purpose, you are a kennel as defined by Skagit County Code 14.04.020. (A single, incidental litter in a 12-month period is not a commercial purpose.)

What Permits Are Necessary to Operate a Kennel?

Kennels need (1) land-use approval from Skagit County Planning & Development Services, and (2) to meet the operational and environmental (including enclosure-size) standards below. To get started with the land-use approval process, please make an appointment with Planning & Development Services (contact information above) for a free pre-development meeting.

The ordinance defines three types of kennels, each of which must meet different requirements for land-use approval:

  • Day-use Kennel: any premises at which one or more dogs, cats, or both are kept during daytime hours for a commercial purpose including but not limited to grooming, training, and/or boarding.
  • Limited Kennel: any premises at which one or more dogs, cats, or both are kept overnight for a commercial purpose including but not limited to breeding or selling. A single, incidental litter in a 12-month period is not a commercial purpose.
  • Overnight Boarding Kennel: any premises at which one or more dogs, cats, or both are kept overnight for the commercial purpose of boarding.

Operational and Environmental (Including Enclosure-Size) Standards

Skagit County’s kennel ordinance requires all kennels to meet certain requirements to protect human and animal health and safety. While these requirements are enforced by the Sheriff’s Office, Planning and Development Services will not grant land use approval unless kennels meet these requirements. For a complete list of these requirements, please see Skagit County Code Chapter 7.02 (PDF).

·Operational: The ordinance requires a kennel operator to provide specific operational conditions for their animals, including:

    • Clean enclosures free of excrement build-up;
    • Clean drinking water, available 24 hours a day;
    • Ventilation adequate to provide for the health of the animals and to ensure the removal of the foul and obnoxious odors
    • Sufficient shelter, lighting, and temperature controls to protect the animals from conditions to which they are not normally acclimatized;
    • Necessary food for animals kept overnight;
    • Medical attention whenever necessary.

·Environmental: The ordinance requires a kennel operator to provide for specific environmental conditions for their animals, including:

    • A suitable system of drainage in holding areas to prevent accumulation of water, mud, debris, or excrement;
    • Enclosure floors not constructed with wire or other materials that may damage or irritate animals’ feet;
    • Sanitary, sheltered sleeping areas for all animals;
    • Exercise areas appropriate to animals’ size, breed, characteristics, and normal climate
    • Enclosure Size for a Day-Use or Boarding Kennel:if animals are held in cages or enclosures, the enclosure must meet USDA size requirements. For example:

The floor space in square inches required for a single dog’s primary enclosure must be at least the (length of the dog in inches + 6) x (length of the dog in inches + 6). The interior height of a primary enclosure must be at least the height of the tallest dog in the enclosure in inches + 6.

    • Enclosure Size for a Limited Kennel: if animals are held in cages or other enclosures, the enclosure must be at least three times the USDA size requirements. For example:

The floor space in square inches required for a single dog’s primary enclosure must be at least the (length of the dog in inches + 6) x (length of the dog in inches + 6) x 3. The interior height of a primary enclosure must be at least (the height of the tallest dog in the enclosure in inches + 6) x 3.